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Qualcomm builds video network

US to enjoy multi-media content

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Qualcomm is to spend $800m building a nationwide US network to serve multi-media content to mobile phone users.

The idea is that they will hire out capacity to mobile operators who will use the network to send audio and video content to subscribers without clogging up their own networks. It will also give TV stations and cable channels access to the mobile market. The shared resource would provide a cheaper way into the mobile data and media market than operators upgrading their own individual networks.

The network, due to launch in 2006, will support 50-100 content channels including up to 15 live streaming channels using the 700MHz spectrum which Qualcomm licensed last year. The firm is talking to mobile operators, media companies and handset manufacturers. Verizon told Reuters it would look at the technology.

The company claims its technology gives it an advantage: "Deploying high-power transmitters on tall towers provides superior coverage with 30 to 50 times fewer towers than cellular and higher frequency-based system."

Qualcomm is setting up a subsidiary company called MediaFLO to run the network which it will later spin off. The chipmaker is still considering whether it will bring in other investors.

More details available from Reuters here ®

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