AT&T snaps up FLO spectrum for $2b

Qualcomm will sell the unpaired US spectrum used for FLO TV to AT&T for just under $2 billion (€1.5 billion), and confirmed it will shut the TV service in the spring.
The CDMA pioneer announced the deal for its lower 700-MHz D and E blocks yesterday, with AT&T agreeing a purchase price of $1.92 billion for the spectrum, which covers 300 million users in the US, including 70 million in 15 major cities.
AT&T will use the additional frequencies to bolster its 4G network providing additional downlink via carrier aggregation technology that enables paired and unpaired spectrum to be used together.
Rather than pursue FLO – which CEO Paul Jacobs admits has not attracted enough subscribers – Qualcomm will develop carrier aggregation chipsets and market the solution globally.
However, the firm won’t let its broadcast expertise go to waste, announcing plans to develop LTE multicast technologies capable of handling high-bandwidth content.
Jacobs said the deal is a “positive outcome,” for the firm in an e-mailed statement, adding. “Carrier aggregation, supplemental downlink and LTE multicast technologies are an exciting evolution of next generation wireless systems.”
The firm predicts the costs of closing FLO TV will be higher than the £125 million to $175 million forecast in its fiscal 4Q10 results in early November.