Cable modem/CMTS

Cisco Keeps Stranglehold of CMTS Market

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s dominance of the cable modem termination system (CMTS) market continued as the vendor locked up 55.4 percent of global revenue in the product category during the first quarter, according to the latest data from Infonetics Research Inc.

Cisco's cut of the loot was down 3 percent from a year ago, but that wasn't nearly enough of a drop to be threatened by Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) and Motorola Mobility LLC , which came away with 25.4 percent and 15.6 percent of the CMTS revenues in the quarter, respectively. Of the top three, Motorola showed the strongest year-over-year gains -- rising about 5 percent -- thanks in part to strong shipments of the TX32, its dedicated downstream card.

Also showing signs of life was Casa Systems Inc. , the startup of the CMTS field that's gotten some decent traction in China and with UPC Broadband in Europe. It owns but a sliver of the market, but Casa secured about 4.5 percent to 5 percent of CMTS revenues in the first quarter, about double where it's typically been, says Infonetics analyst Jeff Heynen.

It's been more than two years since Arris topped the CMTS market, a spot it held only briefly when Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) began to get aggressive with Docsis 3.0 deployments and looked to Arris to fuel the initial rollouts. (See Arris Snares CMTS Crown From Cisco .)

There's a bit more movement in the edge QAM market of late. Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) held the top slot in the first quarter, with 43 percent, but Arris jumped up to the second spot, with 21 percent, just 3 points more than Cisco. However, Arris's move up the ladder wasn't driven by a sudden surge of sales; it got there in large part via its acquisition of BigBand Networks Inc., which has typically owned 6 percent to 9 percent of the edge QAM market. (See Arris Snaps Up BigBand .)

The pie they're all chasing is expanding, but not enough that anyone should expect much more jockeying of positions for a while. Infonetics said global revenue for cable access gear (CMTS plus edge QAM) was $449 million in the first quarter, up 1.2 percent from the previous quarter and up 5.1 percent from the year-ago period.

Still, Heynen says he expects cable access to put in a "strong year" in 2012. "The initiative for Docsis 3.0 and getting prepared for IP video aren't changing," he says.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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