Jump to content

Clearwire to launch LTE June 2013


Recommended Posts

You heard it here first folks, Clear will turn on its TD-LTE network next June which is a short 16 months away. Although it looked like Clearwire just put the money Sprint gave them in the bank to draw intrest, it looks like it was actually being used to deploy a network.

 

Look for 5000 sites for the initial deployment and it will supplement Sprints Network with a complete overlay of its WiMAX network. Good news? I think so. Now if Sprint will just put 800/1900 & 2.5 ghz on its 1st gen LTE phones.

 

http://www.fiercewir...2013/2012-02-15

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've given up hope that there will be 2500-LTE support on any of Sprint's initial LTE phones. And I'm starting to get bearish on 800 LTE support. :unsure:

 

- Robert

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've given up hope that there will be 2500-LTE support on any of Sprint's initial LTE phones. And I'm starting to get bearish on 800 LTE support. :unsure:

 

- Robert

 

If that's the case, I may skip the first round of LTE phones (I was going to pay full price, so not really a killer for me.) I think I'd rather wait till they support at least 1900 and 800mhz. Assuming Network Vision can get the 3G speeds up to a constant 1 to 2 MB download speed.. I'll have no problem waiting for an LTE phone that can take advantage of both the 1900 and 800 mhz spectrum.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've given up hope that there will be 2500-LTE support on any of Sprint's initial LTE phones. And I'm starting to get bearish on 800 LTE support. :unsure:

 

- Robert

 

I would say the "first" LTE devices might not, like the ones already announced. BUT I would venture that if the next HTC flagship device for them is not till late 3rd qtr THEN I'd venture to say that that device MIGHT have support for the 2.5GHz LTE. They provisioned the EVO3D for the 800MHz CDMA when they knew that was well over a year out at least....So using that logic I think its "possible" to see devices provisioned for certain freq long as those are within 2yr window of being active....

 

BUT there is a big ? from me here personally. They state they are doing rollout of LTE by June next yr BUT does it really state that it will actually be on and running?? I just find it confusing how they plan on rolling out LTE on these WiMax locations when Sprint has stated multiple times that they are committed to supporting WiMax through 2015. So if its not really going to be able to be turned on till 2015 then I wont think we would see any sprint LTE devices provisioned for it till 2014...

 

I know they said "overlay WiMax" but I didn't take that as them actually transmitting WiMax & LTE at the same Freq/Spectrum....correct me if I'm wrong in that though...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll be satisfied with an LTE phone if it at least has 800/1900 on it. I'm beginning to think that Clearwire may not be ready with the handoff systems its been working on, especially now that the news is out that its network won't be turned on until next June.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BUT there is a big ? from me here personally. They state they are doing rollout of LTE by June next yr BUT does it really state that it will actually be on and running?? I just find it confusing how they plan on rolling out LTE on these WiMax locations when Sprint has stated multiple times that they are committed to supporting WiMax through 2015. So if its not really going to be able to be turned on till 2015 then I wont think we would see any sprint LTE devices provisioned for it till 2014...

 

I know they said "overlay WiMax" but I didn't take that as them actually transmitting WiMax & LTE at the same Freq/Spectrum....correct me if I'm wrong in that though...

 

In most markets, Clearwire is only using 30MHz for WiMax of an average 150MHz of spectrum holdings. Clearwire has plenty of spectrum to just add TD-LTE carriers to WiMax sites. However, one source from Clearwire told me that they may remove two WiMax carriers and only leave one in places where they deploy TD-LTE. That this is currently under consideration.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In most markets, Clearwire is only using 30MHz for WiMax of an average 150MHz of spectrum holdings. Clearwire has plenty of spectrum to just add TD-LTE carriers to WiMax sites. However, one source from Clearwire told me that they may remove two WiMax carriers and only leave one in places where they deploy TD-LTE. That this is currently under consideration.

 

Okay, thats the one part I didn't know if it was allowed or would work. If they put WiMax and LTE on same Freq just using different blocks of their HUGE spectrum.

 

But now I wanna say I remember reading them doing trials/testing showing WiMax/LTE can work together just fine about a year ago, so that makes sense.

 

So with that said, I'd expect the new LTE phones(NOT the Nexus, hotspot, or the LG one) to hopefully be provisioned to use the 2.5GHz LTE since it will be up in a years time from their launch. Just like the EVO3D provisioned to use 800MHz for CDMA when that was well over a year away from being rolled out...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In most markets, Clearwire is only using 30MHz for WiMax of an average 150MHz of spectrum holdings. Clearwire has plenty of spectrum to just add TD-LTE carriers to WiMax sites. However, one source from Clearwire told me that they may remove two WiMax carriers and only leave one in places where they deploy TD-LTE. That this is currently under consideration.

 

What I don't get is why does Clearwire need to remove any Wimax carriers at all at this point. They should have enough spectrum to leave the 3 Wimax carriers and also launch two 20 Mhz TD-LTE carriers. Right now Wimax is still used a lot and to reduce the number of Wimax carriers by 66% is such a bad move IMO especially with recent deals for 4G Wimax support that it doesn't make any sense. 1 Wimax carrier would not be able to handle the Sprint Wimax and wholesale customers.

 

Now if we are talking about in 2014, then I get it and agree that since Wimax would be pretty dead by then, reducing the number of Wimax carriers to 1 and refarming that spectrum for another TD-LTE carrier makes sense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I don't get is why does Clearwire need to remove any Wimax carriers at all at this point. They should have enough spectrum to leave the 3 Wimax carriers and also launch two 20 Mhz TD-LTE carriers. Right now Wimax is still used a lot and to reduce the number of Wimax carriers by 66% is such a bad move IMO especially with recent deals for 4G Wimax support that it doesn't make any sense. 1 Wimax carrier would not be able to handle the Sprint Wimax and wholesale customers.

 

Now if we are talking about in 2014, then I get it and agree that since Wimax would be pretty dead by then, reducing the number of Wimax carriers to 1 and refarming that spectrum for another TD-LTE carrier makes sense.

 

The reason why it is being discussed is two fold...

  1. They anticipate there could be a huge reduction of WiMax customers by the time TD-LTE has devices operating on the network. One carrier could possibly carry all the remaining WiMax traffic at that point in Mid 2013. WiMax subscriber numbers are anticipated to be static next quarter. Then the next quarter when Sprint LTE devices start to sell in a big way, WiMax subscribers are expected to begin a significant and steady decline that will never end until WiMax is decommissioned.
  2. WiMax carriers were typically deployed in the choicest spectrum Clearwire has. They are on the frequency sets that they have generally nationwide, in 80%+ of their markets. The remaining unused spectrum is more fractured, especially in EBS. 10MHz here, 10MHz there. The big contiguous 20MHz pieces are not as typical to be found on the same frequency set nationwide. However, where two carriers of WiMax now currently sit are a big contiguous 20MHz piece that runs nearly nationwide. And for the long term, the choicest piece of spectrum real estate you have would be better served for a 20MHz TD-LTE carrier, instead of two WiMax carriers.

So I guess it's possible that they could relocate these two WiMax carriers to other frequencies. But I've been told that Clearwire is now thinking about just scratching these two WiMax carriers altogether. But the determination has yet to be made, AFAIK. And if WiMax performance suffers, they will just probably encourage people to upgrade to a LTE device.

 

EBS spectrum is highly variable. Schools kept chunks for themselves, for their use. And often they were right smack in the middle of the EBS band, with Clearwire getting disjointed chunks on either side. Some schools kept 20MHz, some schools kept more. Some schools divided up chunks with other schools in their network. It's messy and creates some weird spectrum resources in some places. That's what makes the 20MHz chunk that two of the WiMax carriers sit on now so valuable. They are the closest thing that Clearwire has to a nationwide 20MHz chunk. In some other markets, they have several good 20MHz chunks, but then the markets they have that exact frequency set in are nowhere near nationwide. Etc., etc.

 

Sometimes we get hung up on spectrum resources just as an aggregate number. It is a very important part of the discussion to know exactly where that spectrum is and how it can be used. Managing spectrum and network is very difficult. But if you're Clearwire, it's even more difficult. And since Clearwire holds it's EBS spectrum in BTA's (400+), and virtually every one is different, there is no real central source to go to to figure out how much spectrum Clearwire has and where. I started to put that together. However, I got through about 30 BTA's. It was overwhelming and time consuming. And I already have a huge backlog of S4GRU projects that are more important! :deal:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The reason why it is being discussed is two fold...

  1. They anticipate there could be a huge reduction of WiMax customers by the time TD-LTE has devices operating on the network. One carrier could possibly carry all the remaining WiMax traffic at that point in Mid 2013. WiMax subscriber numbers are anticipated to be static next quarter. Then the next quarter when Sprint LTE devices start to sell in a big way, WiMax subscribers are expected to begin a significant and steady decline that will never end until WiMax is decommissioned.
  2. WiMax carriers were typically deployed in the choicest spectrum Clearwire has. They are on the frequency sets that they have generally nationwide, in 80%+ of their markets. The remaining unused spectrum is more fractured, especially in EBS. 10MHz, 10MHz there. The big contiguous 20MHz pieces are not as typical to be found on the same frequency set nationwide. However, where two carriers of WiMax now currently sit are a big contiguous 20MHz piece that runs nearly nationwide. And for the long term, the choicest piece of spectrum real estate you have would be better served for a 20MHz TD-LTE carrier, instead of two WiMax carriers.

So I guess it's possible that they could relocate these two WiMax carriers to other frequencies. But I've been told that Clearwire is now thinking about just scratching these two WiMax carriers altogether. But the determination has yet to be made, AFAIK. And if WiMax performance suffers, they will just probably encourage people to upgrade to a LTE device.

 

EBS spectrum is highly variable. Schools kept chunks for themselves, for their use. And often they were right smack in the middle of the EBS band, with Clearwire getting disjointed chunks on either side. Some schools kept 20MHz, some schools kept more. Some schools divided up chunks with other schools in their network. It's messy and creates some weird spectrum resources in some places. That's what makes the 20MHz chunk that two of the WiMax carriers sit on now so valuable. They are the closest thing that Clearwire has to a nationwide 20MHz chunk. In some other markets, they have a good 20MHz chunk, but then the markets they have that in are less plentiful.

 

Sometimes we get hung up on spectrum resources just as an aggregate number. It is a very important part of the discussion to know exactly where that spectrum is and how it can be used. Managing spectrum and network is very difficult. But if you're Clearwire, it's even more difficult.

 

If that is the case then yeah it makes sense to reduce the number of Wimax carriers so that they have enough contigous spectrum to launch 20 Mhz LTE carrier chunks since LTE is now the top priority. I was fearful that reducing 2 Wimax carriers would provide subpar performance since Wimax isn't that great to begin with already.

 

Definitely I expect to see a steep drop in Wimax usage for people who are coming off of the EVO contracts in June to get LTE phones from this point forward. I am curious to see how much this impacts Clearwire in the interim with such a steep drop in Sprint customers using Wimax and less revenue to be made from them. It won't be for another year from June 2012 until Clearwire lights up their LTE service which is an awfully long time to lose all that revenue from Sprint. Clearwire will need to find another major customers like a MetroPCS or Leap Wireless to help fill the gap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely I expect to see a steep drop in Wimax usage for people who are coming off of the EVO contracts in June to get LTE phones from this point forward. I am curious to see how much this impacts Clearwire in the interim with such a steep drop in Sprint customers using Wimax and less revenue to be made from them. It won't be for another year from June 2012 until Clearwire lights up their LTE service which is an awfully long time to lose all that revenue from Sprint. Clearwire will need to find another major customers like a MetroPCS or Leap Wireless to help fill the gap.

 

The numbers are already out, just not widely known. Clear suffered a drop in WiMAX customers the past quarter and the initial blame is the iPhone. Remember, Clear gets approx. $10 per phone from Sprint, and since just about all Sprint's hi & mid-range phones were WiMAX, Clear was raking in the dough. Now enter the iPhone and Clears percentages begin to drop. Now that Sprint is going to LTE in about 120 days and you can't give a WiMax phone away except for the Epic Touch.

 

Just looking at this scenario, Clear is going to be in trouble again . Thus you hear them trumpeting the addition of new MVNO's and shopping for other wholesale groups. Clear may expect this will be enough to tide them over until next year. I hope so, or they may be forced into bankruptcy. I don't know if Sprint can support that large of a cash infusion to keep them afloat or if Clear has enough cash to keep the engine running until next June. Just my thoughts.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Clear is in trouble unless they can convince carriers like AT&T (which seems very unlikely) to use their spectrum for capacity in markets that are extremely oversold.

 

If every iPhone sold supports clearwire's TD-LTE... it would be stupid for both sides not to come to an agreement.

 

That being said... it IS AT&T and I doubt they would put their their customers first.... but stranger things have happened.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a little more info on what Clears financials are doing that ties in with my previous post. As was mentioned in other conversations, Clearwire was suppose to have plenty of money to do this overlay, and taking over a year to complete a limited version that Sprint wants in lieu of converting the entire network baffles me. I just wonder if trial with the TDD/FDD hand offs are not going as well as planned, or is there some other snag?

 

http://www.cedmagazine.com/news/2012/02/clearwire-boasts-strong-q4-weakness-ahead

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't see why we can't take some of the Clear spectrum and convert it to FDD-LTE. That would unlock some of the hidden value in Clear. Especially if that FDD corresponds to Europe's 2600 band. Can't the Feds just assist and move EBS and BRS government users into the TDD channels that corresponds with Europe's?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't see why we can't take some of the Clear spectrum and convert it to FDD-LTE. That would unlock some of the hidden value in Clear. Especially if that FDD corresponds to Europe's 2600 band. Can't the Feds just assist and move EBS and BRS government users into the TDD channels that corresponds with Europe's?

 

There are significant spectral efficiencies gained in TDD by limiting the uplink channels to be narrower allowing for larger (and faster) downlink channels.

 

When you have a 10x10 FDD carrier, that 10MHz uplink is not being fully utilized. It receives only one third of the traffic as the 10MHz downlink in a modern mobile data network. And not only that, but most of your uplink traffic doesn't even appreciate the larger pipe. In many ways, having 10MHz dedicated to uplink is wasted spectrum.

 

TDD allows for that same entire 20MHz swath to be better utilized, faster download speeds and more spectrum being used and more efficient.

 

For instance, Verizon is using 20MHz of FDD spectrum and installed a 10x10 FD-LTE carrier on it. They get speeds of 20MB download, bursts up to 30MB. Upload speeds of 5MB, bursts to 8MB.

 

However, Clearwire's TD-LTE network out of a 20MHz chunk, is going to perform around 40MB to 50MB download, with bursts even higher. Its true that their upload speed will be limited. They haven't picked a number yet, but it will be between 3MB and 5MB. But this will exceed 95% of their customers needs.

 

Giving more spectrum and a wider allotment to download allows for a lot more spectrum to be used. A lot of uplink spectrum is being wasted. In a voice call world, FDD made a lot of sense. Uplink and downlink were used equally. In a mobile data world, TDD makes much more sense. That's why China is going this way.

 

I do get your point, though. Interoperability is a wonderful thing. And we need to find more ways for LTE networks to be interoperable. However, most major wireless cos don't want interoperabity, even in places of similar spectrum. Just having similar spectrum isn't going to be enough. So the FCC requiring spectrum similarities won't do it on its own. It's going to take the changing of law to mandate it.

 

But I don't want to give up spectral efficiencies for interoperability. Europe should consider TDD for their 2600 spectrum, if anything. And being TDD aligns us with China, India and many other parts of the world. So we aren't in a go-it-alone strategy. It will be Europe that will be the odd duck in this spectrum.

 

S4GRU is now mobile...posted via Forum Runner

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting analysis. It sure helps me to understand more of what is going on. But I would like upload speeds a little faster than that on Clear. I sure wouldn't mind 8MB uploads.

 

Trying to upload videos to YouTube is an annoying and tedious process on what I have now. It would be nice if it were much faster.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting analysis. It sure helps me to understand more of what is going on. But I would like upload speeds a little faster than that on Clear. I sure wouldn't mind 8MB uploads.

 

Trying to upload videos to YouTube is an annoying and tedious process on what I have now. It would be nice if it were much faster.

 

What kind of upload speed do you get with your home ISP? I get 600k. I would be ecstatic 5MB to 8MB upload speeds on Clear's TD-LTE. If they went to a 10x10 FD-LTE, their download speeds would still be under 10MB (because the device cannot upload any faster than that because of the limited broadcast ability of devices), but their download speeds would be lessened and be similar to Verizons. The only real advantage for Clearwire to use FDD for LTE is interoperability with European networks,

:imo:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

What kind of upload speed do you get with your home ISP? I get 600k. I would be ecstatic 5MB to 8MB upload speeds on Clear's TD-LTE. If they went to a 10x10 FD-LTE, their download speeds would still be under 10MB (because the device cannot upload any faster than that because of the limited broadcast ability of devices), but their download speeds would be lessened and be similar to Verizons. The only real advantage for Clearwire to use FDD for LTE is interoperability with European networks,

 

I get 30 mbps download and 2 mbps upload from my cable internet. I used to get 1 mbps. I'd be happy with 5 to 8

 

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't see why we can't take some of the Clear spectrum and convert it to FDD-LTE. That would unlock some of the hidden value in Clear. Especially if that FDD corresponds to Europe's 2600 band. Can't the Feds just assist and move EBS and BRS government users into the TDD channels that corresponds with Europe's?

 

But I don't want to give up spectral efficiencies for interoperability. Europe should consider TDD for their 2600 spectrum, if anything. And being TDD aligns us with China, India and many other parts of the world. So we aren't in a go-it-alone strategy. It will be Europe that will be the odd duck in this spectrum.

 

I am not terribly concerned about TDD/FDD interoperability, and there is no need to convert to FDD mode, as Qualcomm has stated that its nascent chipsets will support both TDD and FDD modes of LTE operation. If that proves true, interoperability will be more a matter of band class than TDD/FDD. And Clearwire is in good position with its BRS/EBS 2600 MHz spectrum (or what analysts seem to be calling worldwide 2.6 GHz).

 

For traditional FDD operation, 2600 MHz is LTE band class 7. For TD-LTE, 2600 MHz is band class 38 or band class 41. But all are included within the same range of spectrum (2496-2690 MHz). And, already, numerous carriers in Europe and Asia have launched LTE band class 7 and/or TD-LTE band class 38 networks. So, 2600 MHz is going to be one of the hotbeds of LTE deployment worldwide.

 

As long as Qualcomm is correct about its chipsets and TDD/FDD support, then I am fairly confident that Clearwire's TD-LTE band class 41 capability will come along for the ride on any handsets that aspire to LTE global roaming. In other words, 2600 MHz band classes should actually be very common on LTE devices worldwide. As such, I am not worried about Sprint's/Clearwire's ability to source compatible devices.

 

AJ

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK AJ, that sounds a lot more promising than what I thought at first. I was envisioning a nightmare scenario where devices didn't work from one continent to the other in the 2600 band. If I remember correctly, TDD is more efficient in spectrum usage, but FDD is generally faster at theoretical maximums.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...