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Telecom-delivered TV subscriptions to triple by '12

Worldwide subscriptions are expected to grow threefold, despite a challenging economy, as telecoms increasingly compete with cable and satellite, according to a new report.

Worldwide subscriptions to telecom-delivered TV are expected to grow threefold by 2012, according to a report released Monday.

Despite the dire economic climate, the number of such subscriptions is expected to reach 71.6 million by that time, according to market researcher In-Stat's report.

Telecom-delivered TV--offered in the United States by AT&T and Verizon Communications--includes IPTV, which is television delivered via Internet Protocol. Elsewhere in the world, France Telecom, Telefonica, Deutsche Telecom, and China Telecom are jumping aboard.

The telecommunications providers are trying to take on the giants of TV service--satellite and cable.

Key markets over the next few years include Brazil, Korea, and India due to recent regulatory changes that create more favorable conditions for the technology, In-Stat said.

"A number of new countries, including places as varied as Montenegro, Jordan, and Ghana, saw the launch of their first commercial IPTV offerings in 2008," Michelle Abraham, In-State analyst, said in a statement. "Only a few markets, like Japan and Argentina, remain hamstrung by restrictions that hinder incumbent operators."

The In-Stat report is another indicator of the growth expected in IPTV, with ABI Research anticipating similar increases in telecom TV subscribers.

In-Stat's report also notes the continuing trend toward convergence, such as the ability to control set-top boxes from PCs and mobile phones.