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Qualcomm’s Mobile TV Set for Nationwide Launch

SAN DIEGO: Qualcomm will permeate the mobile TV market on Friday when broadcasters free up spectrum by shutting down some 970 analog transmitters. The purveyor of MediaFLO technology--now dubbed “FLO TV”--will launch the service in 39 new markets following Friday’s DTV transition. The move expands FLO TV’s footprint by 60 million people. The additions will give FLO presence in 100 major markets with more than 200 million potential customers by the end of this year.

Fifteen new markets will go live immediately following the DTV transition June 12. Among them are Boston, Houston, Miami and San Francisco, with others following throughout the year. In addition to adding new markets, immediately upon the transition, FLO TV also will expand service in existing markets including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.

FLO TV announced a partnership with Audiovox in January, giving the latter an exclusive deal to supply in-vehicle FLO TV systems that work with existing automobile video gear. The same company was tapped to make FLO’s exclusive overhead drop-down and headrest video systems. The channel line-up includes CBS, ESPN, FOX, MTV and NBC, as well as original content.

Qualcomm cited mobile viewing data from Nielsen indicting that use grew 52 percent during the first quarter of this year. It also said that viewers who watch FLO did so for an average of more than 25 minutes per day--comparable to the average time people spend talking on cell phones, on which MediaFLO was initially deployed. AT&T is FLO’s major carrier. -- Deborah D. McAdams