Sprint Nextel’s Iyad Tarazi said the company will be more targeted with Clearwire’s TD-LTE service than it was on WiMAX. Tarazi, vice president of Sprint’s network development and engineering, made his comments during a Wells Fargo investor event, and was joined onstage by Clearwire CTO John Saw.
At the Wells Fargo Securities 2012 Wireless Spectrum Symposium, Tarazi made clear that Sprint considers its WiMAX efforts a success. He said the company’s LTE efforts with Clearwire will focus more on capacity and less on coverage, reports Fierce Wireless.
Tarazi said Clearwire’s mobile WiMAX network buildout competed with the resources that Sprint could have spent on its own network. With LTE, however, Tarazi said Sprint and Clearwire are working together to drop Clearwire’s LTE base stations in locations where Sprint believes it will need them–rather than building out a network that would fully overlap Sprint’s own LTE network.
“We’re going to pinpoint the [Clearwire] investment where we have the traffic,” Tarazi explained, noting that 30 percent of Sprint’s sites generate 70 percent of its overall traffic.
Clearwire is planning to turn on 5,000 TDD-LTE base stations starting in June of next year. Sprint announced in December 2011 that it would invest up to $1.6 billion into Clearwire, and that it would use Clearwire’s LTE network to supplement its own LTE build.
“The Clearwire spectrum is our way of doing Wi-Fi offload”, explained Tarazi.
In other Clearwire news, the company announced that it signed a “non-binding memorandum of understanding” with China Mobile that will pave the way for TDD-LTE roaming between the two carriers. Clearwire and China Mobile are working together to promote the market for TDD-LTE technology.
China Mobile could deploy as many as 200,000 TD-LTE base stations between now and 2013. Maravedis predicts that by 2016, about one-quarter of the world’s estimated 469 million LTE subscribers will use the time-division version of the technology. Currently, 68 out of 417 devices can operate in the TDD mode.
The Chinese government says smartphones have overtaken the PC as the most popular internet device. The number of users who accessed the Internet from mobile phones rose to 22.2 percent from a year earlier to 388 million, compared with 380 million users who accessed it via a desktop computer. China had more than 538 million Internet users as of the end of June.
China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK) received its Hong Kong LTE-TDD license in February 2012 for the 2330MHz-2360MHz band. This week, ZTE won a contract with China Mobile Hong Kong to construct a LTE-TDD network in the territory. Ericsson also won a TD-LTE China Mobile Hong Kong contract for Hong Kong. The TD-LTE network will complement its existing LTE FDD network.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s SK Telecom had 2.4 million LTE subscribers and a total base of more than 26 million mobile subscribers as of the end of April, making SK Telecom the second largest LTE service provider in the world, after Verizon Wireless.
About 30 percent of South Koreans are expected to move to LTE within a few months. The company is utilizing both its existing 800MHz frequency band (20MHz) and the 1.8GHz band (20MHz) it acquired last year.
With an additional 20MHz uplink/downlink spectrum, it is now using a total of 40MHz for its LTE services. The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) regulator auctioned LTE spectrum across three bands, 800MHz, 1.8GHz and 2.1GHz, last August. SK Telecom (51% market share) and KT Corp (31% market share) control just over 80% of the country’s mobile market, while LG Uplus has a 17.8 percent share.
SK Telecom began full-fledged commercialization on July 1, delivering twice the bandwidth as its competitors. A firmware update enables the Galaxy S3 LTE to be able to support the technology. Most of the smartphones to be released in the second half of 2012 will be built with the multi-carrier technology. SK Telecom plans to complete MC roll-out in Seoul and major areas in six metropolitan cities within the year-end.
SK Telecom, in collaboration with Qualcomm and Nokia Siemens Networks, recently tested a core LTE-Advanced technology called ‘Enhanced Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (eICIC) that coordinates signal interference between macro and pico base stations.