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Modeo gets interim CEO

Modeo is set to launch its new mobile TV network in New York by the end of the year, but it will likely be doing so without a permanent CEO. Crown Castle on Friday filed notice with the FCC that it has appointed Modeo vice president of marketing and business development Michael Ramke as interim CEO, replacing Michael Schueppert, who resigned on Dec. 1 to pursue other business opportunities.

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Crown Castle—which wholly owns Modeo—implied in the filing that the management transition wouldn’t be a problem during Modeo’s launch. Ramke has been an executive with Crown Castle since 1996 and has been working on Modeo’s launch since its inception. Ramke also been a key person involved in Modeo’s planned New York launch this year, which will be the first glimpse the general public gets at its planned multicast mobile video network.

Modeo is using radio astronomy frequencies at the 1.6 GHz bands to build out a nationwide broadcast network using Digital Video Broadcast-Handheld technology. If it pulls off its planned launch in New York in the next three weeks, it would beat its competitors Qualcomm and HiWire as the first multicast TV provider with commercial service. Qualcomm plans to make a big splash with its MediaFLO service—based on Qualcomm’s in-house technology—in the first quarter when partner Verizon Wireless unveils its new TV service. Meanwhile HiWire—owned by spectrum holder Aloha Partners—was the last operator out of the gate. It is deploying a text network in Las Vegas and has announced that T-Mobile is testing its service.

It’s unclear, however, whether Modeo will have a carrier partner at launch. It has made no formal announcement of an operator customer as MediaFLO USA has done with Verizon Wireless, but it would be possible for Cingular or T-Mobile customers to subscribe directly to Modeo, using their carrier-issued SIM cards in Modeo handsets.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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