Qualcomm halts FLO TV sales

Qualcomm is considering giving up on its expensive foray into US mobile broadcasting, FLO TV, after suspending direct-to-consumer sales of compatible devices yesterday.
 
The firm says it is in talks with potential partners regarding the FLO network and the spectrum it uses, but hinted it could shutter the service completely by the spring if the discussions prove fruitless.
 
Qualcomm promised to make “appropriate refunds” to subscribers if the service is discontinued, but conceded that some staff layoffs would be inevitable.
 
However, services provided to handsets bought through operator partners AT&T and Verizon Wireless will be unaffected at this time, the firm stated.
 
FLO TV broadcasts content from the major US television networks as well as cable channels such as ESPN sports.
 
However, CEO Paul Jacobs said the service had not attracted enough subscribers, and the firm announced in July that it was exploring other options for FLO, FT.com reported.
 
The company invested around $800 million (€577 million) building its FLO network, with an estimated $683 million spent on mobile spectrum.
 
Qualcomm could recoup some of that investment by selling its infrastructure and operating license, admitting it has seen “strong interest” from firms looking to address the imbalance between mobile data supply and demand.
 
Possible applications of the FLO technology include the supply of high quality video and print content to devices such as tablets.

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