Cable Tech

PMC-Sierra Targets IP DSLAMs

PMC-Sierra Inc. (Nasdaq: PMCS) is expanding its DSL horizons by targeting IP-based DSLAMs.

The chips haven't been officially announced yet, but CEO Bob Bailey noted them during yesterday's earnings call with analysts. Asked about the DSL world, Bailey pointed out China's deployment of IP DSLAMs and said PMC is angling for a piece of that market.

"PMC has IP/ATM hybrid chips that are going into the next generation" of IP DSLAMs, he said. "We haven't announced it, but all these major DSLAM guys are evaluating it in detail," Bailey said.

PMC offers a bevy of ATM chips -- not to mention microprocessors and switch chips -- for traditional DSLAMs. The IP DSLAM would be new territory for the company, but wouldn't be a revenue generator this year.

"It's more of a 2006 kind of a program," Bailey said, noting that IP DSLAM deployment is just getting started. "China seems to be moving in this direction first, although it's a pretty slow process. There's a lot of equipment being looked at and deployed sparingly."

Details of the chips aren't available, but it seems likely they would be protocol-conversion chips, interworking between ATM-based DSL lines and an IP network core. Infineon Technologies AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: IFX) produced such chips earlier this year (see Infineon Touts Convergence Processor).

Analysts agree IP is in DSLAMs' future. Infonetics Research Inc. estimates that revenues from ATM-based DSLAMs will begin to decline next year, with IP DSLAMs representing one-third of all DSLAM ports shipping in 2006 (see UTStarcom Ranked #2 in DSLAMs).

For its second quarter ended June 27, PMC reported net income of $15.4 million, or 8 cents per share, on revenues of $85.7 million, compared with net income of $16.8 million, or 9 cents per share, on revenues of $78.7 million the previous quarter.

The results beat analysts' expectations by a penny. But the company's stock fell in after-hours trading, down 65 cents to $11.10 at one point, and shares dropped even further today, reaching $10.48 by midday.

Investors might have been spooked by the possibility of a flat third quarter, as CEO Bailey predicted revenues between $86 million and $92 million. "We were hoping for more, given the environment for DSL and wireless access," writes analyst Allan Mishan of CIBC World Markets in a report issued today.

Moreover, Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: CY) had set an optimistic tone with its earnings call, which sent PMC's stock up 63 cents yesterday.

Some analysts pointed out that summer is a traditionally slow time for semiconductors and that PMC's prospects still look good. "We view the conservative guidance into Q3 as just that, a conservative expectation for what is traditionally a seasonally soft quarter," writes Jeremy Bunting, an analyst with Thomas Weisel Partners.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 1:26:39 AM
re: PMC-Sierra Targets IP DSLAMs
The problem with DSL chips is that in many ways its like selling DSLAMs. Few companies actually move the needle for chip vendors. Perhaps 6 - 10. Most of these sell ATM DSLAMs. So, unless you are planning to do a new DSLAM a chip that adapts ATM - Ethernet is a good idea.

TurkishGuy 12/5/2012 | 1:26:39 AM
re: PMC-Sierra Targets IP DSLAMs It does not seem logical to me that to enter IP DSLAM market with IP-ATM conversion chip because of the capability to have this conversion on the ADSL CO chipset. As far as I know newly introduced ST Micro's 12-port CO ADSL Chipset (Copperwing12) can be used for IP DSLAM equipment and ATM-based DSLAM as well while eliminating external comms processor. I guess other ADSL chip vendors will also introduce IP DSL CO Chipset in the near future.
So what is the reason that PMC (and Infineon - Convergate chip) is entering this market? Will DSLAM manufacturers prefer comms + ATM -based CO ADSL chipset solution rather than ip based CO chipset?
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