FLO TV, provider of the FLO TV live mobile TV service, announced last Friday that it plans to go national, with at least 39 additional markets by the end of the year. This was sparked by the DTV transition last Friday, which freed up the broadband spectrum needed for FLO TV's dedicated network. Fifteen new markets went live as soon as the DTV trigger was pulled, and those include Boston, Houston, Miami, and San Francisco (at last!). The 24 other markets aren't slated until later this year. Qualcomm also said that existing markets like Chicago and New York will enjoy extended coverage.
This is a fairly ambitious project, considering the only two wireless carriers with FLO TV services now are AT&T with AT&T Mobile TV and Verizon with V Cast TV, and there aren't a lot of handsets that support the MediaFLO technology. As a reminder, FLO TV does not use existing cellular networks to transmit signal--it uses Qualcomm's own dedicated network to broadcast live mobile television, offering simulcast and time-shifted programming from a number of networks like CBS, NBC, MTV and ESPN. (Note: CNET News is published by CBS Interactive, a unit of CBS.) While we remain doubtful about the long-term success of FLO TV, we have to say the technology is intriguing, especially since it doesn't rely on easily bogged-down cellular networks.