We know that Clearwire can ditch WiMAX pretty soon, but the company appears to be intent on keeping the technology in its current plans as it announces 4G LTE trials which include tests of "coexistence scenarios between LTE and WiMAX".
Clearwire Announces New 4G LTE Technology Trials Expected to Yield Unmatched Wireless Speeds in the U.S.
KIRKLAND, Wash., Aug 04, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Clearwire Corporation (NASDAQ:CLWR), a leading provider of wireless broadband services and operator of the largest 4G network in the country, today announced plans to conduct 4G LTE technology trials expected to yield unmatched wireless speeds in the U.S., and to test multiple coexistence scenarios between LTE and WiMAX radio technologies. The new tests are designed to showcase the unique capability of Clearwire's unmatched spectrum holdings and examine a variety of potential future technology combinations that could yield additional benefits to consumers and shareholders.
"Clearwire's unmatched spectrum and all-IP network make us the only service provider in the U.S. able to conduct tests of this nature and on this scale," said Dr. John Saw, Clearwire's chief technology officer. "As we have consistently stated, we remain technology agnostic, but WiMAX provides us with unique advantages to meet the needs of our customers today. Ultimately, consumers don't care about technical acronyms, but they do care about quality and affordable Internet services that work where and when they want, and that's what we're focused on delivering. Part of our technical due diligence at Clearwire is to be prepared to leverage a number of possible opportunities as we future-proof our network, and that's the goal of these tests."
The company expects the technical trials to demonstrate that Clearwire's 4G network can deliver significantly higher performance using LTE technologies than any other operator. Clearwire plans to conduct the tests in collaboration with Huawei Technologies, the same infrastructure provider which deployed the world's first commercial LTE network in Europe, using the same spectrum band and flexible base station platform that Clearwire utilizes in the United States. In the same vein, Clearwire will also be testing LTE on Samsung Electronics' common base station platform which it currently uses for its mobile WiMAX deployments. During the trials, Clearwire will collaborate with Beceem, and other partners, to determine the best methods for enabling end-user devices to take advantage of a potential multi-mode WiMAX/LTE network. Other participating vendors for Clearwire's technical trials are expected to be named at a later date. In addition, due to the global dominance of the 2.5 GHz - 2.6 GHz spectrum band, a number of large wireless operators are expected to participate with Clearwire on these tests. Additional details about those companies are also expected to be disclosed at a later date. The tests will be conducted in the fall and throughout early 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Dr. Saw continued, "The 2.5 GHz spectrum band is universally allocated for global 4G deployments, so it has the potential to create one of the world's most robust ecosystem across billions of devices. We believe this commonality will result in a massive diversity of mobile devices and applications, at comparably low costs, due to unmatched economies-of-scale. In a 4G world, wireless coverage is important, but capacity is king. This capacity is a unique and sustainable advantage for Clearwire, thanks to our all-IP network and unmatched spectrum holdings."
Clearwire expects to conduct tests across three key areas:
- FDD LTE: Clearwire intends to conduct FDD LTE (Frequency Division Duplex) tests using 40 MHz of spectrum, paired in 20 MHz contiguous channels, of its 2.5 GHz spectrum. Clearwire expects to confirm the capability to produce real-world download speeds that range from 20-70 Mbps. This is expected to be significantly faster than the 5-12 Mbps speeds currently envisioned by other LTE deployments in the U.S., which will rely on smaller pairs of 10 Mhz channels or less.
- TDD LTE: Clearwire will concurrently test TDD LTE (Time Division Duplex), in a 20 MHz configuration, which is twice the channel size currently used in its 4G WiMAX deployments.
- WiMAX and LTE: Clearwire will also test WiMAX co-existence with both FDD LTE and TDD LTE to confirm the flexibility of its network and spectrum strength to simultaneously support a wide-range of devices across its all-IP network.
The company also restated its commitment to use WiMAX technology for its current 4G build plan. Since the company expects that a significant number of LTE devices will be available in coming years, Clearwire is conducting technical trials to determine how it could potentially add LTE technology to coexist with WiMAX.
Additional details about the new technology tests were not disclosed.