Do We Really Need More Mobile TV?

The Financial Times suspects that DISH Network is building a mobile television service thanks to its relationship with Frontier Wireless, the winner of a $712 million hunk of spectrum offered in the recent 700 MHz auction. Frontier walked away with nationwide licenses to the E block of spectrum, which is good for one-way service. It’s something Om had prophesied, but does it really make sense?

Crown Castle tried to do this a few years ago with its Modeo service, which was unceremoniously shuttered in July 2007 after Qualcomm’s MediaFLO digital television won the deal to provide service to Verizon Wireless and AT&T. After losing out on those carriers in the United States, I suppose the Modeo guys, faced with the costs of building out a network, wondered why they should bother. Since then, AT&T and Verizon have only gotten bigger as their subscriber numbers have grown.

It is possible, judging from the anemic numbers associated with MediaFLO and the overdue MediaFLO service from AT&T, which was supposed to launch last year, that DISH sees an opportunity. I’m still not sure I do. Mobile TV isn’t exactly soaring in the U.S.

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