Sprint-Nextel May Use Qualcomm’s MediaFLO

A few months ago, I had written a piece about the coming of mobile television, (which is different from what folks like MobiTV already do) and the competition between Nokia and Qualcomm’s MediaFLO. MediaFLO essentially is a parallel wireless network that uses 700-Megahertz spectrum to broadcast tailor made content to mobile devices that have a special decoder chip. (Qualcomm is showing this MediaFLO thing at its booth at CTIA.) Now there is word from Deutsche Bank analysts that Sprint-Nextel might become the first carrier to sign-up for the MediaFLO.

> Our channel checks indicate that Qualcomm’s MediaFLO is the strongest technology contender on the list, and Sprint/Nextel in conjunction with Qualcomm could layout a FLO demo network as early as mid-January 2006. Our channel checks indicate that MediaFLO could be commercially available in mid- 2006, with volume shipments of FLO handsets as early as August – October of 2006.

This move is going to put pressure on rivals carriers like Cingular and Verizon Wireless. Deutsche Bank analysts point out that DVB-H, the Nokia-sponsored rival is behind in terms of “chipset development and availability, revenue sharing plans, network planning etc) and is not as power efficient as FLO… we believe Qualcomm’s MediaFLO could emerge as the de-facto mobile-TV standard in the US.” Deutsche Bank analysts say that Sprint is pretty serious about turning entertainment into a lucrative revenue stream, and that is why they are signing up with folks like Sirrus & Real Networks.

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