LR Insider Handicaps DSLAM Market
That's the conclusion of "DSLAM Dynamics," the most recent issue of Light Reading Insider, Light Reading's paid subscription research service. "DSLAM Dynamics" looks at what's what in the competitive landscape of the Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer market and identifies key trends.
So what's the big deal? For one, the DSL market is still, by all measures, booming (see DSL Growth Explodes in 2003). With the threat from cable networks growing, DSLAMs represent a potential technology platform to allow traditional telecom carriers to offer a triple play of services -- hundreds of channels of digital broadcast video, high-speed Internet access, and voice service, all through the same copper wires plugged into our phones right now.
This leaves the large group of DSLAM equipment vendors hungry for a leadership position. The report concludes that DSLAMs represent a key battleground for the architecture of future carrier networks, and the equipment vendors are pursuing several strategies to win these deals.
The equipment vendors can be divided into roughly two camps: Those providing basic DSLAM functionality and competing primarily on price; and those packing more features into an existing DSLAM box, in an effort to replace the functions of other equipment such as aggregation routers.
A key issue is architecture, because carriers need a migration plan to IP-based networks. For example, Advanced Fibre Communications Inc. (AFC) (Nasdaq: AFCI) began building its next-generation DSLAM as an ATM-based Layer 2/3 switch/router and added DSL interfaces -- a strategy tailored for the North American market.
The clear leader of the pack, however, is Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA). Alcatel holds not just the enviable position of leading DSL market share, but it is also a powerful global incumbent that leads in the access space and has standing relationship with major carrier incumbents.
What should players such as AFC and Alcatel be watching out for? Features, architecture, and incumbency aren't the only issues. A new wave of equipment providers focusing on the Asian market, including UTStarcom Inc. (Nasdaq: UTSI) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., are introducing low-cost DSLAMs that are putting severe pricing pressure on the market.
Other companies covered in the "DSLAM Dynamics" report include: Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE), NEC Corp. (Nasdaq: NIPNY; Tokyo: 6701), Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), Marconi Corp. plc (OTC: MONIY), ECI Telecom Ltd. (Nasdaq/NM: ECIL), and SumitomoCorp.
— R. Scott Raynovich, US Editor, Light Reading
The current Light Reading Insider report – “DSLAM Dynamics” – is available here. A single-user license to the report is $400. An annual single-user subscription to the Insider, which includes access to the complete archives, the current report, and each of the monthly reports issued over the next 12 months, is available for $1,250 per year.