Digital Loop Carriers (DLCs) are evolving to support new services in the access network and provide new functionalities for improved cost efficiencies for service providers, according to In-Stat/MDR. As more service providers are planning to offer triple-play services of voice, data, and video, DLC vendors are offering products that will enable them to do this. The biggest immediate driver for DLC market growth is support of DSL services. DSL subscriber growth has been strong worldwide, and new forms of DSL (e.g. ADSL2+ and VDSL) require new line cards to be deployed to replace older versions. DSL/POTS combo cards are also replacing POTS-only cards. Growth in triple-play services will drive demand for DLCs that provide enough bandwidth to support video, as well as efficient support for IP multicasting and QoS. Fiber-based services are still small now, but expansion of these services will occur over time, and open up an important new market opportunity for DLCs, as is already happening for some vendors.
Worldwide DLC total POTS + DSL port shipments in 2003 were about 20.8 million. About 80% of these were POTS ports and 20% were DSL ports. Huawei became the worldwide leader in overall DLC port shipments in 2003. About 90% of Huawei's port shipments in 2003 were in Asia. Worldwide POTS port shipments will grow at a CAGR of about 6% from 2003 - 2008, and DSL port shipments will grow at a slightly greater CAGR of about 8% over this period.