Deutsche Telekom’s French Internet arm, Club Internet, will this month become the first in Europe to offer an Internet-based television and video-on-demand service using Microsoft’s TV software.
The software giant’s TV software package, which was commercially launched in the United States in September, is a key plank of the group’s strategy to diversify into telecoms, media and the home-networking market.
Existing customers at Club Internet will be able to start using Microsoft’s TV software at the end of the month while new customers will wait until August.
The U.S. software provider expects to launch its TV software commercially with Deutsche Telekom in Germany starting this summer and BT Group in Britain later this year.
Partners worldwide using its software now total 15 and include Telecom Italia and Swisscom.
Club Internet had 500,000 high-speed Internet customers by early June, placing it behind rivals Orange, Iliad and Neuf Cegetel in France.
The Microsoft press release has more details on the deal, but financial terms were not disclosed. We’ve mentioned the Deutsche Telekom deal previously and also how, after many lean years, Microsoft’s TV effort looks like it is beginning to pay off.
Deutsche Telekom AG has reached agreement with Microsoft Corp. on an alliance to deliver Internet Protocol television (IPTV) services to consumers across Germany. The contract will enable Deutsche Telekom Group to deliver next-generation television, as well as complementary interactive services and a range of entertainment products over its VDSL broadband networks. Deutsche Telekom will use the Microsoft TV® IPTV Edition software platform to offer these services. Microsoft will support Deutsche Telekom with joint marketing, in addition to marketing by Deutsche Telekom, to help develop IPTV in Germany. The agreement reached with Deutsche Telekom is Microsoft’s largest IPTV contract in Europe to date and its second largest worldwide.
IPTV services will be delivered through the new VDSL network, which is currently being extended by T-Com. This network is expected to permit bandwidth of up to 50 Mbit/s and is planned for launch starting mid-2006 in 10 major German cities including Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Munich.
More form Lucas van Grinsven at Reuters:
The move marks the biggest European contract Microsoft TV has signed, and the second largest after one with AT&T in the United States, the world’s largest software maker said.
“It is a very large deal for us and brings the overall number of contracts to 13,” said Microsoft TV’s marketing manager Christine Heckart.
Both firms declined to give financial details, but the “T-Home” television service offering is at the heart of a 3 billion euro ($3.7 billion) network upgrade which Deutsche Telekom hopes to bring to 50 German cities by the end of next year.
“We forecast 1 million customers by the end of 2007. The main feature (of the new network) will be television and video services,” said Deutsche Telekom spokesman Mark Nierwetberg.
And that’s the crux of all the deals so far – they’re pilot tests of varying sizes with high hopes of some day taking off to general availability.