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.