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Clearwire: We Could Use LTE

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) said today that it could use Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology in the future if -- or when -- the proto-4G wireless specification becomes a "global standard."

Ben Wolff, CEO of the Kirkland, Wash.-based operator, has consistently maintained that the service provider is not interested in a "war" over different wireless standards, saying that "customers aren't interested." Talking on the conference call today to cement the close of the Clearwire asset merger, however, Wolff made it clearer than ever that the company is definitely prepared to use LTE to provide broadband services in coming years, if need be. (See CTIA: Clearwire Talks Android & More and Clearwire, Sprint Complete Merger.)

“We can’t ignore the fact that many of the operators around the world are talking about deploying LTE," he said on the conference call, noting that, in fact, the two orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) technologies have far more underlying commonalities than existing 3G networks. (See Wireless Camps Prep Fresh 4G Battle.)

"In the future, our network vendors will be able to deliver to us equipment that runs both mobile WiMax and LTE," Wolff continued. "If LTE truly becomes a global standard, as WiMax has, Clearwire will be well positioned to provide LTE.”

As a caveat, he noted that operators planning to deploy LTE will still be playing catch-up with Clearwire's existing mobile WiMax plans and require large spectrum holdings and all-IP network updates in order to continue on the climb to 4G. Official ratification of the LTE specification is expected this month. (See RIM LTE Device Could Be Years Away.) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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