The global fiber optic cable market (henceforth, referred to as the market studied) was valued at USD 7,578.1 million in 2019, and it is expected to reach USD 16,390.6 million by 2025, registering a CAGR of 14.5% during the period, 2020-2025 (henceforth, referred to as the forecast period). Increasing demand in FTTX and telecommunications industry and technological advancements are primarily responsible for the increased growth of the market.
- The optical fibers are getting smaller and smaller to the deployment challenges being raised by end-use applications. As telecom operators started looking for high fiber count cables in reduced diameters, optical fiber, and cable manufacturers are investing in research and development to realize smaller fibers and cables. In April 2020, Prysmian becomes the first company to release a portfolio of cables that make use of optical fibers having a diameter of 180µm (micrometers). These cables will be deployed for FTTx and 5G networks.
- Moreover, in the past few years, cloud and content providers attempted to attract more users and offer reliable bandwidth-intensive services, thus, increasing the popularity of submarine infrastructure. The number of new submarine cables is set to grow by 50% in 2019, as compared to 2018 (source: TeleGeography's submarine cable map). The lifetime for submarine cable is expected to be about 25 years.
- Further, according to TeleGeography's submarine cable map, submarine cables act as the backbone of the internet. There are about 350 submarine cables spanning 1.2 million kilometers connecting very close to 100 countries. According to SubmarineNetworks.com, the world of submarine cables is transforming rapidly with data compiled by Telegeography indicating USD 8 billion investments lined up in 2019-21.
- Since the COVID-19 virus outbreak in December 2020, global impacts of the coronavirus disease 2020 (COVID-19) are already starting to be felt and will significantly affect the 5G Fiber Optic Cable market in 2020. COVID-19 can affect the global economy in three main ways: by directly affecting production and demand by creating supply chain and market disruption and by its financial impact on firms and financial markets. The largest concentration of the fiber optics supply chain can be found in Wuhan, home to Fiberhome, YOFC, and Accelink, among other companies, which together comprise 25% of the global optical fiber production capacity. During the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand was usually weak, but production usually continues at reduced levels.
- Further, before COVID-19, the amount of optical cable installed worldwide decreased from the previous year for the first time since 2002. The quantity installed in 2018 exceeded 500 million fiber-km for the first time but then decreased below 480 million in 2019. So with the pandemic and after pandemic situation, the situation may go to the worse stage in some applications.
Key Market Trends
IT and Telecom Sector is Expected to Witness Significant Growth
- Optical fiber cable (OFC) is a significant building block in the telecommunication infrastructure. Over the last decade, fiber optics are catering to aggressive bandwidth demands, especially telecommunication companies, and have become the preferred transmission medium.
- The explosion of data traffic from various sources, such as the internet, e-commerce, computer networks, and multimedia (voice, data, and video), has led to the need for a transmission medium capable of handling higher bandwidth for handling such vast amounts of information. Fiber optic cables, with comparatively infinite bandwidth, have proven to be the solution.
- Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connecting Chennai and Port Blair through video conferencing. He had laid the foundation stone for this project in 2018, at Port Blair. The submarine fiber cable connectivity will enable the delivery of faster and more reliable mobile and landline telecom services to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, on par with other parts of India.
- Enhanced telecom and Broadband connectivity will boost tourism and employment generation in the Islands, which will further give an impetus to the economy and raise standards of living. The new network will enable delivery of faster and more reliable mobile and landline telecom services to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, at par with other parts of the country.
- Moreover, owing to their security, scalability, and the unlimited bandwidth potential to handle the vast amount of backhaul traffic being generated, fiber optic cables are also being chosen to support the bandwidth levels catering to advanced technologies like 5G, Big Data, and IoT that rely heavily on real-time data collection and transfer. The launch of 5G is expected to enhance the capacity and lower latency straight to networks.
Asia-Pacific is Expected to Hold Major Market Share
- In the Asia Pacific, China dominates not only the regional market but also the global fiber optic cable market. The country has a high density of optical fiber networks and is aggressively investing in new optical fiber infrastructure.
- Increasing the adoption of fiber optics cables to transmit signals with a minimum amount of loss has been growing in the country. By the end of 2016, 80% of China's broadband connection was by fiber making country, the world leader in FTTP. By 2019, this figure reached 91%, some 396 million premises, according to the China Internet Network Information Center(CNNIC) 2019 survey.
- Moreover, the increasing demand for OFC from the IT & telecom sector, rising number of mobile devices, increasing adoption of FTTH (Fiber to the Home) connectivity, and surging number of data centers is further anticipated to fuel fiber optic cables market in India over the coming years. For instance, Cloud Companies are partnering with telecom operators to create edge datacenters. (E.g. Microsoft has tied up with Reliance Jio & Airtel has teamed up with Google Cloud in India.)
- Moreover, In October 2019, Indonesia completed final part of a 13,000 km, also known as fiber-optic network, Palapa Ring Project, which will bring high-speed internet to some of its poorest regions in the country's eastern parts. According to the government's data, the cable to carry telecommunication costs USD 540.18 million to build. All such factors are having a combined positive effect on the growth of the market
The fiber optic cable market is highly fragmented, globally, comprising market incumbents, such as Corning Inc., Leoni AG, Fujikura Ltd, and Hitachi Cable America Inc. (Hitachi Cable), accompanied by several regional firms. Since barriers to entry for new players are moderate, regional companies are witnessing value in foraying, especially into the fiber optic cable industry.
- March 2020 - The company announced the acquisition of Thunderbolt 3 certification for its new active optical cables (AOCs) from Intel Corporation, the company that established the Thunderbolt 3 standard. Sumitomo Electric developed 40 Gbps Thunderbolt 3 AOCs for high-speed transmission to meet the demand for long-distance transmission.
- March 2020 - The company announced the introduction of the industry's first pluggable optical line subsystem (POLS) platform to enable the emerging 400ZR coherent transceiver ecosystem for next-generation data center interconnects (DCIs).
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