NEW ORLEANS – Clearwire continues it march towards an LTE future, announcing this morning at the CTIA trade show that it had signed a deal with Qualcomm to produce a chipset supporting the carrier’s Band 41 radio frequency in the 2.5 GHz band.
Clearwire and Qualcomm noted that the band support would show up in chipsets later this year, with Clearwire noting it expects smartphones embedded with those chipsets ready to hit the market by mid-2013.
The move is expected to help Clearwire extend the availability of devices compatible with its planned TDD-LTE network that it’s scheduled to begin rolling out in early 2013. The move is also expected to bolster Sprint Nextel’s LTE plans as the carrier has announced a strong reliance on Clearwire’s LTE plans to provide capacity enhancements in densely populated areas.
The announcement followed news earlier this week that Clearwire had reached an agreement with Sequans to work on TDD-LTE “ecosystem” development. Sequans was one of Clearwire’s first chipset partners in the WiMAX space.
Clearwire President and CEO Erik Prusch noted in a meeting with RCR Wireless News that the carrier’s agreement with China Mobile to boost work with TDD-LTE. Prusch added that support for Band 41 should continue to grow as it remains the only globally unified spectrum band to support LTE services.
Prusch also noted that the carrier was comfortable with its current financial position working towards its LTE deployment, but that potential spectrum sales were still an option. Helping that financial position will be vendor financing agreements Clearwire is expected to announce later this year in connection with its LTE network plans.
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