Qualcomm pulls plug on FLO TV

Dylan Bushell-Embling
07 Oct 2010

Qualcomm is considering calling off its US mobile TV service FLO after suspending direct sales.

The firm is in talks with US carriers and others on the possible sale of the FLO network and spectrum and has hinted it could shutter the service completely.

Qualcomm promised to make “appropriate refunds” to subscribers if the service is discontinued, but said some staff layoffs would be inevitable.

Services provided to handsets bought through AT&T and Verizon Wireless would be unaffected at this time, the firm said.

FLO TV broadcasts content from the major US television networks and cable channels, using spectrum in the 716-722 MHz range.

CEO Paul Jacobs said the service had not attracted enough subscribers, and the firm announced in July that it was exploring other options for FLO, FT.com reported.

The company invested around $800 million building the FLO network, with an estimated $683 million spent on spectrum.

The ambitious FLO network was one of many attempts to kick-start mobile TV in the last five years.

It was intended as a showcase for Qualcomm’s MediaFLO system. MediaFLO runs in spectrum between 450MHz and 2GHz and is one of many rival mobile TV technologies, including the European DVB-H, Korea’s TDMB and China’s CMMB.

Media FLO has had limited success in Asia. Qualcomm has run some trials and announced an MoU with Taiwan’s FarEasTone in July, but has not secured any commercial deals in the region.

MORE ARTICLES ON: AT&T, ESPN, FLO TV, MediaFLO, mobile TV, Qualcomm, US, Verizon Wireless

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