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FCC blesses sale of Aloha's 700MHz spectrum to AT&T

Chris Ziegler
02.05.08
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No, it's not that 700MHz spectrum, but the $2.5 billion sale of the airwaves to AT&T from private firm Aloha Partners could have implications as large as Auction 73's massive, open-access Block C itself. Given that Aloha's Hiwire trials for DVB-H-based mobile TV have been playing in the 700MHz arena, we suspect this could spell doom for the whole project -- and on the heels of Modeo's collapse, very likely spells doom for DVB-H on the whole in the US. Though that's great news for Qualcomm and DVB-H competitor MediaFLO, it's awful news for the prospect of a global mobile TV standard, closely (if not eerily) following what happened years back with the European Union's selection of GSM and the rise of CDMA in North America. For its part, AT&T says it's going to use its newfound airwaves -- which cover 72 of the top 100 US markets -- for "broadcast video or for two-way communications such as voice, data or multicast content." Admittedly, the "broadcast video" part of that leads us to believe that Hiwire could somehow survive the change in ownership, but with AT&T's selection of MediaFLO last year as its standard of choice, it sure ain't likely.

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