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4G/3G/WiFi

Clearwire's LTE TDD Buddy System

Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) is working with China Mobile Communications Corp. to ensure that new Long Term Evolution Time Division Duplex (LTE TDD) devices work across both operators' faster 4G networks as they arrive this year.

Clearwire and China Mobile said Tuesday that they have agreed on LTE TDD device test specifications and a joint interoperability testing plan. The Clearwire network and China Mobile use the same 2.5GHz spectrum for LTE TDD, which differs from traditional cellular service by timing delivery of the up and down signals over a single channel rather than two, so working on better interoperability makes good sense for Clearwire. (See China Mobile, Clearwire Team for TD-LTE Device Tests.)

"You should be able to test a device in Seattle and have it work in Beijing," John Saw, CTO of Clearwire, tells Light Reading Mobile.

The agreement should give Clearwire access to a large pool of TDD devices as they start to go live this year and in 2013. Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. already launched the multi-mode LTE TDD personal hotspot at CES. (See Huawei Unveils LTE TDD Wi-Fi Device.) Saw says that his team has largely been focused on the LTE TDD deployment plans so far. He isn't giving any new info on timing yet but expects the company to say more on its earnings call in a few weeks.

"It'll take us approximately 12 months to convert an existing market to LTE," Saw explains, saying the company will work on a number of markets concurrently.

The company hasn't yet announced any suppliers for its LTE update. Huawei would seem to be a potential choice, since it worked with Clearwire on the Phoenix LTE trials. (See Clearwire's LTE Clues.)

Huawei, however, makes some in the U.S. government nervous. The Chinese vendor has reportedly been blocked from stateside deals before. (See Huawei, ZTE Probed by Intelligence Agency.)

"We're aware of the problems," Saw says, adding that Huawei is being considered along with other vendors for the LTE deal.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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