2013 is a long way off yet, but Clearwire is starting to provide a few specific details about its forthcoming LTE network. Yesterday Clearwire announced that its initial launch would include 31 cities, focusing on “Hot Zones,” or large, high-demand markets. Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle were all specifically named. The other 26 markets are, sadly, still anyone’s guess.
It is quite interesting that Clearwire is choosing to go with a delayed massive roll-out rather than a “get it out as quickly as possible” strategy, given how far behind it is and how little financial wiggle room it has. Erik Prusch, President and CEO of Clearwire may have given us a little glimpse into the why, while also bragging on his upcoming network.
“Our new 4G network will show that not all LTE networks are created equal. Clearwire’s LTE Advanced-ready network will deploy our deep spectrum resources for the next great era in mobile broadband in which capacity is king. We’re positioned to bring much needed capacity on a wholesale basis to address the unbridled demand for mobile data and the scarcity of spectrum in major urban and suburban markets.”
It’s not news that Clearwire will be using the TDD-LTE variant, which happens to be far easier to upgrade to LTE-Advanced—the only true 4G as per 4G’s original definitions—at least, that’s what Clearwire claims. Hopefully Clearwire is right, because if it comes out with a network in 2013 that isn’t significantly better, and doesn’t provide service to any new areas, it will be able to commiserate with RIM on Old News Avenue.
As it stands right now, four of the five stated markets are covered by both AT&T and Verizon—Seattle only has Verizon. But hey, if TDD-LTE is as awesome as they say, perhaps it’ll be just the ticket. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing the whole of Clearwire’s spectrum being brought to bear against the giants Big Red and Old Blue. Competition is a good thing.