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India’s Reliance signs contract with Microsoft for internet TV

India’s Reliance Infocomm and global software major Microsoft have signed a contract worth 19.7 billion rupees (about $500 million) to launch Internet protocol-based television services in India, it was announced Monday.

Reliance Communications chairman Anil Ambani and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made the joint announcement at a ceremony in India’s financial hub Mumbai, IANS news agency reported. Reliance Infocomm is a wing of Ambani’s Reliance Communications. The partnership would enable Reliance Infocomm to deliver an interactive, personal and hi-tech television experience to consumers using the Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV software platform.

Reliance would initially launch the IPTV services in New Delhi and Mumbai, followed by the other metros, Ambani said. “Reliance will enjoy exclusive deployment rights for the Microsoft platform in India,” Ambani added. Ambani said Reliance was planning to launch direct-to-home services in India in the next few months and Microsoft would power the service through a sophisticated fibre optic network.

“Reliance is about to change the way consumers experience television,” Ballmer said. “By connecting the TV to an intelligent two-way network and adding powerful software, personalized experiences will become possible here in India,” he said. The contract between the two players is estimated at $500 million. Reliance Communications is prepared to spend another $500 million over the next few years depending on the response of consumers.

Reliance Communications and Microsoft also plan to cooperate on rural broadband, mobile telephony, gaming and entertainment in the Indian market. (m&c.com)