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Video services

Poland's Dialog Tunes in to IPTV

Polish competitive carrier Dialog Telecom SA is set to launch its IPTV service before the end of the year as it attempts to lure broadband customers away from the incumbent operator, Telekomunikacja Polska SA (TP).

Dialog (aka Telefonia Dialog) began trials of its TV-over-broadband service earlier this year and is now set to launch commercial services. It will offer IPTV, video on demand (VOD), and personal video recorder (PVR) services, along with IP telephony and high-speed Internet access in a triple-play package to be called Dialog Media.

Nokia Networks is Dialog's lead IPTV vendor, supplying its own Myrio middleware, headend equipment from Tandberg Television , content protection from Verimatrix Inc. , VOD servers from C-COR Corp. (Nasdaq: CCBL), and set-top boxes from Siemens Home and Office Communication Devices.

The operator has around 125,000 DSL customers in West and South Poland, but it's not known how many of those will be able to get the new Dialog Media service immediately. The carrier had not responded to questions as this article was published.

Dialog's move comes as incumbent TP, which is majority owned by Orange (NYSE: FTE), ramps up its own IPTV activities. The national operator, which had nearly 2 million DSL customers at the end of September (a 43 percent market share), had been offering its telco TV service in six main cities -- Warsaw, Kraków, Katowice, Poznañ, Wrocaw, and Gdañsk. While the operator hasn't announced any subscriber numbers, it is believed to have around 23,000 customers for its Videostrada service (at the end of September), which offers 35 TV channels and up to 700 VOD movies. (See IPTV Growth Gets Euro Pop.)

Now TP is taking the service to an additional 35 towns and cities, and has already made the service available in 13 of those markets. It is aiming to double its customer base during the fourth quarter, which would give it a target of 45,000 to 50,000 IPTV customers by the end of 2007. It also hopes the service, which is offered in a triple-play bundle called multipakiet, will help reduce churn and increase average household monthly revenue.

TP and Dialog aren't just battling each other –- they face triple-play competition from Multimedia Polska, which offers services over its cable and telecom networks. It recently launched a video-on-demand service in Gdynia, Kalisz, Lublin, Lódz, Olsztyn, and Toruñ, began offering high definition (HD) TV, and plans to introduce time-shift TV and interactive services as part of its ongoing 70 million Polish Zloty ($28 million) digital TV investment plan. (See Polksa Picks Tandberg TV, Minerva Powers Polish IPTV, and MM Polska Launches IPTV.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading


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