Iraqi telco signs US$25mn IPTV agreement with PCCW

Iraqi telco Kalimat Telecom has signed an agreement worth US$ 25mn with Hong Kong-based operator PCCW to form a 50/50 joint venture for the launch of IPTV and mobile TV services in Iraq and Kuwait, according to reports in CommsMEA.

Under the agreement, Kalimat will provide the network and carrier services, while PCCW will run the operations and provide the content. The service is expected to offer a wide choice of channels, video-on-demand and music-on-demand to Kalimat Telecom subscribers, and will go live in the fourth quarter of this year or early 2010, according to Wilson Varghese, CEO of Kalimat Telecom.

"Iraq now depends mostly on satellite channels so we thought this would be a good jump to a very professional IPTV service, with a wider choice for customers in their living rooms and on their mobile devices," said Mr Varghese. "We are looking for 600,000 subscribers after two years of operations."

PCCW remains one of the world's most successful IPTV operators, reporting nearly 930,000 subscribers for its IPTV service 'Now TV' at the end of 2008, and is now the biggest pay-TV operator in Hong Kong, recently wresting pole position from cable rival iCable.

We will be conducting a video interview with PCCW's CTO Paul Berriman at next week's IPTV World Forum in London, to be posted here shortly.