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DSL/vectoring/G.fast

Huawei Rivals AlcaLu for DSL Crown

Is Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)'s position as the undisputed king of the DSL equipment market under threat?

The answer is a resounding "Yes," with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. the rival eyeing up AlcaLu's crown, according to the latest reports from two market research firms.

But not all researchers make Huawei the top dog, showing just how close the battle is for market leadership.

First quarter: a close call
A report from Broadbandtrends, part of research firm Windsor Oaks Group LLC , says Huawei was the leading supplier of DSL ports in the first quarter of 2008, with AlcaLu in second place. In third place was ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763), followed by Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Nokia Networks . (See table below.)

Table 1: Top Five DSL Vendors by Region, First Quarter 2008
Ranking Global Asia/Pacific Central and Latin America Europe, Middle East and Africa North America
1 Huawei Huawei Alcatel-Lucent Alcatel-Lucent Alcatel-Lucent
2 Alcatel-Lucent ZTE Huawei Huawei Adtran
3 ZTE Alcatel-Lucent Ericsson Nokia Siemens Calix
4 Ericsson ZyXEL Zhone Ericsson Zhone
5 Nokia Siemens NEC UTStarcom ECI Telecom Tellabs
Source: Broadbandtrends




According to Huawei, the Broadbandtrends research showed it commanded more than 31 percent of the market in the first quarter of this year, when 22.7 million DSL ports were shipped, with 75 percent of those being IP DSL ports. (See Huawei Claims DSL Lead.)

Clearly, if Huawei had any sort of DSL position in North America, which it doesn't currently have (it is not even in the top five vendors in that region), it would be giving AlcaLu even more of a fright.

But hold on one digital line minute!

Rival research house Dittberner Associates Inc. puts Huawei just behind AlcaLu for the quarter. According to its statistics, AlcaLu commanded 30.1 percent of the DSL market by ports shipped, with Huawei close behind at 29.2 percent. ZTE is not even close in third spot, with a 14.1 percent share. "Huawei came close to challenging Alcatel-Lucent for the top spot," notes Dittberner's report.

AlcaLu still on top in past 12 months
There's little dispute about market leadership over a 12-month period, with Alcatel-Lucent, which has dominated the DSL equipment market for years, some ways ahead.

Statistics for the 12 months to the end of March 2008 show AlcaLu in the top spot, followed by Huawei and ZTE. In that 12-month period, 102.6 million DSL ports were shipped, according to Broadbandtrends. (See table below.)

Table 2: Top Five DSL Vendors by Region, 12 Months to March 2008
Ranking Global Asia/Pacific Central and Latin America Europe, Middle East and Africa North America
1 Alcatel-Lucent Huawei Alcatel-Lucent Alcatel-Lucent Alcatel-Lucent
2 Huawei ZTE Huawei Huawei Adtran
3 ZTE Alcatel-Lucent Ericsson Nokia Siemens Calix
4 Nokia Siemens ZyXEL ZTE Ericsson Tellabs
5 Ericsson NEC Zhone ECI Telecom Occam
Source: Broadbandtrends




AlcaLu commanded a 31.7 percent DSL port market share in that 12-month period, while Huawei had 25.2 percent and ZTE 14 percent, according to Broadbandtrends. Nokia Siemens is only just ahead of Ericsson, with 5.2 percent to the Swedish vendor's 5.1 percent.

Table 3: Top Five DSL Vendors by Market Share, 12 Months to March 2008
Ranking Vendor % of DSL ports shipped in the 12 months to end of March 2008
1 Alcatel-Lucent 31.7%
2 Huawei 25.2%
3 ZTE 14.0%
4 Nokia Siemens 5.2%
5 Ericsson 5.1%
6 ZyXEL 3.5%
7 ECI Telecom 2.8%
8 UTStarcom 2.6%
9 NEC 2.4%
10 Fujitsu 1.7%
Source: Broadbandtrends




IP DSL tussle
AlcaLu is also managing to fend off Huawei in terms of IP DSL ports shipped in the 12 months to the end of March, but for how long?

Huawei pushed AlcaLu into second spot in this category in the first quarter of 2008, according to both Broadbandtrends and Infonetics Research Inc. , and could challenge its larger rival for the overall DSL market top spot if it can hold on to the IP DSL port market share lead during the coming quarters.

Not everyone sees Huawei ahead in the first quarter, though. According to the Dell'Oro Group , AlcaLu was the No. 1 IP DSL vendor in the first three months of this year. (See AlcaLu Boasts DSL Lead.)

What's clear, though, is that IP DSL shipments now clearly dominate the market, and that legacy ATM port shipments are on the decline, as they have been for a while now. Infonetics predicts that by 2011 nearly the entire DSL market will comprise IP DSL shipments, with ATM-based DSL port sales accounting for just a few percent of the overall market, down from 25 percent in 2007.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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