Sprint partner and U.S. wholesale carrier Clearwire has announced that it will begin building its 4G TDD-LTE network later quarter with a massive expansion later this year in the fourth quarter. At the Goldman Sachs Communicopia conference, Clearwire says that it has been communicating its plans with partners such as Sprint about its LTE rollout. The report on Clearwire’s LTE rollout plans were first reported on Fierce Wireless.
Clearwire is hoping to have 5,000 cell sites up in areas of high traffic and congestion by June 30, 2013.
Sprint remains Clearwire’s largest investor and the carrier has publicly stated that it would buy service from Clearwire’s 4G TDD-LTE deployment to augment its FDD-LTE coverage, meaning that Sprint’s phones in the future would have to support multiple LTE technologies to make use of complete coverage.
Clearwire and Sprint had betted on WiMax as the 4G protocol. However, with rival carriers invested in LTE and delivering faster speeds with that technology than WiMax could offer, Sprint had later changed its Network Vision strategy to slowly abandon WiMax in an effort to capitalize on LTE for its network. Clearwire is doing the same, though the two partners are using different LTE technologies.
It has been reported that the reason that Clearwire chose TDD-LTE is because of the technology’s asymmetrical data support, which means that Clearwire can offer customers a faster download experience than upload, which may be important in an era where consumers are consuming more content on their mobile smartphones and tablets.
In addition to Sprint, Clearwire also has relationships with other carriers and partners, including Leap Wireless, owner of the Cricket service.
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