Fiber deployments in China to slow this year: CRU

For the second year in a row, deployments of fiber-optic cable in China should decline year-on-year, according to CRU. And, for the second year in a row, deployments elsewhere in the world should offset this decline and lead to overall growth – just not as much in 2019 as in 2018, predicts the market research firm.

For the second year in a row, deployments of fiber-optic cable in China should decline year-on-year, according to CRU. And, for the second year in a row, deployments elsewhere in the world should offset this decline and lead to overall growth – just not as much in 2019 as in 2018, predicts the market research firm.

Fiber deployments in China decline 1% in 2018, says CRU. However, fiber-optic cable roll outs grew 10% everywhere else, leading total deployments to rise from 492 million fiber-km in 2017 to more than 500 million fiber-km in 2018. Fiber cable installations in China should decline even further in 2019, CRU predicts. The country’s three main service providers have largely finished their 4G mobile and fiber to the home (FTTH) roll outs, the market research firm asserts, while 5G requirements for now are limited to a relatively small number of metro markets with large field trials.

As was the case last year, fiber deployments everywhere else should continue to increase – but this time just by single digits. For this reason, CRU expects the overall market to grow by 2%, half of last year’s rate. With a few exceptions in such markets as Japan, South Korea, and the U.S., carriers won’t bump up fiber deployments for 5G until 2020 or later, CRU predicts.

Should such delays cause a further slowing in fiber deployment growth, the end of a fiber deployment boom could be at hand. CRU notes that fiber installations enjoyed a 14% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 1997 and 2017. This led to annual fiber deployment totals to rise from 37 million fiber-km in 1997 to 2017’s 492 million fiber-km. CRU also notes that it took operators nearly 30 years, from the late 1970s to 2008, to deploy 1 billion fiber-km; operators deployed half that total last year alone.

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