The mobile subscription-based TV service will end in March and Qualcomm is reported to be shopping the spectrum used for the service to carriers.

W. David Gardner, Contributor

December 10, 2010

2 Min Read

Qualcomm hammered a final coffin nail in its FLO TV service Friday, indicating it will close the mobile TV service and offer refunds to customers who bought the subscription-based broadcast TV service.

The handheld FLO TV Personal Television device was offered by retailers for $250, but consumers seemed to balk at the live programming fare transmitted to the mobile devices. Consumers have generally favored on-demand TV.

Last month, Qualcomm said it was evaluating options for FLO TV including operating the network under a new wholesale service, forging a joint venture with a third party, or selling the 700 MHz spectrum used for the service. The spectrum is valuable and there have been reports that Qualcomm has been attempting to sell it to carriers. Qualcomm paid nearly $700 million for its spectrum allocation.

The 3-inch by 4.4-inch by 0.5-inch devices got high marks from users for its 5-ounce weight and the oleophobic glass lens for its 3.5-inch QVGA display.

The refunds are for the battery-powered TV set, a portable DVD player/TV, and an in-car entertainment system. Qualcomm said the rebate price will be determined by the retail price of the device on date of activation. For devices that were never activated, Qualcomm said proof of purchase is required.

Earlier, Qualcomm said the wind down of FLO TV would likely reduce earnings by between $125 million and $175 million. FLO TV had been championed by Qualcomm chief executive officer Paul Jacobs, who saw the service as a way for Qualcomm to diversify. The service is scheduled to go dark March 27.


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