Worldwide spending on broadband aggregation equipment was down last year, but GPON and VDSL bucked the overall trend.

"2012 was a challenging year for fixed broadband equipment, with DSL taking the biggest hit as China continues its transition to FTTH,” said Jeff Heynen, directing analyst for broadband access and pay TV at Infonetics Research. "But despite the difficult road for DSL, VDSL remains a real bright spot, expanding among operators in Western Europe, North America and Latin America. Vectoring solutions and a long-term path to G.Fast are driving sustained interest in VDSL2.

"Meanwhile, GPON equipment had an outstanding year, with China again contributing the most revenue and EMEA and Latin America providing pockets of strength."

Global sales of broadband aggregation equipment, which also included PON and Ethernet FTTH, fell 6 percent in the fourth quarter to $1.56 billion, as a result of declines in spending on DSL equipment in EMEA and EPON gear in Asia. For the full year, worldwide spending on broadband aggregation equipment was down 10 percent  to $6.65 billion, with DSL  equipment plunging 26 percent.

On the opposite end of the sales spectrum, the 2.5G GPON equipment segment was up 30 percent last year, paced by China, where a dramatic swing in technology choice by China Telecom and China Unicom shifted investment from EPON to GPON for FTTH deployments

VDSL port shipments grew by almost a quarter in 2012, reaching 23 million worldwide, as Belgacom, KPN, British Telecom, France Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, Turk Telecom, and Telekom Austria deployed VDSL2 to keep pace with cable operators’ DOCSIS 3.0 rollouts

In the overall broadband aggregation market, perennial leader Huawei lost some revenue share to its top competitors, and Alcatel-Lucent pulled ahead of ZTE for second place. The top three overall vendors also led growing 2.5G GPON equipment market, with Dasan Networks rounding out the fourth spot.