Clearwire continued closing ties with the world’s largest wireless operator around the TD-LTE standard, announcing today the signing of an agreement with China Mobile to provide for international TD-LTE roaming between China and the United States.
The agreement, officially entitled a “non-binding memorandum of understanding,” calls for the two operators to “collaborate on business and technical aspects of their respective operations to define and institute the process necessary to support international roaming and to ensure the operators’ systems and devices are able to support roaming.” The companies added that they hope the agreement serves as a “blueprint” for future roaming agreements between members of its Global TD-LTE Initiative.
The agreement builds on a previous announcement earlier this year when the two companies agreed on common test specifications and joint interoperability testing for TD-LTE across global band configurations, including the 2.3 GHz to 2.7 GHz bands. Clearwire scored support for its TD-LTE plans earlier this year when Qualcomm said it would produce a chipset supporting the carrier’s Band 41 radio frequency in the 2.5 GHz band.
China Mobile has been working on the TD-LTE standard since early 2011, and earlier this year laid out plans to deploy more than 20,000 TD-LTE equipped base stations by the end of the year.
The companies added that they expect spectrum in the 2.3 GHz to 2.7 GHz range will likely be the bands used worldwide for the deployment of LTE services, and also just happen to be the spectrum bands both operators are using for their respective TD-LTE deployments.
In the United States, initial LTE rollouts are relying on 700 MHz spectrum (Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility), 1.9 GHz spectrum (MetroPCS, Leap Wireless and Sprint Nextel) and 1.7/2.1 GHz spectrum bands expected to be used by T-Mobile USA as well as additional capacity for both Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility. Sprint Nextel, which owns a controlling stake in Clearwire, has said it expects to tap into the carrier’s 2.5 GHz-based TD-LTE network to add capacity for its recently launched FDD-LTE service.
Clearwire holds a dominate position across the United States in regards to the 2.5 GHz band, with the carrier controlling near 150 megahertz of spectrum across that band in some markets. AT&T Mobility recently noted that it was working with satellite radio provider Sirius XM in clearing a path for the carrier to use some of its 2.3 GHz spectrum holdings for commercial mobile services.
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