Huawei Heads VOIP Port Parade

Shenzhen, China-based Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. was the leading VOIP equipment vendor in 2004, according to a survey by Maryland-based market research firm Dittberner Associates Inc. Huawei took a 24 percent market share by shipping 9 million ports for more than 100 deployments by 33 carriers, Dittberner reports.

The firm tracked the number of softswitch and media gateway ports shipped during 2004 by 29 vendors, totaling 36.8 million ports. Dittberner says the worldwide carrier-grade VOIP equipment market exceeded $1.2 billion last year.

Rounding out Dittberner’s top five were Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) with an 18.21 percent share (6.7 million ports); Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS) with an 11.36 percent share (4.2 million ports); UTStarcom Inc. (Nasdaq: UTSI) at 7.63 percent (2.8 million ports); and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) at 7.25 percent (2.7 million ports).

Of course there are a number of ways to look at the insinuation of packet-speaking equipment into the world’s telecom networks. Infonetics Research Inc. takes a somewhat wider view of the definition of “VOIP equipment” and, not surprisingly, comes up with different (higher) numbers and different market leaders.

Infonetics, like Dittberner, tracks softswitches and media gateways, but it also includes media servers, session border controllers, and voice application servers. So Infonetics believes the 2004 market was $1.7 billion big, and that Sonus led the media gateway segment while Nortel led in the softswitch segment.

Whoever the leaders are, both firms agree that the VOIP equipment market is finding its legs and will continue to prosper in the next few years. Infonetics projects 2008 sales in the space to be $5.9 billion, a growth of 36 percent.

Dittberner asserts that an increasing number of carriers and others “started the evolution” of their networks to packet-based infrastructure during 2004, both in the core and at the access levels.

After Dittberner’s number crunching was complete, its VP of market research, Lilian Tau, had some advice for network operators: “There is no universal NGN solution architecture, and it is up to each carrier to evolve its network at different rates depending on the state of its infrastructure, on the specific market situation, and on regulatory framework conditions.”

The Tau has spoken. Now go in peace.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

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