Clearwire has announced its plans to enter the 4G LTE market in 2013. The company plans to deploy its LTE network in around 31 markets across the U.S and will be relying on the TDD- LTE specification for its mobile broadband network. The TDD- LTE specification is not used by other major U.S rivals such as Verizon and AT&T. Clearwire has chosen this specification because it will help the wireless provider to migrate easily to the next generation LTE- Advanced specification which can provide a theoretical peak download speed of about 1 Gigabyte per second. TDD- LTE technology, in other words, would be more efficient in delivering speed and capacity for the LTE network.
Erick Prusch, President and CEO of Clearwire has advocated for the advantages of the new network. “Our new 4G network will show that not all LTE networks are created equal. Clearwire’s LTE Advanced-ready network will deploy our deep spectrum resources for the next great era in mobile broadband in which capacity is king. We’re positioned to bring much needed capacity on a wholesale basis to address the unbridled demand for mobile data and the scarcity of spectrum in major urban and suburban markets.”
The LTE-TDD technology’s theoretical speed of 1 Gbps is roughly 100 times faster than the performance that Verizon Wireless customers average on its LTE network. Verizon, relying on FDD-LTE, has recently expressed interest in moving to LTE- Advanced technology for the future as well.
The tentative markets that Clearwire is hoping to cover with its new LTE network are all major metropolitan centers, many of which are already serviced by Clearwire’s and Sprint’s old 4G WiMax networks. NYC, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle may be some of the first cities to have access to Clearwire’s 4G LTE network. Clearwire’s aggressive entry into the LTE market is both a double- edged sword for Sprint, who is the majority shareholder in Clearwire. Sprint can get access to Clearwire’s LTE network to expand its own LTE network across the nation and compete with larger rivals like Verizon and AT&T. But Clearwire’s new network, if successful, introduces another key player in the LTE market, and one that may become independent of Sprint eventually.