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Stand-alone mobile TV network market: The Winners

15 января 2007
The winner in the stand-alone mobile TV network market just might be Qualcomm's MediaFLO. Everyone always thought it would wrap up CDMA operators Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel, but they weren't expecting GSM operators to jump on board. However, that looks like that just might be the case. It is public knowledge that T-Mobile is testing the service and now rumor has it that Cingular Wireless is looking into MediaFLO too. How's that for a level playing field?

Meanwhile, things don't look too hot for DVB-H network operator Modeo, whose parent company Crown Castle recently revealed in a government filing that Modeo President Michael Schueppert abruptly resigned. Modeo has yet to receive an endorsement from a U.S. operator, and there hasn't even been a hint that any operator went so far as to conduct a market test. One big problem for Modeo is simply the spectrum it owns. It operates in the 1.6 GHz band. MediaFLO and DVB-H rival HiWire, which may also have a shot at competing with MediaFLO, operate in the 700 MHz band, a band that offers better economics because of the propagation characteristics.

So Modeo has embarked on a go-it-alone strategy with plans to launch its network in New York City. It's going to sell an unlocked GSM phone that supports the Modeo-branded mobile TV services. Its goal is to offer services in 30 markets by the end of next year. However, it appears the writing is on the wall. It is going to have to begin making deals with distributors to get them to sell these unlocked GSM phones. Unlike other countries, phones simply aren't sold that way in the U.S. They are tied with service from a particular operator. Maybe Modeo would have better luck accelerating its service on devices other than handsets. Can it strike a deal with companies like Intel and Dell to add a DVB-H component in laptops and PDAs?

And Apple, do us all a favor and just announce your bleeping iPhone already! Unfortunately, most analysts don't think Apple will be introducing the iPhone at its annual MacWorld Expo next month. Mr. Jobs, the longer we wait the more disappointed we'll be because this device has been so hyped up that it probably will never match expectations.

Lynette Luna, Fierce Wireless

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