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Clearwire to deploy LTE
|04 августа 2011|
Clearwire confirmed it will begin deploying "LTE-Advanced-ready" network technology in addition to maintaining its mobile WiMAX network, a decision the company has contemplated for some time and what many in the industry assumed was an inevitable switch.The company, which first launched its mobile WiMAX service in 2009, said the LTE-Advanced-ready deployment will initially target densely populated urban areas of the company's existing WiMAX footprint. The company said the LTE deployment is subject to getting new financing, however, and did not indicate when or how it will get the additional funds.
Clearwire said its LTE implementation will use Time Division Duplex (TDD) LTE technology. The LTE deployment will take advantage of the company's all-IP network architecture and will involve upgrading base station radios and some core network elements. Clearwire said it will use multicarrier, or multichannel, wideband radios that will be carrier-aggregation capable.
On the company's earnings conference call, Clearwire's interim CEO, John Stanton, said that the company will overlay LTE service on its existing network and will not use Sprint Nextel's Network Vision network architecture, in order to save on capital expenditures. He also said, however, Clearwire is talking with Sprint to use Network Vision's multi-mode base stations to deploy LTE in markets in which it has not yet deployed service. Clearwire said it will require an additional $600 million in capital expenditures to deploy LTE and that a typical market overlay can be completed within 12 months of beginning deployment.
Stanton did not indicate when Clearwire might receive the additional financing but said the company is actively looking at numerous strategic funding options, though he said it is too early to comment on how it will get additional funding. He said he does not expect the company to begin receiving LTE revenue until 2013. Clearwire CFO Hope Cochran said the company will need between $150 million and $300 million in additional financing to maintain its WiMAX business.
Clearwire will use its 2.5 GHz spectrum to deploy the new technology, which it claims will use an ultra-high-capacity spectrum configuration that is superior to typical commercial LTE network designs, a clear dig at LTE market leader Verizon Wireless. (Clearwire's spectrum has weaker propagation characteristics than Verizon's 700 MHz spectrum.) Verizon currently covers more than 110 million POPs with LTE and plans to expand to 175 markets by year-end.
In a shot at wholesale LTE provider LightSquared, which has faced considerable scrutiny over GPS interference concerns posed by terrestrial LTE operation of its L-Band spectrum, Clearwire CTO John Saw said, in a statement, that since the company currently supports 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." Stanton said Clearwire will offer significantly more capacity on its network than LightSquared technically can.
Sprint, Clearwire's largest wholesale customer and majority owner, inked a $9 billion network hosting deal with LightSquared last week, subject to LightSquared getting approval from the FCC to deploy its terrestrial network.