China Telecom tightens rules for STB tender

Beijing-based firm Marbridge Consulting is reporting that China Telecom has introduced a new rule for its current IPTV set-top box tender stating that vendors who submit bids priced below cost must provide “sufficient explanation” for doing so, or risk being ejected.

The tender is reported elsewhere by the same firm as involving 4.86mn units, including a small number of so-called “smart” IPTV STBs, and is expected to conclude in June 2013.

Informa Telecoms & Media (publisher of IP&TV News) estimates that China had reached nearly 12mn IPTV subscribers by the end of 2011, up from 7.8mn one year earlier, although only 1.8mn are estimated to take IPTV as their primary TV service.

This IPTV subscriber base is distributed among media companies like Shanghai Media Group (SMG) and China Central Television International, as telcos are not allowed to operate within the content-broadcast sector, and thus must partner with media companies to deliver IPTV.

A report from CCID Consulting, the largest such firm in the country, has just predicted that the next few years will be a critical period for the development of digital TV services in China, as the so-called ‘three-networks’ project involving the convergence of the cable, telecoms and Internet industries gets into gear.

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