MILAN -(Dow Jones)- Telecom Italia SpA said Thursday it will launch its first combined fixed line-mobile handset in 2006 along with other new services.
The new services are the result of an integration plan Italy's leading telecommunication operator developed after the buyout of minority interests in its mobile unit, Telecom Italia Mobile, concluded at the beginning of the year.
The Milan-based company said the offers are the result of the group's investments in innovation, which will amount to EUR10 billion in the period 2005-2007 or 70% of total investment.
UK's BT Group PLC was the first European company to launch an integrated fixed line-mobile handset this year, called BT fusion. It is a mobile phone that automatically switches from mobile to landline when the user is at home. Germany's Deutsche Telekom announced the launch of a similar product for next year.
From December, Telecom Italia fixed-line videophones and TIM third generation cellular phones can video call one another, the company said.
Telecom Italia said in November it will introduce its new fixed-mobile tariffs which will allow the customer to benefit from the most convenient tariff, while maintaining two separate bills (Telecom Italia and TIM).
Telecom Italia said also that trials of its TV over Internet protocol (IPTV) are almost complete and it will roll out the service in 21 Italian cities by the end of the year.
The group is also developing technologies to distribute TV content to mobile terminals, which will be commercialized in 2006.
Telecom Italia's mobile unit recently reached a non-exclusive agreement with Italy's biggest commercial broadcaster Mediaset SpA for the Italian launch of digital terrestrial TV service to mobile phones on DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcaster Handheld) technology.
The deal is currently under review by the Italian communication authority.
Telecom Italia shares Thursday closed down 4.8% at EUR2.34 in a negative market.
-By Serena Saitto, Dow Jones Newswires; +390258219907, firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires"
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