The world's largest mobile operator and the heretofore scrappy WiMAX provider have linked arms to accelerate the rollout and adoption of time-division LTE (TD-LTE) across China. While there's little chatter about an infrastructure build-up itself, China Mobile and Clearwire have established an agreement "to cultivate a robust device ecosystem that supports multi-mode, multi-band devices with minimum component complexity and cost," with particular emphasis on the common 2.5GHz spectrum. More specifically, the collaboration will work to build up a high volume of TD-LTE chipsets and devices for commercial availability in 2012. If Sprint were to purchase (or make a significant investment in) Clearwire, this deal could be especially important, but for the time being, the company is finding some independence from the uncomfortable love triangle that's brewing between itself, Sprint and LightSquared. While there's no telling what sort announcement will come on October 7th, it's nice to see Clearwire secure an international lover that's willing to commit to a shared LTE vision. You'll find the full PR after the break.
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China Mobile and Clearwire Announce Collaboration on TD-LTE Devices

China Mobile, the world's largest mobile operator in terms of subscribers, and Clearwire Corporation, a leading provider of 4G wireless broadband services in the United States, today announced a collaboration to accelerate the development of TD-LTE devices. Specifically, the two companies agreed to work together to cultivate a robust device ecosystem that supports multi-mode, multi-band devices with minimum component complexity and cost.

China Mobile and Clearwire both support the global 2.5 GHz spectrum band for 4G deployments along with many other operators around the world. To date, both China Mobile and Clearwire have conducted successful TD-LTE trials and tests using commercially available/production-ready TD-LTE devices from numerous vendors. The two companies will work jointly to further accelerate the time-to-market availability of high volume TD-LTE chipsets and devices that should be commercially available starting in 2012. In addition, the two companies will collaborate to enable worldwide data roaming among TD-LTE, FDD-LTE and other 2G/3G networks.

"The availability and cost of TD-LTE devices are critical success factors for operators to deploy TD-LTE networks," said Mr. Jianzhou Wang, Chairman of China Mobile Communications Corporation. "The cooperation with Clearwire will leverage economies of scale in the two largest markets in the world to speed up the development of TD-LTE devices. We anticipate the widest variety and most cost effective high performance devices - modems, routers, smart phones and tablets - to provide end users with affordable advanced mobile broadband services."

"We expect to launch a next-generation LTE network that will offer more capacity than any other 4G network in the United States," said John Stanton, Executive Chairman of Clearwire. "By working with China Mobile, we fully expect to benefit from a device ecosystem aimed to support billions of potential users worldwide. This unmatched scale should reduce costs and increase choices for our customers in the years ahead."

Today's announcement further supports Clearwire's recent announcement of its intent to add LTE technology to its 4G network. By joining forces on TD-LTE technology, product, deployment and roaming solutions, China Mobile and Clearwire are well positioned to build a viable and competitive TD-LTE ecosystem for the highest demand 4G markets on the globe.