Capex Swoons on M&A Uncertainty

The DOCSIS network sector posted a banner year in 2014, but it’s off to a rocky start this year as M&A uncertainty continues to hang over some of the nation’s largest cable operators.

Arris warned of short-term “headwinds” when it reported fourth-quarter results last month, and now a research firm that covers the broadband sector is expecting exactly that.

Infonetics Research believes first-quarter shipments of DOCSIS and edge QAM channels will drop 7% in the first quarter of 2015, holding that the questions surrounding the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable threaten to exacerbate a part of the year that’s typically slow.

DOCSIS channel shipments surged to a record 4.8 million worldwide in 2014, a 114% year-over-year increase, according to Infonetics. Cable-access gear — a category that includes cable-modem termination systems (CMTSs), converged cable-access platforms (CCAPs), edge QAMs and coaxial media converters — grew 27%, to $1.7 billion, in 2014, while fourth-quarter revenues rose 11%, to $493 million.

Arris dominated the market with 48% of global revenue in the sector in 2014, followed by Cisco Systems (28%) and Casa Systems (19%). Casa, however, outpaced Cisco in the fourth quarter, thanks to new business and upgrades in the Asia Pacific and North America regions.

Cisco fell off the pace because operators are eagerly awaiting the cBR-8, Cisco’s next-generation CCAP, but its share of the revenue pie is expected to rebound later this year when that product reaches volume production.