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The global DSL equipment market declined faster than expected in 2018, even compared to Ovum's relatively pessimistic forecast. Ovum estimates that total 2018 DSL and Gfast equipment port shipments declined by 15% compared to 2017, or 17% when Gfast equipment shipments are excluded.


  • YoY declines in the xDSL equipment (including Gfast) market are not new, but when quarterly global port shipments fall below 10 million as they did in 2Q18 (and are likely to have in 4Q18), and below 40 million for the full year, it is difficult to remain in denial. Ovum is not forecasting a recovery in 2019 or beyond.
  • The movement to a universal or single access network is gaining momentum among telcos. Once operators invest in an expensive fiber access network, it can be used to support non-residential customers and applications.
  • Network slicing, sometimes referred to as fixed access network sharing (FANS) is of keen interest, especially in countries where regulations require network sharing or unbundling. Key ingredients to network slicing include ultra-high bandwidth, along with network virtualization, automation, and optimization.

Features and Benefits

  • Assesses the DSL equipment market and the key reasons for its decline.
  • Analyzes the Gfast equipment market and its likely growth.
  • We evaluate the opportunity for fiber-based access networks to support the objective of universal access network, supporting different types of customer and applications. We examine FANS and network slicing.
  • We examine how vendors must support the evolution to universal fiber-based access networks and network slicing.

Key questions answered

  • Why is the DSL equipment market declining? What are the factors behind the decline?
  • Can Gfast equipment stem the DSL market decline?
  • What is universal fiber-based access and why is it gaining momentum? How can vendors support this?
  • Why is FANS or network slicing of interest to operators and how can vendors supporting network slicing?

Table of contents

Ovum view

  • Summary
  • The DSL equipment decline is significant and will continue
  • Strong 2018 for Gfast, mostly, but not enough
  • Vendors must focus on fiber networking advancements


  • Further reading
  • Author