Clearwire has announced its plans to add technology that’s ready for LTE-Advanced to its 4G network. The company has completed 4G technology trials achieving download speeds exceeding 120 Mbits/s. Initial implementation of Clearwire’s LTE network would target densely populated urban areas of the company’s existing 4G markets where current 4G usage demands are high.
According to Clearwire, the all-IP (Internet protocol) infrastructure already deployed in these markets can be leveraged to serve the company’s LTE needs, delivering significant capital cost savings compared to a similar overlay by other carriers of an existing 3G architecture.
“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,” said John Saw, Clearwire’s chief technology officer.
“In addition, the 2.5-GHz 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,” he said.
Since Clearwire launched its first 4G market in 2009, video has become the largest component of its overall data traffic, with video traffic increasing more than tenfold since then. Clearwire believes that as more video-intensive smart phones and services arise, so will the needs for its high-capacity 4G wholesale network.
LTE-Advanced specifies peak download mobile speeds of at least 100 Mbits/s, which far exceeds today’s commercial networks. Clearwire’s LTE-Advanced ready network will use an ultra-high-capacity spectrum configuration that’s superior to the typical configuration of the slower, more capacity-constrained commercial LTE network designs in the U.S. today, according to the company.
Clearwire’s LTE implementation plan, which is subject to additional funding, contemplates deploying time division duplex (TDD) LTE technology and reusing its flexible all-IP network architecture and upgrading basestation radios and some core network elements, achieving significant capital savings.
This strategy will include the use of multicarrier, or multichannel, wideband radios that will be capable of carrier aggregation, which is a key feature of LTE-Advanced that will enable the company to utilize its spectrum depth to create larger “fat pipes” for deploying mobile broadband service.
Meanwhile, Clearwire has restated its commitment to its existing 4G WiMAX network, covering 132 million people while serving 7.65 million retail and wholesale customers and an ecosystem of nearly 110 WiMAX enabled devices.