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Docsis Device Shipments Drop in 2008

For likely the first time in cable history, worldwide Docsis device shipments fell last year, following a sharp slump in equipment shipments during the fourth quarter.

In the latest quarterly figures compiled and analyzed by Heavy Reading for our Cable Next-Gen Technology Quarterly Market Tracker, vendor shipments of Docsis cable modems, embedded multimedia terminal adapters (E-MTAs), gateways, and other devices slipped to 33.3 million units in 2008 from 33.7 million units in 2007. The decrease was due entirely to a sizeable drop in E-MTA shipments.

Cable data modem shipments actually registered a healthy increase for the year, rising to nearly 17.8 million units from almost 17.3 million in 2007. But this increase was more than offset by the steep decline in E-MTA shipments, which plummeted to 14.5 million units from nearly 15.6 million in 2007.

The drop in overall Docsis device shipments for the year came after a poor fourth-quarter performance, undoubtedly driven by the global recession. Docsis shipments sank to 7.8 million units in the fall quarter, down sharply from 8.8 million in the third quarter and a record 9.2 million in the year-ago period. Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Ubee Interactive (formerly Ambit), and Thomson S.A. (NYSE: TMS; Euronext Paris: 18453) all registered notable declines.

But even with this drop, we still expect shipments to rise again next year, due to the rollout of the Docsis 3.0 spec and the continuing spread of cable VOIP service throughout the world. Heavy Reading projects that total Docsis gear shipments will scale 34 million units in 2009 and approach 38 million by 2012.

Cable modem shipments will lead the charge, thanks to the accelerating rollout of cable broadband services in such less-developed markets as Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The growing deployment of Docsis 3.0 throughout all of the world's four main cable regions – North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia/Pacific – will also spur demand for data-only modems.

E-MTA shipments will also start rising modestly again, as MSOs extend VOIP service to new markets and push digital voice deeper into existing markets. But, in a reversal of our forecast from a year ago, we no longer see voice modems matching and surpassing data modem shipments in the next few years.

In addition, shipments of other Docsis-enabled devices, such as the emerging integrated wireless gateways and digital set-top boxes, will build steadily over the next few years, as demand for them grows and new equipment vendors enter the field.

— Alan Breznick, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading


For more information, or a FREE PREVIEW of the Cable Next-Gen Technology Quarterly Market Tracker, please contact:

    Lee Salem
    Sales Director – Custom Research, Heavy Reading
    415-947-6144
    [email protected]



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