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Summary:

When AT&T (NYSE: T) earlier this week made a $2.5 billion offer for assets from Aloha Partners, the deal didn’t just include 700MHz spectrum…

When AT&T (NYSE: T) earlier this week made a $2.5 billion offer for assets from Aloha Partners, the deal didn’t just include 700MHz spectrum in 72 of the top 100 markets in the U.S.; it also included the assets of Hiwire, Aloha’s DVB-H-based mobile TV venture. The deal has raised questions over what the implications in the U.S. will be for mobile TV, and in particular TV based on the DVB-H standard, down the road.

Since AT&T is already building out a mobile TV service based on competing MediaFLO technology, and Hiwire was involved in one of the only big DVB-H trials in the U.S., AND the mobile TV take up to date has been far lower than expected, some believe the prospects are not so good. Red Herring takes the position that the spectrum buy was for two-way cellular services, given the $2.5 billion price tag. Tim Farrar, president of Telecom Media and Finance Associates:

  1. "for three times as many channels as MediaFLO does (24 versus eight)"…

    actually, MediaFLO can do 20 channels on its current spectrum, but the system can support much more. 24 vs 20 is a little more accurate.

    the main issue with mobile TV in the US is not channels…it's coverage. i have MediaFLO in L.A. and I can never get a clean singnal anywhere west of La Cienega. lame.

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  2. It could be naive to assume that ATT would use the spectrum for Mobile TV when the business case for broadcast is still in flux. It is not coverage nor channel line up, for now atleast, that is concerning broadcast TV world wide. It is the monetization aspect that is worrying operators.

    UHF spectrum is good for WiMax as well, and a 2-way high bandwidth pipe might just be the recipe for ATT to come out with differentiated content services.This spectrum can be used for other services, like last mile for IPTV etc … Would be interesting to see how ATT uses this spectrum.

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