Optical components

Survey Punctures Components Myth

Conventional wisdom about the future of the optical components industry -- that it will consolidate into a handful of big players -- has been challenged by a market perception survey conducted by Heavy Reading, Light Reading's paid research division.

The survey, of more than 300 buyers of optical components in the telecom equipment business, demonstrates that most of them would like to reduce the number of component suppliers they have to deal with, but hardly any of them see the need for a "one-stop shop."

This calls into question the efforts of vendors like Avanex Corp. (Nasdaq: AVNX) and Bookham Technology plc (Nasdaq: BKHM; London: BHM) that have been striving to become one-stop-shop suppliers so they can rival JDS Uniphase Corp. (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU).

The survey shows that a mere 6.3 percent of respondents consider the breadth of a vendor's product portfolio as an "essential" issue when selecting a supplier. Product reliability and product performance, followed by price, are far more important factors, according to the majority of respondents.

The survey also reveals that many respondents don't have an accurate idea of what particular suppliers offer anyhow. Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) and Bookham, for instance, often get credit for broader product portfolios than they actually have. The converse is true for some other vendors, notably Chinese ones, many of which aren't particularly scrutable to prospective purchasers.

Heavy Reading's invitation-only, on-line survey was taken by a total of 762 people, 301 of whom are component purchasers in the telecom equipment business. Their locations, company types, and job functions are summarized in the following charts.

The survey starts by analyzing buyer attitudes and key factors influencing their choice of suppliers. It then goes on to assess the vendors in terms of the breadth of their portfolios, by identifying ones with products in six or more of the following categories:

  • Commodity passive components
  • DWDM components
  • Cable and connectors
  • Lasers/detectors
  • Optical transceivers
  • Optical amplifiers
  • Optical switching and reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexer (ROADM) components
  • Signal-conditioning components

This singled out 17 public companies and 23 private companies listed at the end of this article. For each product category, respondents were then asked to identify which of these companies they recognized as a supplier, and which ones they considered to be a market leader.

Not surprisingly, JDSU did well, but plenty of vendors with a less broad product line got into the top three rankings in individual categories.

Heavy Reading's 57-page report entitled "2004 Optical Components Market Perception Study" costs $2,950. For more details, click here.

Public vendors covered in the report:
  • Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A)
  • Alliance Fiber Optic Products Inc. (AFOP) (Nasdaq SC: AFOP)
  • Avanex Corp. (Nasdaq: AVNX)
  • Bookham Technology plc (Nasdaq: BKHM; London: BHM)
  • ExceLight Communications Inc. (Sumitomo) (Tokyo: 8053)
  • Finisar Corp. (Nasdaq: FNSR)
  • Fujitsu Quantum Devices Ltd. (OTC: FJTSY; Tokyo: 6702)
  • Fitel (Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd.) (Tokyo: 5801)
  • Infineon Technologies AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: IFX)
  • JDS Uniphase Corp. (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU)
  • NEC Corp. (Nasdaq: NIPNY; Tokyo: 6701)
  • NTT Electronics Corp. (NEL) (NYSE: NTT)
  • Oki Optical Components Inc. (Tokyo: 6703)
  • Oplink Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: OPLK)
  • Optical Communications Products Inc. (OCP) (Nasdaq NM: OCPI)
  • Stratos Lightwave Inc. (Nasdaq NM: STLW)
  • TriQuint Semiconductor Inc. (Nasdaq: TQNT)
Private vendors covered in the report:

  • A&T Technology Co. Ltd.
  • Accelink Technologies Co. Ltd.
  • AOC Technologies Inc.
  • DiCon Fiberoptics Inc.
  • Fiberxon Inc.
  • FOCI Fiber Optic Communications Inc.
  • Gould Fiber Optics
  • Hopecom Optic Communications Co. Ltd.
  • Koncent Communication Inc.
  • LuminentOIC Inc.
  • Northlight Optronics AB
  • O-Net Communications Ltd.
  • Opnext Inc.
  • Primanex Corp.
  • Santec Corp.
  • Senko Advanced Components Inc.
  • Shanghai Dare Optoelectronic Communications Co. Ltd. (SDO)
  • Shenzhen Hi-Optel Technology Co. Ltd.
  • Shenzhen Photon Technology Co. Ltd.
  • SK Opto-Electronics Inc.
  • Sun Telecommunication Co. Ltd.
  • Wuhan Telecommunication Devices Co.
  • Wuxi Zhongxing Optoelectronics Technologies Co. Ltd.

— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading

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