Earlier this week, PCCW announced it had broken through the 500,000 IPTV subscriber mark sooner than expected, and duly celebrated the milestone. And as it puffed out its chest in pride, a senior executive spoke of how the carrier might export its IPTV know-how to help other providers develop their services, according to a report in the South China Morning Post. (See PCCW Plans HDTV Over DSL.)
The carrier's deputy chairman Jack So Chak-kwong told the paper that PCCW was looking to export its IPTV technology, and that it has held discussions with Spanish giant Telefónica SA.
That might seem like an unusual pairing, but the Spanish carrier indirectly holds a stake in PCCW.
How? Telefónica is about to increase its stake in China Netcom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CN; Hong Kong: 0906) from 5 percent to nearly 10 percent, and Netcom owns a 20 percent stake in PCCW. (See China Netcom Invests in PCCW and Telefónica Boosts Chinese Ties.)
And Telefónica could use some help: It is desperately trying to build up the Spanish subscriber base for Imagenio, its IPTV service, as it faces increasing pressure from cable giant Grupo Auna and aggressive broadband competitors, such as Jazztel plc, T-Online International AG, and Wanadoo SA. (See Eurobites: Access All Areas.)
PCCW could provide technology and business insight to Telefónica, especially in terms of the network stress caused by having as many as half a million customers. The Spanish operator had 123,000 IPTV customers at the end of September. (See Acquisitions Boost Telefónica in Q3.)
The challenges carriers face when deploying IPTV services are mind boggling, and become greater as subscriber numbers ramp up: Check out the upcoming Light Reading Webinar, Managing the Complexity of IPTV Deployments, to find out about some of the key issues.
PCCW is also advising Netcom, as the mainland Chinese carrier conducts its own IPTV trials. And it's not alone in forging ahead with pilot telco TV deployments: China Telecommunications Corp. (NYSE: CHA) is setting up trials in multiple regions using systems from multiple vendors. (See China Expands IPTV Coverage.)
Following news earlier this week that its kit is being used by China Telecom in the Jiangsu and Shannxi provinces, ZTE now says the carrier is deploying its IPTV technology in Guandong for a trial involving 100,000 users. (See ZTE Wins More IPTV Work.)
The services being tried out include: video on demand (VOD); broadcast TV; PVR (personal video recording), which allows the recording of programs onto a hard drive installed in the set top box; and multimedia services such as gaming and music downloads.
The slew of developments come as the region gears up for an IPTV conference in Hong Kong next week, where Broadband Network Systems Ltd. (BNS) and Streaming21 plan to show off their latest gear. (See BNS Shows Off IPTV System and Streaming21 Shows Off IPTV).
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading
For more on this topic, check out:
- The coming Light Reading Webinar:
— Managing the Complexity of IPTV Deployments
The report, IPTV: Where the Money Is, is available as part of an annual subscription (12 monthly issues) to Light Reading Insider, priced at $1,350. Individual reports are available for $900. For more information, or to subscribe, please visit: www.lightreading.com/insider.