Reliance Com. to join hands with Microsoft to launch IPTV services

Reliance Communications chairman Anil Ambani is now joining hands with Microsoft's mentor Bill Gates for rolling out Internet protocol television (IPTV) services in the country in association with Microsoft, world's largest software firm. R Com has reportedly planned to tie up with Microsoft for several technological collaborations, including IPTV software, WiMAX and a software development toolkit for the Internet, the personal computer and mobile phones.

According to the report, Reliance Communications is likely to introduce IPTV by the end of 2007 by the technological support of Microsoft. The companies have been working on the project since 2003. The report says further that Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, is likely to arrive in India on November 5 and during his presence both the firms would finalize the blueprint for the cooperation. Steve Ballmer and Anil Ambani are expected to make a joint announcement on Monday about this collaboration.

This is being said that one million Indians would start using the IPTV services by 2011. With the help of this service, the IPTV subscriber would be able to enjoy two-way interactive communication. The IPTV service would allows them to watch TV at the same time when using the telephone line and broadband Internet connection.

State-owned firms such as BSNL and MTNL have already announced the plan to launch IPTV services soon. BSNL has been launched its IPTV service in Pune but it has only 400 subscribers using the service. MTNL has also managed more than 1,000 IPTV subscribers till now. Among the private telecom players, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular, apart from RCom, have also announced to launch the IPTV plans soon.

Earlier, Flag Telecom, that is RCom's undersea cable subsidiary, had signed a 3-year agreement with US-based GlassHouse Technologies to for fully managed remote storage services to enable IP connectivity infrastructure of 165,000 km optic fibre cable.

Further, RCom has also planned to reduce mobile charges by a 33% by launching its pan-India GSM (global system for mobile communications) telecom services in the country.

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