Is it really fall? We can't say for certain that this is what Dan Hesse was referring to when he told us face-to-face that something spectacular would be coming our way a bit later in the year, but Clearwire definitely just announced its intent to add "LTE Advanced-ready" technology to its 4G network. In what'll likely go down as the most shocking mobile news this side of the proposed T-Mobile / AT&T merger, America's biggest WiMAX fan has finally caved to the realities of the next-gen wireless war: LTE's winning, and it's picking up all sorts of steam. Verizon Wireless has been building out LTE at a breakneck pace, and soon enough, Ma Bell (and presumably, T-Mob) will be following suit. According to the bizarrely worded release, Clearwire will be leveraging "deep spectrum resources and an all-IP network to meet long-term mobile broadband demands." Translation? An "unmatched LTE network" capable of serving current and future wholesale / retail customers.

We're told that the initial LTE rollout will target "high-demand areas of current 4G markets," taking advantage of existing 4G infrastructure in order to reduce expenditures. For those curious about transmission rates, you can look forward to download speeds exceeding 120Mbps (or so it says). In a telling quote, Dr. John Saw, Clearwire's Chief Technology Officer, confesses:

"This is the future of mobile broadband. 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. Clearwire is the only carrier with the unencumbered spectrum portfolio required to achieve this level of speed and capacity in the United States. In addition, the 2.5GHz 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. 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."

No doubt, that closer there is a direct shot at the dilemmas faced by LightSquared -- a company that Sprint curiously just inked a partnership deal with. It's hard to envision how this unholy love triangle's going to play out, but the company's making it quite clear that its LTE network will be "LTE-Advanced-ready," enabling it to have a leg-up on the laggards here in the States. The dirty little secret in all of this is that Clearwire's still waiting on "additional funding" to fully implement its LTE desires, which involve the use of multicarrier, or multichannel, wideband radios that will be carrier aggregation capable. As you'd likely expect, the company closed with a restatement of its support to the existing WiMAX network, but it's practically a guarantee that you've seen the last expansion effort on that one. In case you've been looking the other way, Clearwire hasn't produced plans for a new WiMAX market in all of 2011. Now you know why.
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Clearwire Announces Intent to Add LTE to Its Network to Accelerate Wholesale Business

* Company Will Leverage Deep Spectrum Resources and All-IP Network to Meet Long-Term Mobile Broadband Demands
* Unmatched LTE Network Capable of Serving Current and Future Wholesale and Retail Customers
* Initial LTE Rollout Will Target High-Demand Areas of Current 4G Markets, Leverage Existing 4G Infrastructure for Minimal Capital Expense
* Download Speeds Exceed 120 Mbps in Successful Network Technology Trial
* Support for WiMAX 4G Network Technology to Continue


KIRKLAND, Wash, Aug. 3, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Clearwire Corporation (Nasdaq:CLWR), a leading provider of 4G wireless broadband services in the United States, today announced its intent to add "LTE Advanced-ready" technology to its 4G network. The announcement follows the successful completion of 4G technology trials that achieved download speeds exceeding 120 Mbps and demonstrated the potential of Clearwire's unmatched spectrum advantage.

The initial implementation of Clearwire's LTE network would target densely populated, urban areas of Clearwire's existing 4G markets where current 4G usage demands are high. The robust all-IP 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.

"Clearwire plans to raise the bar again for mobile broadband service in the United States," said John Stanton, Clearwire's Chairman and interim CEO. "Our leadership in launching 4G services forced a major change in the competitive mobile data landscape. Now, we plan to bring our considerable spectrum portfolio to bear to deliver an LTE network capable of meeting the future demands of the market."

"This is the future of mobile broadband," said Dr. John Saw, Clearwire's Chief Technology Officer. "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. Clearwire is the only carrier with the unencumbered spectrum portfolio required to achieve this level of speed and capacity in the United States."

"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 added. "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."

Clearwire also noted that since launching its first 4G market in 2009, video has become the largest component of the company's overall data traffic and video traffic itself has increased more than tenfold since 2009. The company believes that as more video-intensive smartphones and services rise, so will the needs for Clearwire's high-capacity 4G wholesale network.

LTE Advanced is a 4G technical standard that calls for peak download mobile speeds of at least 100 Mbps, which far exceeds today's commercial networks. Clearwire's LTE network will be "LTE Advanced-ready" meaning that it will use an ultra-high-capacity spectrum configuration that is superior to the typical configuration of the slower, more capacity-constrained commercial LTE network designs in the United States of today.

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 base station radios and some core network elements, which offers significant capital savings. This will include the use of multicarrier, or multichannel, wideband radios that will be carrier aggregation capable. Carrier aggregation is a key feature of LTE Advanced that will enable Clearwire to further leverage its vast spectrum depth to create larger "fat pipes" for deploying mobile broadband service. The network would position Clearwire as the clear leader in 4G mobile broadband technology, capable of serving the current and anticipated future demands of wholesale and retail customers.

Clearwire, together with some of the largest wireless carriers in the world, is a founding member of the Global TDD LTE Initiative (GTI) which aims to bring together leading industry partners to steer the TDD LTE ecosystem as a major standard in mobile broadband technology and drive the development of next generation mobile broadband networks. Member companies that currently support more than a billion subscribers on their networks believe that a global LTE standard has the potential to achieve significant economies of scale and serve hundreds of millions of customers worldwide.

Clearwire also restated its commitment to its existing 4G WiMAX network, which covers approximately 132 million people while serving 7.65 million retail and wholesale customers and an ecosystem of nearly 110 WiMAX enabled devices, including all 4G phones currently offered by Sprint. Clearwire expects to end 2011 with approximately 10 million 4G customers.

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Clearwire adding 120Mbps 'LTE Advanced-ready' technology to its holdings, restates commitment to WiMAX