Wed, Aug 22, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Qualcomm mulling local partners for mobile TV shows

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Qualcomm Inc, a mobile phone chipmaker, is considering forming strategic partnerships with local companies to deliver television programs on wireless devices in Taiwan next year, a company executive said yesterday in Taipei.

The San Diego-based chipmaker has been pushing its mobile broadcast technology -- MediaFLO -- by teaming up with telecom operators to compete with a more widely tried technology -- DVB-H -- that is supported by Nokia.

To facilitate uptake of its mobile broadcast technology, Qualcomm has formed joint ventures with Japanese telecom firms KDDI Corp and Softbank Mobile Corp.

In Taiwan, "Qualcomm may seek strategic partnerships with local companies [in offering mobile TV service]," said Jeffrey Brown, head of Qualcomm's global strategy and development, MediaFLO division, at a media briefing in Taipei.

Forming a joint venture could be one of several options, he said.

The high penetration rate of wireless devices and rising demand for paid TVs would give a strong foothold for the growth of mobile broadcasts, Brown said.

He expected Taiwan to auction its mobile TV spectrum next year, joining a long list of countries to launch commercial operations.

The mobile broadcast market is expected to increase to more than US$8 billion by 2011, with the Asia-Pacific region posting the strongest growth, market researcher Informa Telecom and Media forecast.

Qualcomm is teaming up with local firms China Network Systems Co (中嘉網路), Vibo Telecom Inc (威寶電信), Asia Pacific Telecom Co (亞太電信) and Taiwan Television Enterprise (台視) in a one-year trial.

In March, US mobile operator Verizon Wireless started delivering TV programs on cellphones using Qualcomm's MediaFLO. Cingular Wireless is expected to launch a similar service by the end of the year, Qualcomm said.

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