Feeds

Qualcomm turns a pretty penny on FLO spectrum

AT&T throws $2bn at unwanted spectrum

Seven Steps to Software Security

AT&T has paid almost $2bn for the frequencies Qualcomm has been using to broadcast its MediaFLO service.

Qualcomm paid $683m for the two 6MHz bands, which used to carry analogue TV transmissions and cover 300 million people. For the last few years Qualcomm has been broadcasting TV-to-mobiles under the MediaFLO brand. Unfortunately no-one has been watching so now AT&T has offered $1.93bn with a view to supplementing its LTE download speeds.

MediaFLO is Qualcomm's proprietary technology for broadcasting TV to mobile phones, but despite being technically as capable as the competition it failed because no-one wants to watch broadcast TV on their phones - streamed TV on the move is a big hit, but broadcast TV is unwanted and unloved.

MediaFLO was one of the most successful, but only because Qualcomm poured money into it in the unswerving belief that if they built it we would watch. While other technology companies tried to sell their TV broadcasting to existing network operators, Qualcomm bought the spectrum, built the network, and then let mobile network operators (including AT&T) sell the service under their own brands. But even then no-one wanted to watch, and the service will finally shut down in March.

That investment is certainly more than the billion dollars or so that Qualcomm is making on the radio spectrum, so the project can't be considered profitable though the development of MediaFLO did lead to bundles of patents that might yet prove valuable.

DailyWireless has a list of some of the other technologies that tried to provide broadcast TV, though not exhaustive it does demonstrate how many companies believed they could compete with a YouTube stream. But it could have been worse - Europe nearly reserved an entire frequency for the service despite no-one wanting it.

AT&T will be using the spectrum - a pair of channels starting at 722MHz - to supplement its LTE download speeds, using a bonding protocol that's currently under development (scheduled for the next 3GPP version, Release 10). Ideal for delivering those YouTube streams that so effectively undermined the market for MediaFLO and its competitors. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.