Sprint, Clear Ready Set GO: Is LTE on the Horizon?

wimax-vs-lte

on May 24, 2011   |   17 comments

As smart phones are on a mission to dominate the wireless world, there is an increased need for speed. As penetration of these devices really starts to gain momentum, it changes all things in its path. Last year Google changed its mantra to “mobile first” and that should be enough to show where we are headed, and fast.

If you want to stay in the lead, follow the leader. Currently about 36 percent of all mobile phones in the US are smart phones, and that number is changing by the minute. Every time there is a new report on changes in the percentage of smart phone users, Google has new numbers as to how search is changing. More and more people are searching from their mobile, for things in their local market.

Carriers are also seeing this, and wonder if their capacity will suffice. Clear just handed off their 4G management to Ericsson, and they are leaders in their field.  Sprint has also let Ericsson manage their network. As smartphones are starting to penetrate in every way, the networks are feeling the strain on their ability to serve up the kind of speed needed to maintain a happy consumer experience.

After Clear made the announcement last week to outsource their 4G management to Ericsson, this press from camp clearClearwire COO sees LTE switch on horizon, but details cloudy.  And then this news today from Fierce Wireless: FCC to consider proposal that could boost Clearwire network speeds.

I do see team Sprint/Clear laying the groundwork for some big news here. Twenty MHz channels at 2.5 GHz going forward with an LTE path… Wow, that is one large piece of data pipe. Sprint does have some serious integration and migration work ahead of them. They are working with bands in the 800MHz, 1.9GHz, 2.5GHz, CDMA, WIMAX and LTE. I, for one, am glad I don’t have the headache of trying to come up with a solution that works with their devices as well. However they do have masters of the trade at the helm with Ericsson.

When Clear is ready to make a final announcement on their technology of choice, I suspect it will be some sort of combo play as they will need to migrate from one technology to another. There are tests going on in Malaysia to try to come up with a solution that is a combination of  Wimax and LTE, but from what I’m understanding, they can only be used non-simultaneously at the moment. Sprint is using equipment that will allow them to go with any technology they choose, and that’s good, as they are rich with many. I do think we will see some news on this front soon, as technology waits for no one.

Never count Sprint or Clear as out of the game, they are just getting started. The LTE camps currently only have 20MHz for their 4G. Clear has 140MHz and in this case bigger is better.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael May 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Kobe, very well put, however Beceem and Sequans have already devoloped 4G radio chipsets that are WiMax and LTE compatible, enabling roaming between both platforms.  As you have stated “technology waits for no one.”  Clearwire’s opting to have its networks managed by Ericsson and its reshuffling of its top brass and board of directors is a manifestation of its inevitable merger with Sprint.  Lately, they have moved in lockstep with Sprint and appear to be much closer than ever on the idea of a merger.  Both companies have indicated that they are technology agnostic and I suspect that they will straddle the fence between WiMax and LTE out of expediency, which IMHO bodes well for both companies.

Kobe Wadsworth May 24, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Thanks Michael, I would guess these chips are already embedded in the devices,  and if not, they clearly should be. Seeding the device market now, would just be a smart move. As you stated Sequins, and Quanta, Beceem, have been dual moding these two technologies for some two or three years now.

And this would not add to the price of the chipsets but a fiew dollars. My guess is the chips are in the devices today. And if their not, they need to get to work on that. At least a year before the actual buildout starts.

Kobe Wadsworth May 24, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Thanks Michael, I would guess these chips are already embedded in the devices,  and if not, they clearly should be. Seeding the device market now, would just be a smart move. As you stated Sequins, and Quanta, Beceem, have been dual moding these two technologies for some two or three years now.

And this would not add to the price of the chipsets but a fiew dollars. My guess is the chips are in the devices today. And if their not, they need to get to work on that. At least a year before the actual buildout starts.

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