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Telefónica Tears It Up

Ray Le Maistre

8:00 AM -- Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) has had a busy week.

First it announced it is buying a 21 percent stake in Digital +, the satellite TV operation of Spanish media giant Promotora De Informaciones (Prisa), for €470 million (US$700 million). It also signed a "Framework Collaboration Agreement" with Prisa to "potential co-operation fields regarding audiovisual development, and other services of both companies, in Spain."

The move strengthens Telefónica's position in the Spanish pay TV market. Of the total market of just more than 4 million, Digital + has about 1.9 million customers, while the Spanish carrier has more than 654,000 IPTV customers. The other main Pay TV player in Spain is cable operator ONO , which has about 1 million TV subscribers.

Telefónica plans to boost its IPTV position further, and expand its service potential, with the roll out of fiber-to-the-home broadband connections. (See Spain Set for FTTH Surge.)

But the carrier isn't happy with some new rules set out by Spanish regulator Comisión del Mercado de las Telecomunicaciones (CMT) about the use of its fiber ducts and exchange points by rival operators. According to Reuters, Telefónica, which is already obliged to offer wholesale fiber access services to competitive service providers, plans to appeal.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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