O2 promises UK IPTV service in 2008

O2 promises UK IPTV service in 2008

Operator aims to mirror success in Czech Republic

O2 is to go head-to-head with rival operator Orange with the launch of an IPTV service in the UK in 2008.

The move follows O2's launch of a similar service in the Czech Republic, which has signed up 70,000 subscribers since September 2006.

The Czech offering offers more than 50 channels including broadcasts from Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures, Paramount, Disney and HBO.

While the launch has been hailed as a success, given the size of the population and broadband penetration of just 12 per cent, many have attributed the popularity of the new service to O2's rights to broadcast ice hockey games.

O2, owned by Spanish firm Telefónica, entered the UK broadband market last year when it bought broadband operator Be.

There is no guarantee, however, that O2 will automatically repeat the success of its Czech service in the UK, where existing IPTV services such as BT Vision have struggled to gain acceptance.

Orange has also announced plans to launch an IPTV service in the UK but has experienced delays despite signing deals with Disney and MGM.