Video services

French Carriers Ramp Up IPTV Subs

Orange (NYSE: FTE) and domestic rivals Neuf Cegetel Group (Euronext: NEUF) and Iliad (Euronext: ILD) all reported significant leaps in their IPTV subscriber numbers during the final months of 2007, cementing their positions as three of the world's leading telco TV service providers. (See French Dominate IPTV Top Ten.)

Reporting its fourth-quarter and full-year results, France Telecom noted that it had 1,149,000 IPTV customers in France at the end of 2007, up 174,000 from the 975,000 it had at the end of the third quarter. In breaking the 1 million barrier, FT looks certain to retain second place in our global ranking of IPTV players. (See FT Reports 2007 and Top Ten: IPTV Carriers.)

The national carrier had 7.3 million DSL customers at the end of last year (about 48 percent broadband market share), giving it an IPTV penetration rate of nearly 16 percent, up from 14.1 percent at the end of September 2007. Of those 7.3 million domestic broadband subscribers, 5.2 million have a Livebox home gateway, while 4.1 million are signed up to use the operator's VOIP services.

FT also has a further 94,000 IPTV subscribers in other markets, including about 40,000 in Poland.

Neuf, meanwhile, ended the year with 750,000 IPTV customers, up from 600,000 at the end of June 2007. It reported 3.22 million DSL customers, giving it a 21 percent broadband market share and an IPTV penetration rate of 23.3 percent. That's up from 19.2 percent at the end of June. (See Neuf Reports 4Q07.)

But both FT and Neuf have some way to go before they can catch Iliad, which reported preliminary 2007 results Monday morning. (See Iliad Reports 2007.)

The alternative French operator, which trades under the brand Free , ended last year with 2.9 million broadband customers, of which 81.5 percent are connected to unbundled lines that deliver real-time TV services.

That means Iliad has 2.36 million customers paying for an IPTV service as part of its triple-play package, up from 2.17 million at the end of September 2007.

Light Reading will update the Top Ten: IPTV Carriers report once all the main carriers have reported their end-of-year 2007 results.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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