Feeds

Qualcomm turns a pretty penny on FLO spectrum

AT&T throws $2bn at unwanted spectrum

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

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. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
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
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.