Gartner Dataquest’s annual survey of the telecommunications industry revealed that Ericsson’s $31.3 billion in revenue  edged out 2000’s new number two telecom equipment player, Nortel Networks, which amassed $30.0 billion in sales for the year.
As a side note, Cerent’s “relatively small” billion-dollar-plus success in optical networking during both 1999 and 2000, helped Cisco’s ascension into the Big Eight ranking, but it also likely prevented Nortel from claiming the number one spot in either of those years. Cerent, the upstart startup, by then under the Cisco umbrella, played the role of spoiler to Nortel .
Rounding out the top tier were third-place Nokia at $27.2 billion and 1999’s leader Lucent Technologies with $25.8 billion in sales. Cisco Systems ($23.9 billion) took fifth, followed by Siemens and Motorola (tied with $22.8 billion each) and Alcatel ($21.6 billion) rounding out the eighth position.
Even though 2000 was a tough year for the Big Eight, they grew revenues at an average rate of 20 percent, according to Gartner’s analyst, Dean Eyers. However, he cautioned, they should not expect 2001 to be as robust.
He was right: the telecom meltdown continued unabated and decimated both revenues and profit margins of The Big Eight in the years that followed.
 “It’s not too surprising that Ericsson is at the top of the pile, because they are the current supplier of the majority of GSM equipment,” said analyst Jake Saunders of Strategis in London, during March 2001. The GSM standard for wireless communications supported by Ericsson would soon be replaced by the Qualcomm innovation of CDMA, a technology shift that would drastically affect both Ericsson and Nokia’s position in the wireless space. However, Ericsson acquired the Qualcomm wireless patents to fuel its top line.
 Of course, this assumes that most of the revenue Cerent’s product garnered came at the expense of Nortel. This is likely. The dominance of the Cerent 454 in its OC-48 configuration directly targeted Nortel’s OC-48 business, which suffered during 1999 and 2000 with service providers such as Williams, QWEST, U S WEST and many others.