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Global FTTH shipments up 58% in 2006

09 Mar 2007

Market analysts at Dittberner predict a 50% growth in global FTTH shipments for 2007.

Fibre to the home (FTTH) shipments worldwide grew 41% quarter on quarter in 4Q06 and were up 58% in the whole of 2006 to a record 4.6 million optical network terminal (ONT) and optical line terminal (OLT) ports, according to a new sector report, "Broadband Shipment Analysis", published this month by Dittberner, based in Bethesda, MD, US.

The jump in 4Q06, after flat growth in the second and third quarters, was due to the change in the mixture of detached homes and apartments in the FTTH leading Japanese market. This changing mixture will cause some variability in such shipments for the foreseeable future, although the general trend is upwards, says the Dittberner report.

The FTTH market is still dominated by domestic Japanese companies supplying Gigabit Ethernet passive optical network (GPON) equipment. Japan currently has 4.8 million FTTH subscribers, about four times more than the next largest market, the USA. So even though the US's largest FTTH supplier, Tellabs, saw its shipments grow by 27% in 2006, it didn't kept pace with the Japanese or the overall market. The top five suppliers marginally increased their market share from 91.6 to 91.9% in 2006.

However, the Dittberner analysts predict changes to this scenario in 2007. Korea has launched a new FTTH initiative, which helped to boost Siemens' GPON shipments in 4Q06. Early in 2007 Alcatel-Lucent also announced a GPON initiative with France Telecom.

In the US, Verizon is expected to add one million FTTH subscribers in 2007, mostly with GPON, which is expected to increase Tellabs' shipments as well as those of Alcatel-Lucent, Verizon's chosen GPON supplier.

Dittberner believes that these new FTTH initiatives – coupled with the existing Japanese build out – will see the total market grow to 6.8 million ports in 2007. The Japanese suppliers' market share is set to be reduced from 82% of the FTTH ports shipped in 2006 to 55% in 2007.

Generally, GPON will continue to grow in the coming years as major service providers in Europe and North America launch more GPON-based FTTH initiatives, while BPON (broadband) shipments will decline sharply as a percentage of the overall market.

Dittberner concluded that Siemens, which is set to merge with Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson, which recently acquired Entrisphere, are all poised to be the biggest beneficiaries of this new growth in FTTH.

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