AT&T To Buy Qualcomm's FLO TV Spectrum For $1.925 Billion

AT&T To Buy Qualcomm's FLO TV Spectrum For $1.925 Billion

A couple of months ago, FLO TV announced that they were pulling the plug on their standalone mobile TV efforts in America. After marketing like crazy, they simply weren't able to attract the kind of consumer adoption needed to keep things running. It was also reported that Qualcomm, who owned FLO TV, was considering everything, even down to selling the spectrum needed to broadcast the content. And now, that's exactly what they've done.

AT&T, America's largest GSM carrier, has just announced their intentions to purchase the FLO TV spectrum, which is located in the Lower 700MHz frequency band. This spectrum is primed for use in 4G/LTE expansion in the years ahead, so it's no surprise that the carrier would want it. But how badly? Really badly. AT&T paid an astounding $1.925 billion for the spectrum, which Qualcomm will cease using once services go black in March 2011.


The spectrum covers more than 300 million people total nationwide: 12 MHz of Lower 700 MHz D and E block spectrum covers more than 70 million people in five of the top 15 U.S. metropolitan areas - New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco; 6 MHz of Lower 700 MHz D block spectrum covers more than 230 million people across the rest of the U.S.

AT&T has also said that as part of its longer-term 4G network plans, AT&T intends to deploy this spectrum as supplemental downlink, using carrier aggregation technology. No time table has been given for when that will happen, and of course this particular deal is still subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Both companies expect the deal to fully close in mid-2011.

AT&T Agrees To Acquire Wireless Spectrum From Qualcomm

Spectrum to help AT&T continue to enhance the mobile broadband experience nationwide

DALLAS and SAN DIEGO, Dec. 20, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AT&T* and Qualcomm Incorporated announced today that AT&T has agreed to purchase spectrum licenses in the Lower 700 MHz frequency band from Qualcomm for $1.925 billion. The move will bolster AT&T's ability to provide an advanced 4G mobile broadband experience for its customers in the years ahead.

Qualcomm currently uses the licenses to support the service business of FLO TV Incorporated, a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm, and the sale follows Qualcomm's previously announced plan to evaluate strategic options for the FLO TV business. Qualcomm expects that the FLO TV business and network will be shut down in March 2011.

The spectrum covers more than 300 million people total nationwide: 12 MHz of Lower 700 MHz D and E block spectrum covers more than 70 million people in five of the top 15 U.S. metropolitan areas - New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco; 6 MHz of Lower 700 MHz D block spectrum covers more than 230 million people across the rest of the U.S.

As part of its longer-term 4G network plans, AT&T intends to deploy this spectrum as supplemental downlink, using carrier aggregation technology. This technology is designed to deliver substantial capacity gains and is expected to be enabled with the completion of 3GPP Release 10. AT&T expects to begin deploying this spectrum once compatible handsets and network equipment are developed.

As more fully described in its separate announcement today, Qualcomm intends to integrate carrier aggregation technology into its chipset roadmap, to enable supplemental downlink to address increased consumer demand for rich mobile media content. AT&T expects to deploy this technology, demonstrating its commitment to deliver a great mobile broadband experience - now and in the future.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, and AT&T and Qualcomm anticipate closing the sale during the second half of calendar year 2011.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.
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I blame the failure of Flo TV on those crappy ads made by The Apprentice contestants. (I wonder how much they paid Donald Trump for that placement?)

What happens to the sucke... er, customers, who bought the hardware?

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