Verizon vs. Clearwire

By Roy Mark  |  Posted 2009-02-19 Print this article Print

"Verizon Wireless' LTE network deployment will be driven by our vision of providing ubiquitous global wireless broadband connectivity and mobility," Dick Lynch, Verizon executive vice president and CTO, said in a Mobile World Congress keynote address. "LTE enables us to continue to meet business customer demands for a higher-bandwidth, low-latency service that works broadly in the United States and globally, while helping us to meet consumer demand for mobilizing the many applications they frequently use when tethered to high-bandwidth wired networks."

Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Verizon and Vodafone, will use the spectrum it obtained for $6.5 billion in the 2008 FCC (Federal Communications Commission) 700MHz auction to run its LTE network. The spectrum is currently held by broadcasters that are scheduled to vacate the spectrum in June.

Clearwire reacted to Verizon Wireless' announcement with bravado.

"Verizon's 4G deployment plans are a testament to the fact that the existing 3G networks simply won't support a rich 'true broadband' experience," the company said in a Feb. 18 statement. "The Internet has become an indispensable part of our lives, and consumers want to access it wherever they are-not just at home or in the office. Clearly, having more operators espousing the benefits of 4G can only serve to increase consumer awareness and demand for better services. This is a great place for Clearwire to be."

That said, Clearwire added, "Not all 4G networks are created equal. Differences in spectrum holdings and underlying network architecture will deliver different user experiences. Today, Clearwire customers experience better speeds and bandwidth than what is being described as next year's LTE networks."

Clearwire said it continues to "move full speed ahead with plans to introduce new mobile WiMax markets, services and devices this year," although, as usual, the company didn't name any target cities or declare any timetables.

Using a variety of network infrastructure providers, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone have been field-testing 4G LTE networks in Minneapolis, northern New Jersey and Columbus, Ohio. In addition, testing is being conducted in Budapest, Hungary; Dusseldorf, Germany; and Madrid, Spain. According to Verizon Wireless, the field trials showed download peak speeds of 50M to 60M bps, though the company warned that actual average download results would not be determined until the commercial launch of the new network.


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