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Infonetics Research: Tepid WDM Growth, Slumping SONET/SDH Bog Down Optical Market in 3Q12

Market research firm Infonetics Research today released preliminary analysis from its 3rd quarter 2012 (3Q12) Optical Network Hardware vendor market share report. (Full report with forecasts and detailed analysis will be published November 27.)


“Investment in new WDM gear is growing, but it isn’t growing fast enough to offset the accelerated declines in SONET/SDH,” notes Andrew Schmitt, principal analyst for optical at Infonetics Research. “SONET/SDH spending hit another all-time low in the third quarter, as architectural shifts in wireless backhaul quicken its transition into obsolescence. Carriers aren’t allocating scarce capital to out-of-date equipment.”

Schmitt continues: “On a brighter note, there’s an investment cycle set to begin next year in the core network that’s based on 100G coherent and supported by the massive ramp in 100G prototyping and trialing activities that are already underway worldwide.”


  • In 3Q12, the global optical network hardware market, including WDM and SONET/SDH, fell 2% sequentially—the 3rd straight quarter of declines following 5 consecutive quarters of minor increases
    • WDM optical revenue grew 6.9% in 3Q12 from 2Q12, bolstered by a strong performance from Huawei
    • SONET/SDH optical spending continued its sharp fall, down 19% sequentially and 33% year-over-year
  • NEC, Fujitsu, and Infinera had a strong 3Q12, with revenue up by double digits thanks to robust ROADM equipment spending
  • Alcatel-Lucent posted its lowest-ever optical revenue results in 3Q12, with the majority of the decline coming from its WDM business
  • Performance in North America and EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, Africa) was relatively weak, although North America is expected to resume moderate growth in 4Q12 as AT&T and Verizon ramp spending


Infonetics’ quarterly optical network hardware report provides worldwide and regional market size, market share, analysis, forecasts, and trends for metro and long haul SONET/SDH and WDM equipment, Ethernet optical ports, SONET/SDH/POS ports, and WDM ports. Companies tracked include Adtran, ADVA, Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena, Cisco, Cyan, ECI Telecom, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Huawei, Infinera, NEC, Nokia Siemens Networks, Tellabs, Transmode, Tyco Telecom, ZTE, and others. To buy the report, contact Infonetics Sales:



Download OPTICAL report highlights, tables of contents, and prospectuses at, or Infonetics’ Publication Calendar at


N. America (West), Asia, Latin America: Larry Howard, [email protected], +1 408-583-3335

N. America (East), Texas, Midwest: Scott Coyne, [email protected], +1 408-583-3395

Europe, Middle East, Africa: George Stojsavljevic, [email protected], +44 755-488-1623

Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan:


Infonetics Research ( is an international market research and consulting firm serving the communications industry since 1990. A leader in defining and tracking emerging and established technologies in all world regions, Infonetics helps clients plan, strategize, and compete effectively. View Infonetics’ About Us slides at

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