4G Race Heats Up

By Susan Nunziata — April 30, 2009

Clearwire says it's moving ahead with WiMAX mobile broadband deployments in up to eight major metropolitan areas this year, including Las Vegas, Atlanta and Chicago.

In April 2009, the company started selling the $140 Clear Spot personal hotspot that enables WiFi and WiMAX access. By summer, it plans to offer a dual-mode modem that can  switch between Sprint's 3G cellular network and the Clear 4G mobile WiMAX network.

Verizon Wireless will roll out its  competing 4G LTE service in the U.S. beginning in  2010. Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent are primary network vendors for Verizon's initial LTE network deployments in the U.S.

LTE will be one of the key wireless access networks linked to the Verizon Wireless IP Multi-Media Subsystem (IMS) network. The IMS network will enable rich multimedia applications regardless of access technology. Verizon plans to offer IMS-based IP converged applications and services on its wireless and landline broadband networks.

In-Stat's report, "The Road To 4G: LTE and WiMAX Lead The Way," predicts that LTE will have 23.1 million subscriptions in 2013, up from about 176,000 in 2010.

Clearwire says it will have WiMAX available to 120 million Americans in 80 markets by the end of next year. Nearly 82 million mobile PCs with WiMAX will ship in 2013, according to In-Stat.

Clearwire expects nearly 100 mobile WiMAX devices -- such as laptops, netbooks, handhelds, USBs and modems -- to be available to customers by year's end. Samsung debuted its Mondi WiMAX handset at the CTIA Exhibition in April 2009.

Cities set for Clearwire's WiMAX 2009 rollouts are: Atlanta, Las Vegas, Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Honolulu, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Launches in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Houston and the San Francisco Bay Area are planned for 2010.

Verizon is also creating the Verizon LTE Innovation Center, in Waltham, MA, which aims to spur early development of non-traditional products for use on LTE networks, such as machine-to-machine technologies.

Utilizing their existing spectrum, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone have been field testing 4G LTE networks in Minneapolis, Columbus, Ohio, and Northern New Jersey. Utilizing its recently acquired 700 MHz spectrum, Verizon Wireless will expand trials this summer in preparation for the 2010 commercial launch.


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