The future of Qualcomm’s FLO TV mobile television service – and its UK held spectrum – hangs in the balance after the company confirmed it was in active discussions to sell its MediaFLO business.
FLO TV was launched in the United States in 2006 and is available on networks operated by Verizon and AT&T. In May 2008 Qualcomm UK Spectrum Ltd was awarded spectrum in the L-band (1452-1492) for a licence fee of £8,334,000 in a spectrum auction conducted by the regulator Ofcom.
“With respect to our FLO TV business, we’re engaged in discussions with a number of partners regarding the future direction of the business,” said Paul Jacobs, president and CEO of Qualcomm, told an analyst call. “We’re considering a number of alternatives and we will update you as appropriate.”
Jacobs said Qualcomm was engaged in discussions with a variety of companies and was pleased with the response that had been received so far. Although there is no firm timetable in place it is expected that a sale could be concluded in the next 12 months.
Like its European rival, DVB-H, MediaFLO uses a broadcast network, with Qualcomm buying up spectrum across the US in order to get its service off the ground. But there was little availability of FLO-enabled handsets as the iPhone and Blackberry gained ground at the higher end of the market.
Recentl, Qualcomm has changed its strategy, suggesting that its network could instead be used for the electronic delivery of newspapers and magazines, rather than the broadcast networks currently carried in the US.
Qualcomm has previously conducted UK tests in Cambridge and Manchester.