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    Clearwire pulls the trigger, lays out plan to launch LTE

    Clearwire pulls the trigger, lays out plan to launch LTE

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    Clearwire has finally gone ahead and announced that it'll be deploying LTE, which comes as no big surprise -- it's been running technology trials since last year, demonstrating cleanroom speeds as high as 120Mbps. The exact timeline for getting this live and in consumer's hands is unclear for a few reasons, though: first off, Clearwire notes that the plan is "subject to additional funding," and secondly, the technology would become one of Clearwire's wholesale offerings to other carriers -- there's still no word on whether Sprint is going to bite the bullet as well (though it certainly seems likely in the long term) and T-Mobile probably wouldn't need to buy into it unless the AT&T merger falls through.

    On the technical side, Clearwire says that the new network will be deployed first in densely-populated areas where high-speed wireless is in particularly high demand. The infrastructure will also be "ready" for LTE-Advanced -- LTE's logical progression that will be ramping up over the next several years -- and it'll be TDD LTE operating in the 2.5GHz spectrum that the company is already using for WiMAX. This contrasts to the FDD flavor of LTE that Verizon and AT&T are using at 700MHz; TDD doesn't require "paired" spectrum where the downlink and uplink signals operate in parallel, so that ultimately gives Clearwire more deployment flexibility. To that end, the press release says that Clearwire has "restated" its commitment to WiMAX... but in the absence of any expansion news, it would seem likely that the long-term strategy is to grow the LTE base and sunset WiMAX over time.

    Source: Clearwire