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Qualcomm Names Stone To Head FLO TV Unit

Qualcomm has hired longtime wireless-industry executive Bill Stone as senior vice president and president of FLO TV, replacing Gina Lombardi, who led the mobile TV unit for the past three years.

Stone, who will join Qualcomm Feb. 2, was previously CEO of mobile-content aggregator Handango, which he joined in November 2007. Prior to that he was the president of Amp'd Mobile, a content-oriented mobile virtual network operator that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in mid-2007.

"I would like to thank Gina for her leadership of FLO TV and look forward to her continued contributions at Qualcomm," said Len Lauer, Qualcomm executive VP and chief operating officer, in a statement. "Gina has been instrumental in enhancing FLO TV's infrastructure and operations, establishing carrier relations, deploying the FLO TV commercial network and launching service with Verizon Wireless and AT&T."

Lombardi remains a senior vice president with the company and is " evaluating internal opportunities at Qualcomm," said spokeswoman Emily Kilpatrick.

Prior to Amp'd, Stone was a vice president at Verizon Wireless responsible for mobile content, music, e-commerce and various marketing functions. He also was chief marketing officer for Vodafone Australia and J-Phone Tokyo (currently Softbank Mobile).

Stone will focus on building the FLO TV brand, expanding content and distribution, and increasing subscribers, according to Lauer.

The MediaFLO unit provides live mobile TV broadcasts over a dedicated network, and the service is offered commercially through Verizon Wireless and AT&T. The company is expecting to dramatically increase its coverage -- expanding from 63 metro areas serving 140 million people at the end of 2008 to more than 100 markets serving 200 million by the end of 2009 -- using spectrum currently used for analog TV broadcasting.

MediaFLO will obtain additional spectrum after the switchover to all-digital broadcasts by full-power TV stations, although the Feb. 17 deadline is now uncertain with emergency legislation pending in Congress to push the date back.

Qualcomm's primary business is licensing wireless communications products based on CDMA.