Today’s European data communications market is characterised by increasing deregulation and liberalisation. By far the most liberalised environment is that of the UK, where there is competition in telecommunications operator services between Mercury Communications Ltd and British Telecommunications Plc. Sweden follows a close second in liberalisation. This has made the UK by far the most […]
Today’s European data communications market is characterised by increasing deregulation and liberalisation. By far the most liberalised environment is that of the UK, where there is competition in telecommunications operator services between Mercury Communications Ltd and British Telecommunications Plc. Sweden follows a close second in liberalisation. This has made the UK by far the most advanced market as far as data communications equipment is concerned due to the competitive aspects, and the widespread availability of cost-effective digital leased circuits. This availability of digital leased circuits has allowed the development of a marketplace that is quite unlike that of other countries.
To illustrate, some 87.6% of all 2.048Mbps digital leased circuits in Europe are in the UK. Availability of high-speed digital transport services encourages the implementation of high-speed backbone networking technology such as high-speed Time Division Multiplexer backbones, and Frame Relay, which requires low error rate, high data rate digital leased circuits. The early availability of digital leased circuits in the UK, compared with other European countries has resulted in the UK becoming the largest marketplace for private networking products. Even in 1995, in spite of a deregulating and rapidly developing marketplace, the UK is still expected to account for 41% of the European Time Division Multiplexer market. Watford-based Datapro International, in its 1992 Wide Area Communications Equipment Market Analysis has quantified the development of equipment markets up to 1995 in Western Europe. Covering European Community, and European Free Trade Association countries, which includes the former East Germany, the study found several key trends in the areas of Packet Switched Infrastructure Equipment, Network Infrastructure Equipment, Multimedia and Integrated Terminals (including ISDN), and Network Management. The rapidly evolving European wide area communications equipment market is being influenced by technology development, user demand, open supply and regulation. Looking at the European market for particular products, Time Division Multiplexers show steady growth but nevertheless a relatively small market both in 1991 and through to 1995.
By Mark Raymond
Time Division Multiplexers, like packet-switching technology, are going to be impacted by the incursion of fast packet switching technology and related protocols such as Frame Relay. Underlying the growth in Time Division Multiplexer marketplaces there are several key trends:
* the availability of digital-leased circuits at 64Kbps and above;
* the ability to integrate voice and data over the same device, where regulation is not an inhibitor;
* the introduction of Frame Relay and cell relay packet technology;
* the growth in local nets requiring wide area interconnection;
There is also expected to be a shift towards a greater proportion of higher speed products, from Time Division products operating in the order of 64Kbps to 2.048Mbps – E1 High-speed modem technology (9.6Kbps and above) as defined by V.32, V.32bis, and faster modem products, show greater growth. However, these represent a more commodity-oriented market, this demand for high-speed modem technology is expected to grow until there is a more widespread availability of ISDN, and also until tariffs for ISDN services are set appropriately. There are some 30 different modem vendors active in Europe as a whole, and, interestingly, in some European countries up to 50% of modem shipments are of products that have not been approved. Packet switching equipment represents a relatively mature market. It forms the basis of both end-user private networks, and the basis of public network services. The mature nature of this market is expected to result in a future decline in the market for packet switching related equipment around 1995, following a slight growth in the interim. This is being influenced by factors such as emerging Frame Relay networking and existing mature networks. The UK, France and Germany al
l have a mixture of public and private packet-switched networks. These are mature markets which will show small growth (Germany), and no growth (the UK and France), with most of the growth coming from countries where there is either a high level of public infrastructure investment happening or countries that are coming late to the adoption of packet-switched networks.
An intriguing aspect of the Network Infrastructure Equipment market will be the rapid growth in Very Small Aperture Terminal satellite technology. The installed base of VSAT technology in Europe is very small. In 1991, the total European market represented an installed base of 1,650 terminals with 1,050 units shipped. This should be contrasted with the US market where there are some 63,000 VSATs in use. Germany has regulated its market so as to encourage VSAT use, and today it is by far the largest European market. Here, VSAT technology fills a niche requirement for communication with the Eastern Lnder while a new fixed network is built.Mark Raymond is senior analyst with Datapro International.