Clearwire (s CLWR), the wireless broadband company, on Wednesday announced that it is trying out a new LTE-Advanced-based network that would allow it to offer a network with speeds of 120 Mbps. To our readers, it wouldn’t come as a surprise — both Stacey and I have reported on the eventual move to LTE for Clearwire. It was more than a year ago when we first got the whiff of this likely LTE trial.
In an October 2009 post, Colin Gibbs noted that “Clearwire is locked into WiMAX — and barred from deploying LTE — until late 2011 under terms of a deal with its biggest investor, Intel.” Well time is up on that deal and it is hardly a surprise that the company is seriously and publicly contemplating a LTE move.
The question is when will they make the switch? I asked Clearwire if they had a concrete timeline as to when they would roll out the new network and if, they would sunset the WiMAX network anytime soon. The message from Kirkland, Washington headquarters of Clearwire was pretty succinct:
We plan to continue operating the WiMAX network for a period to continue serving the millions of subscribers still using that network. There’s no timeline for a sunset. We don’t have a launch date for LTE as it is contingent on additional funding.
What that means is that you can continue to use their network and your old WiMAX based devices if you are a customer of Clearwire or one of their partners, Sprint (s S) and Comcast (s CMCSA) for example.
Check out our previous Clearwire + LTE coverage:
- May 2009: Clearwire: We don’t need no stinking LTE
- October 2009: Clearwire married to WiMAX for two more years.
- May 2010: Clearwire may dump WiMAX
- October 2010: Clearwire hits 90 Mbps in LTE trials.
- October 2010: Sprint CEO – Our 4G strategy is WiMAX. Full stop!