Fiberoptics Industry Report

Apr 1st, 2002

Optical transmission market slated for positive growth
The worldwide optical-transmission systems market struggled in 2001 as revenue declined 10%, but the market is forecasted to show positive growth in 2002, according to Dataquest, a unit of Gartner (Stamford, CT). In 2001, worldwide optical-transmission revenue totaled $30.3 billion, down from 2000 revenue of $33.8 billion. The industry is not projected to surpass 2000 revenue results until the end of 2003. In 2002, worldwide optical-transmission revenue is forecasted to reach $32.6 billion and then grow to $36 billion in 2003. "While the market in 2003 will be similar in size to the market in 2000, its nature will have changed significantly," said Peter Kjeldsen, senior analyst with Gartner Dataquest's EMEA Telecommunications group. "Consolidation in the market will have changed the number of vendors and operators, and their relative strengths are likely to have changed as well."

Sumitomo builds optical-fiber plants in China
Sumitomo Electric Industries (SEI; Osaka, Japan) has started construction of plants to manufacture optical fiber and optical cable in the city of Shenzhen in the Chinese province of Guangdong. Since the establishment in July of its optical-fiber and cable production subsidiary, Sumitomo Electric Optical Fiber and Cable Co. (SEFC; Shenzhen), SEI has been applying to the Chinese government to increase the capital of this new company and was given approval in December. SEFC will manufacture ordinary single-mode fibers as well as loose-tube cables that are widely used in China and other parts of the world. Optical cables manufactured by the new company will be sold to major Chinese telecommunications carriers such as China Telecom and China Unicom. SEFC, which will become SEI's first optical-cable production base in the Chinese market, is scheduled to start production of optical cables in September and optical fibers in the beginning of 2003.

Optical crossconnects make market inroads
According to an analysis from Frost & Sullivan (Mountain View, CA) "World Digital Cross Connect Markets for Core Long Haul and Metro/Regional Optical Networks," the industry generated revenues of $2.9 billion in 2001, with revenues projected to decrease to a little over $1 billion by 2007. "The market for digital crossconnects is expected to decline substantially in North America and Europe as the next generation of these systems emerges as optical crossconnects (OXCs). This will be particularly true in core networks and metro core networks, where strong OXC products are beginning to penetrate the market," said Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Mark Storm. North American and European telecommunications suppliers must make the case with customers that digital crossconnect systems offer tangible, proven benefits to service providers in the face of highly publicized, expensive, and untested proposals for radically new equipment, he said.

Jabil Circuit to manufacture for Digital Lightwave
Digital Lightwave (Clearwater, FL) has entered a manufacturing agreement with Jabil Circuit (St. Petersburg, FL), in which Jabil Circuit will serve as Digital Lightwave's primary contract manufacturer for the company's circuit board and product assembly and will also provide engineering design services. "This agreement with Jabil represents an important step in our strategy to reduce operating expenses and focus our resources on sales, product line enhancements, and new market opportunities," said Bryan Zwan, chairman, president, and CEO of Digital Lightwave. "Jabil's expertise in advanced optical manufacturing will enhance our ability to remain a leader, providing us with high-quality products and shorter lead times, while mitigating the risks of carrying inventory during economically driven shifts in customer demand."

Also in the news . . .
New World Network (Miami, FL) has announced commercial availability of ARCOS (Americas Region Caribbean Optical-ring System), the company's fiberoptic cable network, which links 24 landing points in 15 countries within South, Central, and North America and extends for a total length of 8600 km around the Caribbean. . . . Alcatel Optronics (Paris, France), CyOptics (Waltham, MA), and Oki Electric Industry (Tokyo, Japan), three leading companies in the electroabsorption domain, have launched a joint effort to define a multisource agreement for 40-Gbit/s electroabsorption-modulator-based products. . . . PrimeLink Systems (Folsom, LA) has entered a nonbinding agreement to construct a 900-mile proprietary network from Dallas, TX, to Atlanta, GA, in conjunction with Broadwing Communications (Austin, TX) and Southern Telecom, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (Atlanta, GA).

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