Clearwire adding 120Mbps 'LTE Advanced-ready' technology to its holdings, restates commitment to WiMAX
Is it really fall? We can't say for certain that this is what Dan Hesse was referring to when he told us face-to-face that something spectacular would be coming our way a bit later in the year, but Clearwire definitely just announced its intent to add "LTE Advanced-ready" technology to its 4G network. In what'll likely go down as the most shocking mobile news this side of the proposed T-Mobile / AT&T merger, America's biggest WiMAX fan has finally caved to the realities of the next-gen wireless war: LTE's winning, and it's picking up all sorts of steam. Verizon Wireless has been building out LTE at a breakneck pace, and soon enough, Ma Bell (and presumably, T-Mob) will be following suit. According to the bizarrely worded release, Clearwire will be leveraging "deep spectrum resources and an all-IP network to meet long-term mobile broadband demands." Translation? An "unmatched LTE network" capable of serving current and future wholesale / retail customers.
We're told that the initial LTE rollout will target "high-demand areas of current 4G markets," taking advantage of existing 4G infrastructure in order to reduce expenditures. For those curious about transmission rates, you can look forward to download speeds exceeding 120Mbps (or so it says). In a telling quote, Dr. John Saw, Clearwire's Chief Technology Officer, confesses:
"This is the future of mobile broadband. Our extensive trial has clearly shown that our 'LTE Advanced-ready' network design, which leverages our deep spectrum with wide channels, can achieve far greater speeds and capacity than any other network that exists today. Clearwire is the only carrier with the unencumbered spectrum portfolio required to achieve this level of speed and capacity in the United States. In addition, the 2.5GHz spectrum band in which we operate is widely allocated worldwide for 4G deployments, enabling a potentially robust, cost effective and global ecosystem that could serve billions of devices. And, since we currently support millions of customers in the 2.5 GHz band, we know that our LTE network won't present harmful interference issues with GPS or other sensitive spectrum bands."No doubt, that closer there is a direct shot at the dilemmas faced by LightSquared -- a company that Sprint curiously just inked a partnership deal with. It's hard to envision how this unholy love triangle's going to play out, but the company's making it quite clear that its LTE network will be "LTE-Advanced-ready," enabling it to have a leg-up on the laggards here in the States. The dirty little secret in all of this is that Clearwire's still waiting on "additional funding" to fully implement its LTE desires, which involve the use of multicarrier, or multichannel, wideband radios that will be carrier aggregation capable. As you'd likely expect, the company closed with a restatement of its support to the existing WiMAX network, but it's practically a guarantee that you've seen the last expansion effort on that one. In case you've been looking the other way, Clearwire hasn't produced plans for a new WiMAX market in all of 2011. Now you know why.