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DT Rival Launches IPTV

Ray Le Maistre
5/12/2006
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German competitive operator HanseNet Telekommunikation GmbH launched its IPTV service yesterday, a month before the start of the soccer World Cup, which Germany is hosting, and ahead of incumbent rival Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT).

DT has been rushing to build out its new high-speed broadband network and deploy IPTV hardware and software in the hope it could launch its service in time for the World Cup's opening game in Munich on June 9. While that deadline now looks unattainable, the giant carrier is confident it can launch a service by mid-June. (See Microsoft Wins IPTV Deal at DT.)

But HanseNet, a subsidiary of Telecom Italia (TIM) , has stolen the incumbent's thunder with Germany's first IPTV service, called Alice homeTV.

Yesterday's launch, though, is initially just in Hamburg, HanseNet's traditional stronghold, before being launched into the carrier's other 14 municipal markets.

The carrier currently has about 660,000 broadband customers, with an unknown number connected to its own DSLAMs. Deutsche Telekom currently has 6.4 million broadband customers in Germany. (See Italians Invade Germany.)

HanseNet's base service costs €9.90 ($12.70) per month in addition to price of the broadband connection (up to 25 Mbit/s using ADSL2+). The entry-level IPTV service includes 100 TV channels, while the company has lined up 600 movies for its video-on-demand service. Customers can also buy additional specialist pay-TV channels.

HanseNet has been announcing various IPTV infrastructure and support partners during the past few months, including Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) for head-end encoding, Nagravision SA for content protection and security, Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB) for set-top boxes. (See HanseNet Picks Nagravision, and HanseNet Uses Harmonic.)

Then yesterday the carrier named Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) as its chief network infrastructure supplier. The French vendor will provide access and optical equipment, integration services, and its Open Media Platform (OMP) IPTV middleware. (See HanseNet Picks Alcatel.)

Alcatel says the deal to provide its own IPTV middleware, rather than that of partner Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), is a legacy of a deal it has with Telecom Italia. The Italian incumbent is currently using the French vendor's video delivery and management system for its domestic IPTV service while it knocks Microsoft's technology into shape. (See TI Adds to IPTV Content, Alcatel, Microsoft Confirm IPTV Deal and Microsoft IPTV: Now That's Italian!.)

It's likely that both Telecom Italia and HanseNet will migrate to the Microsoft platform at some point, but no timetable has been set for that transition. (See TI Develops IPTV With Microsoft.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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