China nudges telcos away from pay-TV play; gives cablecos nod for voice and data trials

There's no doubt that the telecom market in China is hot and that it's likely to be a major driver in the vendor segment for many years, after all, it's the world's largest telecom market by population and, soon, will likely be the world's largest by revenue. But a story from TelecomAsia spells trouble for telcos looking to make a move in the IPTV sector there.

Three-network convergence trials--bringing cable, telecom and Internet-together--have been a hot-button for a decade in China, and the country has decreed full convergence by 2015. It appears the powers that be are planning to give cablecos the inside edge, allowing them to offer trial voice and data services in Beijing, Shanghai, Harbin, Shenzhen, Dalian, Wuhan, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Qingdao, Xiamen, Mianyang and the Changsha-Zhuzhou district in Hunan.

Telcos will not, in return, be allowed to offer IPTV service trials. It's not the first note that telcos wouldn't necessarily be the heavy movers in the pay-TV space in China. In February, for example, the Chinese government shut down the service of IPTV operator Guangxi Telecom, a unit of China Telecom, for not having a broadcast license.

The service launched only recently and had been growing rapidly, according to media reports. At least four licenses from three different government groups are necessary to operate an IPTV offering in China.

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