Qualcommâ€™s FLO division has posted a notice to current customers using the FLO TV mobile television service that the network will be shuttered as of March 27th 2011, with the mobile television division promising to rebate customers for the unused portion of their current agreement as well as hardware. The rebates will depend on when the device was bought and what the purchase price was, excluding sales taxes
This follows years of attempts to turn FLO into a profitable venture, first by signing agreements with carriers AT&T and Verizon and selling it via specialized handsets, then developing its own hardware with HTC and marketing directly to consumers with mixed results beginning in 2009.
The service was first launched in 2008, first as Verizon VCAST Mobile TV, then launched on AT&T in 2009 as AT&T Mobile TV across select markets in the country. FLO was intended as Qualcommâ€™s venture into the currently stillborn mobile TV market with the company purchasing swaths of 700MHz spectrum in order to setup its broadcast network, as it required specialized receiver hardware in order to receive the service.
Consumer reception for the service was lukewarm owing to the initially high $15/month cost on top of monthly wireless service as well as limited channel selection, with carrier and hardware exclusive channels adding to the confusion. Monthly rate reductions, increased hardware availability and bundled service did little to spur sales, as few outside of the tech enthusiast circles adopted the service. More recently, attempts were made to expand service outside the US with little success, as trials in India and Japan failed to convince carriers to adopt the service over locally entrenched standards such as ISDB-T and 1-Seg, respectively.