And So It Is: Qualcomm Stems FLO
SAN DIEGO, CALIF.:
Qualcom confirmed reports that it’s shuttering FLO TV. The telecom concern and
chip maker said proprietary receiver sales have been stopped, and the operation
itself is still up for sale:
“As we previously indicated in our July 2010 earnings call, we have been
examining strategic opportunities for FLO TV. We have been engaging in
conversations with a wide range of partners for both the network and the
spectrum,” Qualcomm said in a statement. “We are seeing strong interest in
using the FLO TV network or spectrum to capitalize on the growing imbalance
between mobile data supply and demand, the growth of tablets, and consumer
demand for high quality video and print content, and a richer user experience.
“While this process continues, we are suspending our direct to consumer sales
of new devices. We anticipate we will maintain the network so that current
direct to consumer subscribers will continue to receive FLO programming into
“Service provided to handsets purchased through wireless operators is
unaffected at this time. In the event of a discontinuance of service, FLO TV
will make appropriate refunds, the details of which will be communicated prior
to discontinuation. While we are working to redeploy impacted employees, we
anticipate that there will be some layoffs.”
FLO TV’s divestiture came up in last July when Qualcomm chief Paul Jacobs
mentioned the possibility during an earnings call.
FLO TV is a mobile multichannel video offering transmitted via MediaFLO, a
standard developed by Qualcomm that transmits up to 15 channels in 6 MHz.
Verizon adopted MediaFLO for its VCast service three years ago, and AT&T
also uses the transmission scheme. Neither carrier releases the number of its
cell-phone customers who subscribe to the video service.
Qualcomm began selling its own FLO TV receivers about a year ago. The first,
with a 3.5-inch screen retailed at around $250. Service started at $9 for a
three-year prepaid subscription, while Verizon was charging $10 to $15 on top
of a data plan. FLO TV subscriber numbers were not made public.
Qualcomm secured nationwide use of Ch. 55 for MediaFLO, and was still building
out the network. The company invested a reported $800 million in spectrum, equipment
and content to launch FLO TV. It had built out to around 100 markets as of last
October. -- Deborah D. McAdams
August 3, 2010: “Broadcast and WiFi
Take Wind Out of FLO TV Sales”
“A new study has found that disappointing adoption levels of existing
mobile TV services--allied to competition both from streamed mobile services
facilitated by the growing prevalence of WiFi, and from mobile reception of
free-to-air terrestrial networks--has lead to growing disillusionment within
October 7, 2009: “Qualcomm Rolls Out
Handheld Flo TV”
Qualcomm unveiled its handheld FLO TV this week, in time for the holiday
September 24, 2009: “FLO TV Device Spotted”
Techie sites across the innertubes are reporting a spotting of Qualcomm’s new
dedicated mobile TV device.
August 26, 2009: “FLO TV Mobile Device”
Tech blog maestro Peter Rojas set the tubes on fire today with a breaking story
about a new portable DTV from Qualcomm.