France Telecom, now better known as Orange, is reportedly in talks with satellite operators about launching a television service. The telco, which currently offers services over its broadband and mobile networks, is among the bidders for the rights to cover French football league matches. Orange is also bidding for two national broadcast mobile television channels.
The French financial daily Les Echos reports that Orange has reserved channel carriage on both SES Astra and Eutelsat satellites.
A satellite service would complement the Orange IPTV service, previously known as MaLigne, which has a million subscribers but lacks national coverage. Orange could market a satellite service to its millions of existing mobile and broadband subscribers.
Orange is also among the bidders for two national broadcast mobile television channels in France. One of the proposed channels is Orange Sports TV, which launched last September as a streaming service.
The rights to the French football league coverage are currently held by Vivendi controlled Canal Plus. The merged TPS and CanalSat service has over four million subscribers.
Orange currently offers Canal Plus pay-television channels as part of its broadband video service. Orange says it is not its intention to compete head-on with Canal Plus. Industry observers will be watching with interest.