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IPTV Top Ten Honorable MentionsIPTV Top Ten Honorable Mentions

A look at five carriers who could crack the Top Ten IPTV Carriers list before year's end

Raymond McConville

January 18, 2008

3 Min Read
IPTV Top Ten Honorable Mentions

Leaders in Light Reading's recent Top Ten: IPTV Carriers should be firmly entrenched for a while, but the bottom of the list is already showing potential for some changes.

Many carriers barely missed that 10th rung. Some simply had too few subscribers. Others are not officially reporting their subscriber data yet, and still others are not offering true IPTV services... yet.

Here's a look at some that missed the cut and could very well be featured in our future top ten lists.

China Netcom
China Netcom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CN; Hong Kong: 0906) belongs in the top ten already, it turns out. We've finally confirmed with the carrier that at the end of November 2007, it had around 300,000 subscribers, which is good enough for eighth place and good enough to knock Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB) out.

With only 126,000 subscribers as of its last earnings report, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) missed the top ten by about 50,000 customers. But AT&T said at the time that it was on schedule to reach its goal of installing 10,000 new U-verse customers per week by the end of 2007. (See U-verse Picks Up the Pace.) That suggests AT&T will claim 220,000 to 240,000 subscribers when it reports its earnings next week.

But recent comments by AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson imply that Ma Bell may have had some unforeseen setbacks. (See Whoa Mama Bell!) The sagging U.S. economy is having an effect on AT&T's business and we could see some of that slowing show up in its IPTV numbers.

Either way, with China-Netcom as a top ten heir apparent and Telia Company and Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB) already approaching the mid 200,000 subscriber range, AT&T likely won't crack the top ten with our next update. And that means we still won't have a North American representative or a Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) middleware representative on the list.

Bell Canada
Since the service is still very young, don't expect BCE Inc. (Bell Canada) (NYSE/Toronto: BCE) in the next top ten. It is still trialing the service, which uses Microsoft middleware, in a few customers' and employees' homes. No official statistics on the service are available yet.

But Canadians have shown that they like buying video services from their country's incumbent carrier. Around 2 million already purchase satellite service from the company, so it already has a huge subscriber base to try to convert to IPTV when it becomes more widely available.

Like China-Netcom, we suspect that the Japanese carrier already deserves a spot in the top ten. But with no official subscriber number confirmed, SoftBank Corp. remains on the outside looking in.

Softbank has been working on IPTV for a long time with middleware partner UTStarcom Inc. (Nasdaq: UTSI), and the service is widely available throughout Japan. (See Softbank Focuses on UTStarcom's mVision.) We suspect it has at least the 250,000 or so subscribers that likely will be required to crack the next top ten.

Deutsche Telekom
The German incumbent had planned on signing up 200,000 IPTV customers by the end of 2007. Those are top ten list numbers right there. But while Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has not given an official update on its IPTV progress, speculation is that it's lagging. (See DT Cuts Its IPTV Price.) Even so, DT was scheduled to complete an access network upgrade by the end of 2007 that will make IPTV available to 17 million customers.

If the service catches on, it will be a further shift in the balance of IPTV power towards Europe and will place a Microsoft middleware customer on the list.

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

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