IPTV Drives Up Volume in DSL-Equipment Market

First-quarter digital-subscriber-line network-equipment numbers are in, and according to two research firms, the market is on a major upswing, driven in part by the growing IPTV market.

First-quarter DSL-access concentrator-port shipments reached record levels, totaling almost 19.2 million ports. That’s a 35% jump compared with the same quarter of last year, when 14.2 million ports were shipped, according to a report issued by Dell'Oro Group.

Defining network-gear volumes by ports shipped reflects business in new DSL-aggregation units and upgrades adding connection ports to add capacity.

"Port-shipment growth is increasingly driven by service providers upgrading to all-IP networks, as well as deploying higher-bandwidth equipment to enable new revenue-producing services such as IPTV," said Steve Nozik, principal analyst for broadband access research at Dell'Oro Group. That included significant deployments of very high-speed DSL (VDSL) technology outside of Asia, most notably in Germany and the United States.

The case in point was Siemens AG and Alcatel SA, which deployed IP DSL-access multiplexers -- the controller that sits in the local telco central office and oversees a group of DSL users -- to Deutsche Telecom AG and AT&T Inc., respectively.

Dell’Oro’s report indicated among vendors, Alcatel is the dominant supplier in DSL-port shipments overall, with a significant lead over Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Siemens. In VDSL equipment, the leaders are NEC Corp. of America, Siemens, Sumitomo Corp. and ZyXEL Communications Corp.

But it wasn’t all good news for DSL vendors. Infonetics Research statistics showed that while revenue for DSL equipment rose 8% in the first quarter, worldwide network-hardware sales slowed, dropping 5% to 1.6 billion.

The drop in revenue reflected the fact that while port shipments are up, prices have dropped. As with Dell’Oro, Infonetics found that DSL-aggregation-port shipments jumped 38% from 2004 to 2005. But with the rising market volume, Infonetics predicted that IP DSLAM revenue will grow a whopping 318% between now and 2009.

Similarly, shipments of IP DSLAM ports jumped 34% in the first quarter.