The FLO service is at present operating using just one or two channels ( UHF channels 54/55) across the United states, in the markets where it is available. By all accounts it is a very successful service. It is designed for mobile devices and is not an adaptation of a large screen technology to “also” serve mobile devices. It provides nearly 20 video channels in a 6 MHz spectrum slot, which is way beyond its competitors. ‘
The question is that why such an efficient service is not being used across more spectrum slots, delivering more channels? One reason is that the spectrum in UHF is very tightly held by TV stations. However that is not entirely true. The last dividend auction has resulted in many players getting UHF spectrum. One would imagine that with such an efficient spectrum use more users would be attracted.
One plausible reason is that the digital dividend spectrum is largely held by AT&T and Verizon, both with deep pockets. However is not interesting that it is these very players which are providing the FLO TV services under the VCAST and AT&T mobile TV brands? The same players wish to retain the spectrum for future services. It is also interesting that FLO has now started the direct to consumer initiative, which puts a question on the present sellers of the service, AT&T and Verizon. Is it because FLO will use all carriers? AT&T has a history of walled gardens—the iPhone is an example. What future does FLO has on iPhones? Is the conflict of interest of 3G carriers such as AT&T and Verizon in data revenues too high with FLO? Why would they let the streaming revenues go away for the FLO services of $8.99 a month? What would be their approach to ATSC M/H services?
It will be interesting to watch these developments.