Light Reading

Clearwire: We'll Kick LTE's Butt

Ray Le Maistre
LR Mobile News Analysis
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief
5/7/2008
50%
50%

There are two things the new Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)/ Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) WiMax company won't be short of: spectrum and confidence. (See Sprint, Clearwire Create $14.5B WiMax Giant.)

On a conference call today announcing the planned new independent WiMax operator, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse boasted that the new company, with Sprint's and Clearwire's 2.5 GHz spectrum combined, will have a "national footprint" and "the largest spectrum position of any company in the U.S." -- which will leave those mobile operators planning LTE networks playing catchup in the mobile broadband services market.

He added that, because both Sprint and Clearwire have been working for some time towards WiMax service rollouts, the new company, due to be officially formed in the fourth quarter of this year, will be "at least two years ahead of the competition... We have a substantial time-to-market advantage over others who have only just got their 4G spectrum."

That "competition" is AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless , which recently landed their 4G spectrum and plan to build out networks using LTE (long term evolution), the technology many current 3G mobile operators are planning to deploy from 2010 onwards. (See AT&T & Verizon to Use 700 MHz for 4G .)

While that's some years ahead, both Sprint and Clearwire are believed to be within months of (independently) launching WiMax services. "We can realize [4G services] now rather than years down the road," boasted Hesse, perhaps somewhat prematurely, given Sprint's history of missed Wimax launch deadlines. (See XOHM May Launch This Summer.)

Clearwire has been putting its planned WiMax offering through its paces in Portland, Ore., where, according to Clearwire's CEO Ben Wolff (who will head up the new WiMax venture), the company has been achieving up to 6 Mbit/s downstream and up to 3 Mbit/s upstream in vehicles traveling at 60 miles per hour.

"Based on our experience in Portland, we'll be able to exceed anything that the legacy mobile networks can offer. We aim to provide four times the performance at one tenth of the cost of the legacy wireless networks," stated Wolff, though he didn't comment on how competitive the prices would be.

And Barry West, Sprint's CTO and Clearwire president-elect, believes it will be a long time before LTE is ready to make a true 4G challenge to Wimax. "We expect to see only early trials of LTE in 2010 -- it'll take a lot longer" to get a full network and services up and running, carped West, who, as the video below shows, is keen to press home WiMax's 4G credentials.

Putting Clearwire's plans into action
Now the new company, along with its backers, will start fleshing out its WiMax rollout plans. The "new" Clearwire will have a $3.2 billion purse courtesy of its five strategic investors -- Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) (through Intel Capital ), and three cable operators, Bright House Networks , Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) -- plus whatever cash Clearwire has when the company is finally formed.

Even with the efficiencies that'll come from the new carrier's relationship with majority shareholder Sprint, which will provide collocation at cell tower sites at preferential rates, IT support, IP transport capacity, and an enterprise-focused sales team, that initial cash pile will likely be used up by mid-2010, by which time Clearwire hopes to have 110 million people covered with its WiMax service.

As a result, Sprint and Clearwire believe the new Clearwire will need further funding of between $2 billion and $2.3 billion, which it will seek "opportunistically" from the capital markets as needed.

If all goes to plan, that would enable the company to fund its initial buildout, which it sees covering up to 140 million people by the end of 2010 and, ultimately, more than 200 million U.S. citizens after that.

That's a plan that will come under intense scrutiny, given Sprint's previous WiMax coverage timelines: In August 2007 it said it would have 19 markets covered with WiMax services by the end of April 2008, and have 100 million within service range by the end of 2008, yet the operator is yet to declare the service available. (See Sprint & Samsung in NYC WiMax Push.)

In the meantime, Sprint has other issues to contend with, including speculation about potential takeover offers and the future of its iDEN network. (See Sprint: 4G & M&A Still Unclear and Sprint 'Committed' to iDEN .)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
wap545
50%
50%
wap545,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:41:20 PM
re: Clearwire: We'll Kick LTE's Butt
Until the new Clearwire deploys a AWS or a White Space based WiMAX network Verizon Wireless LTE network, when deployed, will effectively put them out of business. LTE and 700Mhz will allow VW and AT&T to provide universal true 4G type coverage nationwide.
The New Clearwire will focus on major Metro/Urban markets where they can leverage the Multipath nature of OFDM-Rural will come later if ever in 2.5Ghz..
Nobody is talking about the limitation any Wireless Network based on 2.5Ghz network will have with the absorbtion properties of Foliage in a serious carrier grade Wireless Nationwide network, especially in Rural markets.
Sprint has always focused its Cell (EV-DO) network in major Urban markets and left much of the coverage lacking in Rural areas other then the desert far West.

These folks are using 2.5Ghz because they own it Nationwide and want to get a network underway ASAP, which makes a great deal of financial near term sense.
Intel and the MSO will eventually influence the major players (Sprint and Clearwire) to move off of 2.5Ghz ASAP. The MSO have a great deal of AWS Spectrum that would work nicely with WiMAX and there are many spectrum owners with AWS that would be willing to work with (Partner) the New Clearwire nationwide.
Some one need to ask Intel, on the record, how long it would take them to deploy a AWS, 700Mhz or even White Space based Centrino product for WiMAX.

Jim (aka Jacomo)
lrmobile_jepovic
50%
50%
lrmobile_jepovic,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:41:16 PM
re: Clearwire: We'll Kick LTE's Butt
At 2.5 Ghz, it's practically line-of-sight to get the bandwidths that Clearwire predict. Plus outside antenna, etc. The laws of physics do apply to Wimax as well.

One could add that LTE will have a huge advantage in terms of terminals. Laptops will surely handle both, but I doubt there will be much interest from the vendors in creating handsets for such a marginal market.

Clearwire will compete from day one with the Wifi & fixed broadband (DSL or cable) combo that most people use today, plus the HSDPA services. They will get 2 years time before LTE arrives, if they can convert slideware into services.

And that's the US, where the spectrum allocation is in Wimax's favor. In other countries, where HSPA is already widespread and the spectrum allocation is less favourable, mobile Wimax has absolutely no chance.

So yes, mobile Wimax is the new CDMA. Except I think it will peak at 2% rather than 20% global market share.
freetoair
50%
50%
freetoair,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:41:16 PM
re: Clearwire: We'll Kick LTE's Butt
The comparison with LTE has gotten ahead of itself. Theory is one thing - reality is another.

Frankly HSPA is kicking WiMAX's butt right now in terms of subscriber reach and is / will be shown to be competitive with WiMAX in terms of throughput. Show me some real-world, loaded system results for WiMAX .16e? Not there. But it is pretty clear for HSPA.

Verizon/ATT will continue to grow. At least Sprint got XOHM off thier balance sheet (apparently). But now what?

As for Clearwire - big mountain to climb.
Look at Korea for example...KTF HSPA nationwide, KT WiBro in part of Seoul. KTF has millions of subs on HSPA while KT WiBro has a ~150k subs. Upgrade to HSPDA did not require any need site buildouts. Wibro is all new sites.

So Clearwire will spend $B to build out network 2.5GHz - meanwhile HSPA contniues and as Jacomo points out 700MHz is available in the future.

Got to hand it to Intel -- they are the "Hillary" of WiMAX. But at some point you have to face reality.
freetoair
50%
50%
freetoair,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:41:15 PM
re: Clearwire: We'll Kick LTE's Butt
well said.
AllKindsOfThings
50%
50%
AllKindsOfThings,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:40:57 PM
re: Clearwire: We'll Kick LTE's Butt
... ah - thanks. I aways wanted to know where the terminology "hllarious" came from ;-)

Clearwire, Nextel and even Intel might be confronted with the results of overly succesfull marketing. They might have put somewhat more on the plate than they can swallow.

Being Icons for their respective US markets does even stand in the way to undersztand that several key proportions of the global market are not today and will also not for the foreseable time be defined by a US centric approaches.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
LRTV Interviews
In the Cloud With Telecom Italia

3|5|15   |   7:10   |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders sits down with Telecom Italia's Simone Battiferri at Mobile World Congress to discuss virtualization, agility and the economic advantages of the cloud.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
New Ways of Working

3|5|15   |   4:24   |   (0) comments


At the ICT Leaders Roundtable, hosted jointly by Light Reading and Huawei at the Hotel Renaissance in Barcelona just prior to Mobile World Congress, Hong Kong Telecom's Michael Yue explains how the transformation in its business has changed its customer relationships.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bridging the Digital Gap

3|5|15   |   4:03   |   (0) comments


At the ICT Leaders Roundtable, hosted jointly by Light Reading and Huawei at the Hotel Renaissance in Barcelona just prior to Mobile World Congress, Boingo's Dr. Derek Peterson explains how ICT can help telcos bring the physical and virtual worlds closer together.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Making the Internet of Things Affordable

3|5|15   |   2:42   |   (0) comments


At the ICT Leaders Roundtable, hosted jointly by Light Reading and Huawei at the Hotel Renaissance in Barcelona just prior to Mobile World Congress, Telefonica's Dr. Mike Short explains how the Internet of Things demands a new low-cost approach to connectivity from telcos.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Evolution, Not Revolution

3|5|15   |   2:00   |   (0) comments


At the ICT Leaders Roundtable, hosted jointly by Light Reading and Huawei at the Hotel Renaissance in Barcelona just prior to Mobile World Congress, Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan explains why telcos can't be too hasty in their efforts to transform themselves.
LRTV Custom TV
Management & Orchestration Enablement Strategies Required for NFV Commercial Success

3|5|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


NFV commercial success rests on successful service orchestration strategies which can span heterogeneous physical, virtual, legacy and next-gen networks. Network data and security integrity are additional key aspects. Nakina provides a suite of orchestratable network integrity applications built on an open, scalable MANO enablement platform.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Power of Five Convergences in OceanStor OS

3|4|15   |   6:24   |   (0) comments


OceanStor OS is Huawei's brand-new storage operating system. While inheriting the consistent high stability, reliability and performance from the company's previous storage products, OceanStor OS abounds in new converged storage features. Specifically, the new storage operating system achieves "five convergences" to lift storage convergence to a higher level.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
4K Brings Extreme Video Experience

3|4|15   |   8:10   |   (0) comments


4K video is a hot topic in the video industry. It will certainly bring an extreme video experience to end users. At the same time, however, it will also pose a big challenge to operators. Check out this Huawei 4K experts' discussion about how operators can achieve success in 4K video service.
LRTV Interviews
DT's Virtualization Vision for Europe

3|4|15   |   10:23   |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders talks virtualization, cloudification and standards with Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg at Mobile World Congress.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE's Wireline at MWC 2015

3|4|15   |   6:35   |   (0) comments


Light Reading speaks with Jane Chen, ZTE's Senior VP of Wireline Business, about innovations in her product line at Mobile World Congress.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE at MWC 2015

3|4|15   |   4:24   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dick Chen of ZTE USA gives Light Reading an overview of what's new at ZTE's pavilion at Mobile World Congress 2015.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson CEO Talks Telco Data Center Tech

3|4|15   |   05:45   |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg discusses telco data center technology, business models, small cells and more.
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
Internet Pioneers Decry Title II Rules
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/2/2015
Wheeler: We'll Enforce Title II 'Case-By-Case'
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 3/3/2015
New CenturyLink CTO in Major Overhaul
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/4/2015
Verizon Takes Radio Dot to Detroit, VoLTE Overseas
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders talks transformation and virtualization – including Light Reading's independent testing of the vendor's virtualization solutions – with Cisco CEO John Chambers at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.