FLO TV’s Failure Is AT&T’s Spectrum Gain

That Qualcomm couldn’t see FLO TV was destined for failure is somewhat amazing to me. But it has salvaged something from the debacle, having now sold the wireless spectrum to AT&T for just under $2 billion. The 700MHz spectrum will be used to support AT&T 4G services:

The spectrum covers more than 300 million people total nationwide: 12 MHz of Lower 700 MHz D and E block spectrum covers more than 70 million people in five of the top 15 U.S. metropolitan areas — New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco; 6 MHz of Lower 700 MHz D block spectrum covers more than 230 million people across the rest of the U.S.

As part of its longer-term 4G network plans, AT&T intends to deploy this spectrum as supplemental downlink, using carrier aggregation technology. This technology is designed to deliver substantial capacity gains and is expected to be enabled with the completion of 3GPP Release 10.  AT&T expects to begin deploying this spectrum once compatible handsets and network equipment are developed.

AT&T has taken a terrible PR beating from competitors and consumers for having an unreliable network. This will help provide greater speed and capacity for AT&T subscribers in the future.