Qualcomm Ending Its Own Direct-to-Consumer TV Service
Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) today confirmed media reports from yesterday, saying it has decided to stop offering its Flo TV direct consumer mobile television service to new customers. In a statement this afternoon, the San Diego wireless giant said it also has stopped selling its Qualcomm pocket-sized personal TV.
The company says it anticipates there will be some layoffs as a result, even though it’s working to transfer affected employees to other jobs.
The wireless chipmaker says it will continue to operate its dedicated broadcast network, enabling existing direct-to-consumer subscribers to continue to receive Flo TV programming through at least mid-June 2011.
“Service provided to handsets purchased through wireless operators is unaffected at this time,” the company says, referring to Qualcomm broadcasts to certain AT&T and Verizon customers with Flo TV-enabled cell phones. “We have been engaging in conversations with a wide range of partners for both the network and the spectrum,” Qualcomm said.
If Qualcomm eventually moves to discontinue its Flo TV service through AT&T and Verizon, the company says its Flo TV subsidiary “will make appropriate refunds, the details of which will be communicated prior to discontinuation.”
As Qualcomm chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs indicated several months ago, the company says it is still getting “strong interest” in using the Flo TV network or spectrum to ease congestion on wireless networks. Jacobs said at Qualcomm’s Uplinq conference last summer that the Flo TV network could be used to “data cast” magazines, video, and other content to mobile devices in a much more cost-effective manner. Jacobs later told reporters the data rate of Flo TV’s digital broadcast is about 6 megabytes per second, and the content of most magazines is about 50 megabytes-which would take less than 10 seconds to cache on a mobile device. He also said datacasting could be done in overnight bursts.