Crown Castle Leasing Modeo Spectrum for $13 Million Per Year

Remember Modeo, the service that was to compete with Qualcomm's MediaFLO in delivering TV to cell phones? Monday, Modeo's Web site pointed to a Crown Castle International Corp. news release saying Crown Castle had leased the 5 MHz of spectrum it was using for Modeo to a venture formed by Telcom Ventures LLC and Columbia Capital LLC for $13 million per year. Crown Castle said it expects to write-off "all or substantially all of its Modeo assets, other than its spectrum" in Q3 2007.

The spectrum, 1670-1675 MHz nationwide, was acquired by Crown Castle in an FCC auction. This spectrum, along with TV Channel 55, acquired by Qualcomm in auction, was viewed as the core spectrum for TV-to-cell phone transmission. Crown Castle recently received FCC approval to use higher power in rural areas.

If the lessees are able to convince electronics manufacturers to build receivers for this band, or convince cell phone companies it is the way to add video their cell phones, this could be a very good deal for them--a right to transmit as many services as you can in 5 MHz to all the communities you want to throughout the United States! On the other hand, if the cell phone companies and consumer electronics manufacturers don't offer equipment to receive the 1670-1675 MHz transmissions, it will be like a having a nationwide chain movie theaters with no way to get to them!