The optical network gear market slumped 14% in 2009, but began to recover in the fourth quarter, managing 5% sequential growth, according to research firm Infonetics.
Asia-Pacific was the only region in the world to post annual growth, but even this region only managed around a 5% increase.
By contrast, EMEA and North America recorded healthy growth in the fourth quarter - with the EMEA market growing by around 25% - while the APAC region slumped 15%.
Infonetics analyst Andrew Schmitt said he expects the EMEA and North American markets to continue to grow into 2010, helping the industry return to around 6-8% annual growth.
“But even if the market posts 15% gains in 2010, it would still be short of the 2007–2008 spending levels in [these markets],” he said.
“The Asia Pacific region is tougher to project because it is very hard to tell which growth is organic and which is liquidity-driven synthetic spending.”
Huawei was the top-selling optical network hardware vendor in 2009, but on a quarterly basis was beaten by Alcatel-Lucent in Q4, he added.
The only vendors besides Huawei to have increased optical market share in 2009 were those focusing on the optical edge, such as Fujitsu, Adtran and ADVA. Spending on 40G equipment meanwhile continued the decline it began in 3Q09.