Clearwire upping speeds; schedules 7 more markets
Clearwire Communications identified the next set of markets for where its WiMAX service will become available; they will be Los Angeles, Miami, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Salt Lake City.
Clear expects to begin service in those markets toward the end of the year. In the nearer term, the company will be launching service in New York City, Houston, Boston, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Denver, Minneapolis, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sprint, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable will be able to offer their rebranded WiMAX service shortly after Clearwire makes it available.
Clearwire also outlined a series of advancements in network architecture that will increase capacity, enhance data speeds, and improve the energy efficiency of its thousands of base stations.
Clearwire will expand its cell site capacities by doubling the number of transmitters and receivers per site, thereby boosting potential end user speeds by approximately 20-30 percent (currently the company says its data rates range from 3 Mbps to 6 Mbps).
Upgrades will be made on a rolling basis and have already been completed in some of the company’s existing markets, including Seattle, Honolulu and Maui, the company said.
As for backhaul, ongoing enhancements are expected to increase total backhaul capacity by 250 percent or more, with long-term capability to support gigabit per second speeds in high-density, high-traffic areas, Clearwire said.
Clearwire also announced that it has begun trials in Chicago of its first high-efficiency “green” base station cabinets. This new generation of base station cabinets is capable of achieving up to 90 percent reduction in electrical operating expenses and would not require the use of HVAC equipment in the majority of the company’s nationwide deployment. Following completion of the trials, the new base station designs are expected to be introduced throughout the Clearwire network.
Also, the company announced its support for the forthcoming Apple iPad, via that device’s wi-fi connectivity. Serving the iPad allowed Clearwire to tweak AT&T, which has come under fire for lacking the network capacity to handle the huge increase in data traffic represented by iPhone users.
Clearwire said “consumers unsatisfied with the speeds and limitations of 3G networks, or the need to seek out Wi-Fi hotspots, can use the upcoming Apple iPad on Clearwire’s open 4G network. With the portable and battery-powered Clear Spot, any off-the-shelf Wi-Fi device (compatible with 802.11b/g) – including the Apple iPad – can experience 4G wireless speeds at home or on the go.”
Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow used the occasion to indulge in a bit of crowing: “Across our 4G markets today, we’re experiencing data usage levels that could shake the rest of the wireless industry to its core. On average, our mobile 4G customers are using more than seven gigabytes of data per month, and we’re very pleased about the implications. Those who want to have a misguided debate about competing 4G radio technologies are missing the bigger picture. To deliver true mobile broadband requires deep spectrum resources and an all-IP network, and Clearwire remains unrivaled on both fronts,” he said.
“In fact, the efficiency of our IP-network and scale of our spectrum holdings have not only enabled us to launch our own successful Clear service,” Morrow continued, “but they have enabled us to become the 4G ‘Network of Networks,’” Morrow said. “Whether customers sign up for 4G service through us, Sprint, Comcast, or Time Warner Cable, it is our network and our spectrum making it all possible. And, we continue to look ahead. Today, we announced advancements across markets, devices, and our network, that we believe will continue to keep Clearwire at the forefront of 4G leadership and innovation.”