Video software

Microsoft Adds Three for IPTV

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) says it added three new service providers to its roster of IPTV customers during January, bringing its grand total to 17 customers worldwide.

New customers Magyar Telekom plc (Hungary) and Slovak Telekom (Slovakia) are already in commercial deployment -- so those operators are selling real IPTV service to real customers for real money. "These are early deployments; they just took place within the last few months," Microsoft TV spokesman Jim Brady says.

Both Magyar and Slovak are majority owned by Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), also a Microsoft TV customer. (See Alcatel-Lucent Partners DT.)

Beijing Netcom, a subsidiary of China Netcom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CN; Hong Kong: 0906), is currently trialing IPTV service with a limited number of subscribers in Beijing. "They’ve launched trial services in the last couple of months and we expect them to launch their commercial deployment in 2007," Brady says.

Microsoft says it has commercial agreements with all three new customers. All three were introduced to Microsoft by its IPTV partner Alcatel, with whom each operator had a pre-existing relationship, Brady says. (See 2006 Top Ten: Big IPTV Moments.)

Microsoft and Alcatel have won numerous large carrier deals together -- in fact have dominated the IPTV market so far -- with Microsoft providing the software and Alcatel providing the network infrastructure and integration.

Brady says Microsoft TV now has 17 customers in 15 countries, including DT, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), and T-Online International AG .

Magyar Telekom Group is the largest service provider in Hungary. It became a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom when DT bought out SBC's 50 percent stake in the operator in 2000. The group consists of three divisions: T-Com (wireline services), T-Systems (business services), and T-Mobile (mobile services).

Slovak Telekom is marketing its new "Magio" triple-play offering, of which Microsoft-powered IPTV is now a part. Beijing Netcom is already selling VOIP and data and mobile services to subscribers in Beijing via an optical network built by Alcatel. IPTV will be added to that menu of services with the successful conclusion of the trial. (See China to Become Biggest B'band Market.)

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

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