mobile phone tower company Crown Castle International is scrapping Modeo, a mobile TV startup that was running a test network in New York City. Crown Castle will lease the nationwide wireless spectrum used for the network to investment firms Telcom Ventures and Columbia Capital. Crown Castle says it will take a $10 million hit this year related to the spectrum and Modeo’s operations.
Though few people currently watch TV on their mobile phones in the U.S., entertainment and other data services are a key growth area for wireless providers as voice revenue slips. Modeo was designed to deliver high-quality, live television to mobile handsets (and potentially other gadgets) without taxing a carrier’s mobile data network or spectrum resources.
The immediate winner is Qualcomm, whose MediaFlo USA subsidiary has deals to provide a similar service to the two largest U.S. wireless carriers, AT&T and Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Verizon Wireless. Sprint Nextel, the third largest cellular provider, has said it’s happy with its current mobile TV product (MobiTV) while it builds out its WiMax network, leaving few meaningful U.S. carrier customers for Modeo to sign up. It’s not immediately clear what the investment firms will do with the spectrum, but this is prime real estate for a deep-pocketed consumer electronics or content company to try their hand at mobile broadcasting. Release via MocoNews
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.