The softswitch market may be lagging in North America, but that didn’t stop it from achieving a record 2011.
According to a new report from market research firm Infonetics Research – entitled “Service Provider Routers and Switches” – the fourth quarter of 2011 was a ground-breaking period for the IP edge router, IP core router and carrier Ethernet softswitch market segments and the manufacturers within them.
"The carrier router and switch market hit a record-high $14.5 billion in 2011, up 8 percent over 2010, making it the second largest telecom market segment after mobile RAN infrastructure," confirmed Michael Howard (News - Alert), Infonetics Research's co-founder and principal analyst for carrier networks, in a press release.
The vendor market share report -- which tracked telecom giants including Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Juniper, Tellabs (News - Alert), and more – analyzed the IP edge through applications like multiservice edge, broadband remote access server, Ethernet access transport, and Ethernet service edge.
Hidden within these 2011 results, however, are signs of market growth slowdowns in North America, Asia and Latin America, revealed Howard. Most surprisingly is the outcome of the carrier router and softswitch market for North America, which is the only world region to show a decline in market spending both quarter-over-quarter in 4Q 2011, and the full year of 2011, even after the country has experienced signs of economic profitability. On the other hand, Europe came out of 2011 unaffected by its ongoing euro/Greece/debt crisis, posting a 21 percent increase in router and softswitch spending.
"Yet paradoxically, 2011 results show signs of a slowdown in the market's overall growth rate. Why? Because despite continued double-digit percent annual growth in the largest market, Asia, and the smallest market, Latin America, the two mainstays of carrier routers and switches, North America and EMEA, are slowing. Still, the fundamental market drivers will pace the overall market forward, with growing fixed broadband traffic and exploding mobile broadband traffic on 3G and LTE (News - Alert) networks pushing many service providers to upgrade their access, aggregation, and core networks, including mobile backhaul,” he said.
The report highlighted Cisco (News - Alert) as the vendor leading the IP edge pack, commanding about one-third of the global market in 2011. Meanwhile, heavyweight competitors Alcatel-Lucent – which retained the No. 2 spot for global router revenue in 4Q 2011 – as well as Huawei, Juniper and ZTE (News - Alert), all increased respective market shares last year.