Shipments of XGS-PON equipment continued a steady upward climb and the market for fixed wireless access gear started to heat up in Q3 2021, a new report from research firm Dell’Oro Group showed.
During the quarter, global revenue for the broadband access equipment market increased 7% year on year to $3.9 billion. While that growth rate might not sound like much, Dell’Oro VP of Broadband Access and Home Networking Jeff Heynen told Fierce it’s “pretty significant” when you factor in the maturity of the overall market and declines in the DSL segment. The full-year 2021 growth rate is expected to come in around the same 7% mark, he added.
“Even despite all the challenges, when you factor in supply chain issues that are really impacting CPE availability and consumer electronics, the infrastructure spending is still off the charts, particularly with fiber OLTs,” Heynen stated.
He noted more than a billion GPON ports are still being purchased each quarter, with a large portion of this activity coming from China. Meanwhile, XGS-PON OLT port shipments were the “highest they’ve ever been in the quarter,” coming in at nearly 270,000 in Q3. That figure represents about 10% of the total OLT port shipments recorded in the same period, Heynen said.
“It’s been a steady climb every quarter,” Heynen said of XGS-PON. However, he noted he doesn’t expect XGS-PON to surpass GPON globally until 2023, in large part because of China’s use of GPON. But zooming in, Heynen said the transition will likely happen sooner in North America.
FWA and Cable CPE
In terms of CPE, Heynen said total shipments of cable equipment were down for the third quarter in a row, reflecting not only supply chain issues but also a slowdown in subscriber net additions in the segment. He tipped this trend to continue into Q4.
However, he highlighted an uptick in shipments of sub-6GHz CPE for fixed wireless access as well as mmWave equipment. “That’s a good thing because for more operators to get interested in fixed wireless, the pricing of those units has to come down and we need volume deployments,” Heynen explained.