March 21, 2006 3:00 AM PST
Microsoft, Deutsche Telekom finalize IPTV deal
Several carriers throughout the world have been testing Microsoft's IPTV software for more than a year, and now many of those tests are turning into commercial deployments. The Deutsche Telekom agreement is the largest contract Microsoft has signed in Europe, said Christine Heckart, general manager for marketing at Microsoft.
The agreement is also the second-largest Internet Protocol television deal in the world, behind Microsoft's deal with AT&T, which is currently testing the service with a select group of residents in San Antonio, Texas. AT&T is planning a wider deployment for later this year.
"There were a lot of rumors that this deal would go a different way," said Heckart, alluding to the fact that Siemens, which is headquartered in Germany and is an important equipment supplier to Deutsche Telekom, offers a competing IPTV solution. "This deal and the others we have announced recently validate our technology and show the momentum we are getting in this market."
Including Deutsche Telekom, Microsoft has announced that 13 broadband service providers will use its IPTV Edition software. Just last week, it announced that Telecom Italia signed on as a customer. Other announced customers include T-Online France, British Telecommunications, Swisscom and Verizon. Three companies--BellSouth, Bell Canada and Reliance Infocomm--are still testing the software, Microsoft said.
Deutsche Telekom's IPTV service will ride over the carrier's newly built VDSL (very-high-bit-rate DSL) broadband network. The phone company plans to offer the service by midyear in 10 German cities including Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Munich.