NAB balks at T-Mobile's, Qualcomm's fears of an ATSC 3.0 smartphone tuner mandate

NAB said it's not seeking the kind of mandate that companies like T-Mobile are opposing.

The National Association of Broadcasters is pushing back against wireless companies’ concerns over an ATSC 3.0 smart device tuner mandate, saying that it has not advocated for any such rules.

In an ex parte filing with the FCC, NAB said it and other petitioners have “made it plain” that they aren’t seeking such a mandate, yet wireless companies like Motorola, T-Mobile, Ericsson, Nokia, Ethertronics and Qualcomm have publicly opposed a mandate.

“In light of the fact that NAB has never sought or even suggested a tuner mandate, it is curious that some key players in the wireless industry display such great fear over the potential of increased competition for mobile video delivery. Why else would this list of companies fear a ghost? If anything, the Commission should recognize that this advocacy demonstrates the potential of Next Gen TV to create real competition in the marketplace. Indeed, it may be one of the strongest arguments for moving forward to approve the use of Next Gen TV as quickly as possible,” the NAB wrote.

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NAB’s rebuttal of concerns about a tuner mandate follows filings from T-Mobile and Qualcomm outlining the technical hurdles with integrating ATSC 3.0 support in mobile devices. Qualcomm last week told the FCC that it agreed with T-Mobile and Verizon on the topic of a tuner mandate, something it said should be “out of the question.”

“Mandating support of ATSC 3.0 in mobile devices would unduly impact device performance, the efficient use of spectrum, and mobile device competition. Incorporating ATSC 3.0 reception in smartphones is a complex issue that requires significant effort and careful consideration of the impact on the overall performance of the device,” Qualcomm wrote.

Qualcomm warned that incorporating ATSC 3.0 could increase the size and cost of smart devices, and that ATSC 3.0 signals could potentially interfere with wireless network radios for LTE and 5G.