Mobile Video

What to Do About FLO TV?

10:00 AM -- Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) shut down its direct-to-consumer FLO TV Inc. business in October, but that didn’t solve the larger problem of what to do with the service and the dedicated spectrum it owns to support it. (See Rumor: Qualcomm to Shut FLO TV .)

On Qualcomm's fourth-quarter earnings call, CEO Paul Jacobs said the company was commencing a restructuring plan to exit the FLO TV service business and he suggested a few options:

"Possibilities range from a new wholesale model, sale or joint venture with the third-party and/or sale of the spectrum licenses and discontinuance of the operation of the network," he said on the call. (See Qualcomm Posts Q4.)

Jacobs has made it clear in the past that Qualcomm never wanted to be the service provider of FLO TV, just the technology backbone. But, it's not likely that anyone wants to assume the service-provider role for reasons we've outlined in the past. (See Qualcomm Open to Selling FLO TV Unit, TelcoTV's Smaller Screen, and CTIA Update: Day 1 at CTIA E&A.)

For that reason, Qualcomm's best bet may be to get out of the mobile TV biz entirely.

CFO William Keitel admitted it will incur restructuring charges of up to $175 million in fiscal 2011 to reduce ongoing expenses associated with the restructuring plan, and selling its valuable 700MHz spectrum may be the only way to recoup the hefty fees FLO TV's costing the company.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

Gabriel Brown 12/5/2012 | 4:19:11 PM
re: What to Do About FLO TV?

Sell it to Phil Harvey? He was enamoured with Flo TV at one point, IIRC. He could attach an outboard motor and get it moving.

kumaramitabh 12/5/2012 | 4:19:04 PM
re: What to Do About FLO TV?

While FLO TV in itself is a good technology, it will not be easy to sell this business.

The fact that most popular mobile devices will not support a FLO tuner is indeed the factor why FLO TV needs to close shop. However it does not really affect AT&T and Verizon, the two providers as they already have streaming mobile tV ( both as OTT and over 3G) to replace FLO TV.

However we may be missing a point here. The largest change in Mobile Video in 2011 is going to be TV over the internet. This is  enabled by three technologies, all of which have an origin in 2010- the Apple HLS ( now part of iOS3.0), Microsoft Silverlight ( Windows 7.0 mobile) and Google WebM streaming( Android). These can deliver streaming video effectively to all mobile devices without any other proprietary software or need for operator subscriptions. All these will have a major impact on the Mobile TV models such as those of MobiTV.



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