H3G Italia and investment fund the Profit Group have together acquired Italian TV broadcaster Channel 7 for an undisclosed amount. Channel 7 holds a network licence for national TV distribution via terrestrial frequencies, including the delivery of DVB-H digital television. The deal will allow H3G to establish a DVB-H broadcast network for its mobile subscribers, including the development of interactive pay-TV services delivered via DVB-H/UMTS technology. H3G Italia hopes to launch the service in the second half of 2006.
Meanwhile, Hutchison Whampoa says that delays in obtaining approval from the Hong Kong stock exchange to list H3G Italia on the Italian bourse means it now expects the IPO of the cellco to take place in the first quarter of 2006. The deal is reportedly coming under heavier-than-expected scrutiny from the stock market watchdog, and the group has conceded that it is now unlikely to meet its original target of a listing before the end of the year.