CTIA: Qualcomm: Enabling Mobile Ads And Payments; Hoping To Accelerate MediaFLO

Joseph Weisenthal
Tuesday, April 1, 2008; 7:00 PM

I'm not in Vegas, but caught this via webcast? Qualcomm (NSDQ: QCOM) used its presentation at CTIA to tout a business bigger than just cellular, with things like NFC payments, mobile advertising and, of course, MediaFLO. After a big-picture intro from CEO Paul Jacobs, other executive drilled down into specific areas:

-- MediaFLO: Division president Gina Lombardi acknowledged that MediaFLO hasn't taken off as fast as the company would have liked: "As the wireless carriers have taught us, it takes a long time to build a nationwide network." However, MediaFLO just launched in its 58th market?its home market, in fact, San Diego. " We seem to bring on about five or six new markets every quarter." The company is hoping that that the DTV transition will be the next major event in expanding the service. Recent content launches include MTV Tr3s (A Latin channel pronouncedtres) and ESPN (NYSE: DIS) Radio; both went live Friday. Lombardi: "You will see MTV, ESPN and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) doing a lot of promoting and marketing around those channels."

-- Advertising: EVP Len Lauer explained the company's strategy with respect to powering mobile services with user-specific information. "We believe advertising will take off in the mobile environment when it comes relevant to the consumer." As such, an acquisition like its recent purchase of Xiam, which allows operators to know more about their users, is key to a range of new services. Beyond advertising, the company is hoping to combine user-relevant data with a mobile wallet and location-based services to, say, improve a customer's experience when they walk into a store.

-- Mobile wallet: The company said it recently signed up Citi as a customer of its Firethorn mobile wallet. Again Lauer stressed that Qualcomm can make the mobile wallet particularly valuable, by combining it with things like coupons, loyalty cards and proximity payments (NFC). In terms of other customers, both Verizon and AT&T (NYSE: T) are now both pre-loading the mobile wallet, while others allow it to be downloaded over the air.

-- Other devices: COO Sanjay Jah touted the various non-handset devices the company is targeting, including laptops, mini PCs and GPS devices. His basic message: "We continue to see increasing deployment of 3G devices? , but now we are expanding outside."

-- 700 MHz: During the Q&A, the execs were asked to comment on the recently concluded spectrum auction, but basically said nothing, other than that they would have news shortly.


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