Clearwire, a name that has been synonymous with Sprint's Mobile WiMAX network, announced that it is working on a 4G LTE network of its own. The announcement follows Sprint's own announcement that it is partnering with LightSquared to jointly deploy a new 4G network.
According to a press release, Clearwire's initial implementation of its LTE network would target densely populated, mostly urban areas where 4G is in high demand. Clearwire says they will deploy their LTE network through their existing infrastructure in these areas, which will result in an overall cost savings to the company.
According to Clearwire CTO Dr. John Saw, the company will leverage its current 2.5-GHz spectrum band for the network, "enabling a potentially robust, cost effective, and global ecosystem that could serve billions of devices. 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."
But that's not all. Clearwire says the network won't just support standard LTE, but will be LTE Advanced-ready. The difference between the two is significant. LTE networks such as Verizon's only offer speeds of 5-12Mbps. True LTE on the other hand, according to the International Telecommunications Union, must provide download speeds of at least 100 Mbps. Only LTE Advanced and WiMAX 2 meet those standards.
In tests conducted earlier this year, Clearwire said it was able to squeeze download speeds as high as 120 Mbps out of a beta LTE Advanced network. However, rolling out a network that sophisticated will take quite some time.
On the other hand, the company did say it would be able to roll out its standard LTE network in a paltry 12 months time after starting work on it. But before it can do that, Clearwire has to come up with the funding, and according to company representatives, there is no timeline in place for that.
WiMAX users shouldn't fret though, Clearwire said they are still committed to providing WiMAX service to its current customers.