In World Cup Broadcasts to Mobile TV Users, Qualcomm’s FLO TV Misses Bigger Goal—Fervor for World’s Most Popular Sporting Event

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broadcasters in many international markets including Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the UK. We are in discussions with local companies across APAC, Europe and Latam to commercialize MediaFLO mobile media services. These negotiations take time as many of the markets have not yet made decisions about mobile TV spectrum licensing.”

Still, the bottom line is that soccer fanatics in neither South Africa nor Mexico will be using MediaFLO Technologies when they watch today’s kickoff game between the teams for those two countries—and the same goes for other international audiences.

Comments by Qualcomm Chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs last week at the Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD conference also suggest the wireless giant has been developing different strategies for FLO TV. In an interview with the Journal’s Walt Mossberg, Jacobs agreed that FLO TV hasn’t been the hit that Qualcomm had hoped for. “There are people who love it,” Jacobs said, “but the numbers are not nearly what we expected.” The Qualcomm CEO also noted the company may choose to do something else with the 700 MHz frequency that FLO TV uses to broadcast, such as delivering mobile data to devices—which is a hint I’ve heard Qualcomm execs drop previously.

“As Dr. Jacobs said at D8, we are not satisfied with the overall take-up of mobile TV in the US, but we are optimistic about broadcast, mobile video and future FLO services,” FLO TV spokeswoman Mona Klausing says in an email. “At the heart of FLO TV is the network—the world’s highest-quality, dedicated mobile TV network—and the underlying MediaFLO platform for the delivery of mobile media services…Moving beyond mobile TV services, we announced in April that we will be complementing our current live linear video with relevant, on-demand content and new interactive features later this year. We have a series of new device launches planned this year as well so stay tuned for those announcements.”

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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