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Qualcomm Advances Health Care Mobile Network

Reports say a CEO has been selected for LifeComm, a Qualcomm-backed mobile virtual network operator that will help doctors and patients manage health conditions.
Qualcomm's long-awaited mobile network for health care and wellness is inching closer to reality.

A new CEO has been named for LifeComm, and this unidentified CEO will begin work in September, according to a report from Wireless Week. Representatives from Qualcomm did not comment.

Announced in May 2007, LifeComm is a mobile virtual network operator that is a collaboration between Qualcomm and major players in the health care and medical device industries.

The MVNO will have specific features for health care professions, but it also will try to appeal to a broader audience with services for diabetes management, weight reduction, and heart monitoring. LifeComm is hoping to attract the market of about 70 million baby boomers who increasingly use medical services.

"Today, we primarily use our phones for communication, information gathering, and entertainment, but LifeComm wants to transform our phones into 'in-the-hand' toolsets that can help us maintain our good health or manage a condition we may already have," said Paul Hedtke, Qualcomm's lead on LifeComm, in a statement.

Even with the potentially large market, Qualcomm may have a tough time being successful with this MVNO, as recent history is littered with virtual carriers that failed to attract a sustainable subscriber base. Voce, Amp'd Mobile, ESPN Mobile, and Disney Mobile are recent examples of failed MVNOs.

Virgin Mobile has managed to be successful by targeting a younger demographic that has no or bad credit. But because the majority of its users have prepaid plans, its average revenue per user is not as high as a service with monthly rates. That's one of the reasons Virgin recently acquired MVNO Helio for $39 million.