Is Qualcomm’s UK Spectrum Too Big For Mobile TV?

ZDNet UK journo Rupert Goodwins reckons that there are far better things for Qualcomm (NSDQ: QCOM) to do with the 40 Mhz in the L-band it just bought for 8.3 million pounds (US$17.1 million). While Qualcomm hasn’t detailed what it plans to do with the spectrum, the generally expected wisdom is that it is likely to try and roll out a MediaFLO service in the country in preparation for the release of better-suited spectrum in a few years, something Goodwin thinks would be a mistake: “The trouble with this idea is the huge investment by partners in something with no very good chance of turning a buck in its own right — and, in the West at least, mobile TV is looking like a dangerous gamble.” He reckons Qualcomm would be better off using the spectrum to test new technologies and business models which could then be commercialised all over the world, and suggests a mesh network would be a good thing to develop. He admits that requires a bit of imagination, and also that their could be a lot of internal momentum within Qualcomm for the launch of a MediaFLO service, which he describes as “concocted five years ago, before other people had tried and mostly failed to roll out mobile TV”. It’s an interesting argument, although Qualcomm already has spectrum to experiment with in the US.

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