says its TD-LTE plans remain unchanged despite a major setback at key
technology partner China Mobile, whose mobile broadband plans could be delayed
by the Chinese government’s plan to hold off on granting licenses for the
two companies have been working together on devices and
testing for TD-LTE, the development of which is less mature than the FDD-LTE
standard used by operators like AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
Mobile’s adoption of the technology has been seen as a key way to advance the
standard, as its 650 million subscribers would give TD-LTE almost instant
economies of scale, which in turn would make it easier for Clearwire to secure
cheaper devices and equipment for its network.
Clearwire appeared undaunted by the recent development.
continues to move forward with our LTE network plans and to participate in our
cooperative arrangement with China Mobile,” a spokeswoman said in a
statement. “LTE remains an important opportunity globally and we expect
manufacturer interest in offering TDD-LTE/FDD-LTE options, like Qualcomm’s Gobi
Modem, to remain high.”
which plans to use Clearwire’s TD-LTE network to supplement its own LTE
service, said it “doesn’t anticipate any impact to Clearwire’s rollout of
Mobile said just last month it planned to begin large-scale trials of TD-LTE
with the installation of 20,000 base stations in nine cities this year. In
2013, it plans to have a total of 200,000 TD-LTE base stations up and running.
late last week reports surfaced that the
Chinese government planned to delay issuing TD-LTE licenses for two to three
years as it waited to build up scale for its home-grown TD-SCDMA standard,
which has failed to gain widespread adoption outside China.
Mobile could not be reached for comment.
Group Analyst Ken Rehbehn says it’s “very unfortunate news” for China
Mobile, but less so for Clearwire.
may be a negative impact on the ecosystem because of the announcement, but it’s
mitigated by the fact that there are other networks moving forward with
TD-LTE,” he says, citing the technology’s growth in markets like India,
Japan and the Middle East. “The impact would be possibly a reduced variety
of devices – but I don’t think that’s a big problem for Clearwire.”
said he was surprised by the Chinese government’s decision, as it has been a
top proponent of TD-LTE in the past. China Mobile’s trials could be
stalled or scaled down by the move, he says.
technology came to the market largely at the behest of Chinese technology
experts,” he says. “This should really be the poster child technology
for China. It’s very surprising that the government would take steps to retard
the deployment of what is largely a home grown technology.”
is reserving his final judgment until the Chinese government makes its
licensing stance official. “Until the government puts out a formal policy
statement, it would be a mistake to leap to the conclusion that this is in fact
what happens,” he says.