Clearwire, which provides 4G wireless broadband services in the United States, is adding “LTE Advanced-ready” technology to its 4G network. The initial implementation of Clearwire’s LTE (Long-Term Evolution) network would target densely populated urban areas of the company’s existing 4G markets where current 4G usage demands are high. The all-IP infrastructure already deployed in these markets could be leveraged to serve the company’s LTE needs, a Clearwire release said.
Clearwire’s LTE implementation plan, which is subject to additional funding, contemplates deploying TDD (Time Division Duplex) LTE technology and reusing its flexible all-IP network architecture and upgrading basestation radios and some core network elements. This will include the use of multicarrier, or multichannel, wideband radios that will be carrier-aggregation capable. Carrier aggregation is a key feature of LTE Advanced that will enable Clearwire to further leverage its spectrum depth to create larger “fat pipes” for deploying mobile broadband service.
“Our leadership in launching 4G services forced a major change in the competitive mobile data landscape. Now, we plan to bring our considerable spectrum portfolio to bear to deliver an LTE network capable of meeting the future demands of the market. This is the future of mobile broadband,” Clearwire CTO John Saw said in a statement. “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.”
The company also noted that since launching its first 4G market in 2009, video has become the largest component of the company’s overall data traffic and video traffic itself has increased more than tenfold since 2009. The company said it believes that as more video-intensive smartphones and services rise, so will the needs for Clearwire’s high-capacity 4G wholesale network.
“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,” Saw said. “We anticipate that the economies of scale derived from this global ecosystem will act as a catalyst for the development of thousands of low-cost devices and applications. 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.”
The company also restated its commitment to its existing 4G WiMAX network, which covers about132 million people while serving 7.65 million retail and wholesale customers and an ecosystem of nearly 110 WiMAX-enabled devices, including all 4G phones currently offered by Sprint. Clearwire said it expects to end 2011 with about 10 million 4G customers.
“Clearwire plans to raise the bar again for mobile broadband service in the United States,” John Stanton, Clearwire chairman and interim CEO, said in a statement. “Our leadership in launching 4G services forced a major change in the competitive mobile data landscape. Now, we plan to bring our considerable spectrum portfolio to bear to deliver an LTE network capable of meeting the future demands of the market.”
Clearwire’s Aug. 3 LTE announcement came the same day that officials announced that in the second quarter, the company narrowed its net loss to $160.5 million from the $126 million it lost during the same period last year. At the same time, second-quarter revenues were $322.6 million, almost triple the $177 million in revenues Clearwire recorded a year ago.