Cable Modem Shipments Hit Record in Q2

Combined worldwide shipments of cable data and voice modems reached a new record high in the second quarter, driven by another surge in MSO demand for the voice modems.

Total global shipments of DOCSIS cable modem and PacketCable embedded multimedia terminal adapters (E-MTAs) rose to 6.95 million units in the spring quarter, smashing the old quarterly record of 6.75 million units set in the previous three-month period, according to the latest research compiled by Cable Digital News. That represents a 2.9 percent increase from the cable industry’s first-quarter total and a 27.5 percent jump from the year-earlier total of 5.45 million units shipped.

More than ever, E-MTAs, which integrate cable data modems with PacketCable IP phone adapters, accounted for the lion’s share of the growth in DOCSIS device shipments. As cable operators in North America and the rest of the planet accelerated their rollouts of VOIP service throughout the spring, worldwide voice modem shipments soared to a record high of nearly 2.9 million units, up from almost 2.5 million units in the previous quarter and a mere 1.5 million in the year-earlier period.

Thanks to this growth, E-MTAs accounted for an impressive 41.6 percent of all DOCSIS device shipments by the top cable equipment manufacturers during the quarter. That’s up from 36.4 percent in the first quarter and 27.5 percent in the second quarter of 2005.

At the same time, worldwide shipments of data-only cable modems slipped in the second quarter, after rising in the first quarter but falling on an annual basis for the first time last year. DOCSIS modem shipments declined to just under 4.1 million units during the spring, down from almost 4.3 million in the first quarter although up from slightly more than 3.9 million in the year-ago period.

Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) maintained its leadership in the swiftly growing E-MTA sector in the second quarter despite a strong challenge from previous category king Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) as they both boosted their shipment numbers. Arris reported shipping 1.09 million voice modems, up from 1.06 million the quarter before and 567,000 in the year-earlier period. As a result, it captured 37.7 percent of the worldwide market, down from 43.0 percent in the previous quarter but even with its share a year earlier.

Motorola tightened its hold on second place in the worldwide E-MTA rankings as it substantially increased its unit shipments in the second quarter. The vendor shipped 928,000 voice modems in the quarter, up from 632,000 units in the first quarter and 324,000 a year earlier. This performance earned Moto a 32.1 percent market share, up from 25.7 percent in the first quarter and 21.6 percent a year ago.

In its first full reporting period under Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) rule, Scientific Atlanta also experienced an increase in E-MTA sales, finishing a strong third behind Arris and Motorola. S-A shipped an estimated 587,000 voice modems in Q2, up from 525,000 units in the quarter before and 343,000 a year earlier. But its market share actually slid to 20.3 percent, down from 21.4 percent in the first quarter and 22.8 percent in the year-ago period, because of the greater proportionate growth in the overall market.

Such other leading cable modem makers as Ambit Broadband also registered E-MTA shipment gains in the second quarter. But none of the other manufacturers captured more than 3.8 percent of the voice modem business.

Table 1: Top 5 E-MTA Suppliers in 2Q06
Vendor E-MTAs Share
Arris 1,091,169 37.70%
Motorola 928,000 32.10%
S-A 587,000 20.30%
Thomson 100,000 3.50%
Ambit 76,960 2.60%
Other 110,000 3.80%
Total 2,893,129 100.00%
Source: Company reports, CDN estimates

Despite Arris's continued rule of the E-MTA market, Motorola easily kept up its worldwide leadership in combined DOCSIS device shipments, thanks mainly to its continued domination of the data-only modem business. With purely data modems still accounting for more than 58 percent of the category total, Moto shipped nearly 1.7 million data-only devices, far more than any other vendor.

Overall, Motorola shipped 2.6 million DOCSIS devices in the quarter, even with the first quarter and up from close to 2.1 million in the year-ago period. As a result, it maintained a dominant 37.4 percent market share, down a touch from 38.6 percent the quarter before and 37.6 percent the year before.

S-A, which had fallen to third place in the worldwide DOCSIS device standings earlier this year, recaptured second place from Arris because of a sizeable jump in data-only modem sales. The company shipped more than an estimated 1.3 million data and voice modems in the second quarter, up from 1.1 million in the first quarter and 878,000 a year earlier. Consequently, its market share edged up to 19.1 percent, up from 16.3 percent in the first quarter and 16.1 percent a year ago.

Hindered by little presence in the data-only modem business, Arris slipped back to third place in the overall DOCSIS device rankings. Arris shipped nearly 1.2 million data modems and E-MTAs in the spring, up a bit from 1.14 million in the winter quarter and 650,000 units in the year-ago period. Its global market share climbed to 17.2 percent, up from 16.9 percent in the previous quarter and 11.9 percent the year before.

Table 2: Combined Cable Modem & E-MTA Unit Shipments 2Q06
Vendor Total Units NA Units ROW Units Total Share
Motorola 2,600,000 1,560,000 1,040,000 37.40%
S-A 1,325,000 669,000 656,000 19.10%
Arris 1,198,164 960,000 238,164 17.20%
Ambit 599,847 177,461 422,386 8.60%
Thomson 575,000 330,000 245,000 8.30%
Other 650,000 335,000 315,000 9.40%
100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%
Source: Company reports, CDN estimates

— Alan Breznick, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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