Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Telecom Italia Readies "Superphone" and IPTV Launch

Telecom Italia and TIM announced plans to launch fixed-line to mobile video-calling and image transfer services beginning in December. Under the "fixed/mobile" packages, Telecom Italia fixed-line videophones and TIM UMTS phones can video call one another.

The companies' videophone plus UMTS phone package will be available at rates starting from EUR 199. Starting in November, the companies will also allow customers to make calls at reduced prices between their home phone and three cellphone numbers of their choice and vice versa (Teleconomy Famiglia and TIM Famiglia).


In the second phase of its convergence strategy starting in 2006, Telecom Italia plans to launch the "Superphone" -- a combination home phone and cellphone. It will use UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) technology to connect to home ADSL fixed-line networks over WiFi, and work as a GSM, GPRS or EDGE phone outside the home. Calls are charged either as fixed-line or mobile calls, depending on the environment where calls are made and the customer's price plan.


By the end of December, Telecom Italian plans to introduce IPTV over ADSL home service. The company said its IPTV trials are now almost complete and that the service is scheduled for rollout in 21 Italian cities by the end of the year.

The Group is also developing technologies to distribute this content to mobile terminals. A recent non-exclusive agreement between TIM and Mediaset has paved the way for the commercial launch in Italy - the first in the world - of digital terrestrial TV service to mobile phones implementing DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcaster Handheld) technology. Starting in 2006, TIM will offer Mediaset programmes on mobile phones at a level of quality similar to that of the digital terrestrial standard.


Telecom Italia said it plans to invest EUR 10 billion in convergence activities over the period 2005-2007, representing 17% of turnover, the highest rate among the telephone operator in Europe.

  • In July 2005, Telecom Italia launched free trials of its new IPTV service in Rome, Milan, Bologna and Palermo, and said it remains on track to launch commercial services in 21 cities across the country this autumn. The commercial service will feature live TV, including Serie A TIM and B TIM Italian football, top Italian basketball, a VOD library of 600 films plus 30 new films per month, reality shows and other special events. Initially, the IPTV service will be delivered over 4 Mbps ADSL connections on Telecom Italia's network.

  • Telecom Italia's key technology partners include:

    Alcatel, which is supplying ADSL access devices and its Open Media Suite set top box video entertainment TV distribution platform.

    Microsoft, which is providing its Microsoft TV IPTV Edition software

    Pirelli Broadband Solutions, which is supplying intelligent modular routers for home networking, including multiple high-speed Internet connections, VoIP and Wi-Fi via the set top box.

  • In December 2004, Nokia and Telecom Italia reported progress on a project to drive forward mobile and fixed network service convergence. A key target of the project is the development of VoIP and other services, such as video sharing and push-to-talk, that can be provided over both mobile and fixed networks. The Nokia IP Multimedia Subsystem core network infrastructure enables Video Sharing and other rich multimedia services.

  • Nokia is incorporating Kineto Wireless' UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) Network Controller into its network convergence solutions for wireline and wireless operators.

See also