O2 to Launch Internet TV in UK

After a successful trial in the Czech market, O2 are planning to launch an internet based TV service in 2008. The TV service will accessible via some 3g mobile phones but it will be predominately used by computer-based users. The Czech service offers over 50 channels with content from leading producers including: Disney, Sony, Warner Bros and HBO, the producer of The Sopranos.

Before launching in the UK, O2 decided to trial the TV service the Czech market. The trial was judged to be successful when it attracted over 70k customers. The Chief Executive of O2 Czech, Salvadore Anglada, said:

“The company is moving toward full service convergence, whereby customers can pay a flat-rate tariff to watch live ice hockey games, the most popular sport in the country, on whatever technology suits them best at the time, whether that is by a mobile phone, normal TV or over the internet.”

It has been expected that 02 would launch an internet based TV after they brought the high-speed broadband provider “Be” a couple of years ago. Be broadband is thought to be the fastest network in the UK, this capability makes it perfect for carrying computer based TV services.

No one is expecting the UK to be as easy at the Czech market to crack. Czech customers are hungry to source broadband, mobile and pay TV services from the one supplier, whereas this type of service hasn’t be welcomed by UK customers. Virgin Media’s quad-play has been disappointing, as has the take-up of BT Vision.

In addition, Orange is currently trial their version of internet TV with over 300,000 paying customers in London and Leeds. If successful, Orange plan to roll out the service nationally in the first half of 2008. The pay TV market is certain set to become a whole lot more competitive with Sky, Virgin, Tiscali, BT, and now Orange and O2 all battling for customers. Hopefully, this extra competition will bring down the prices for customers.

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