O2 to enter television market with IPTV service
Just months after O2 entered the broadband realm under its own brand, it is looking to follow the footsteps of its sister company in the Czech Republic where they already offer TV over Broadband. The Guardian has details that O2 are looking to extend the current deals with Warner Bros., HBO, and Paramount to also provide content for the UK market. Trials are expected to start next year with a potential live service by the end of 2008.
Orange was expected to launch an IPTV service this year but the Telegraph reports it will be delaying the commercial launch until 2008 as the network is not yet developed to handle a full roll-out. Orange are currently trialling the service with 350 customers in London and Leeds, and only have two announced content partners- MGM and Disney-ABC International.
Whether O2 and Orange will be able to hold up next to the other large players such as Sky and Virgin is something we shall see in time. Initially they are expected to go head to head with BT Vision, who now have over 100,000 customers (reportedly below initial targets) and Tiscali, who bought HomeChoice in August 2006 and have since seen subscribers fall from 45,000 to 36,000. With this in mind, the mobile operators could be in for turbulent times offering a TV service over Broadband where most users have a high expectancy of what content a television service should offer and low tolerance of faults.