WiMAX provider Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), which plans to deploy an LTE Advanced-ready network by June 2013, will be able to deliver theoretical peak speeds of up to 168 Mbps by 2014, according to CTO John Saw.
Saw told GigaOM that Clearwire plans to use carrier aggregation technology in its forthcoming TD-LTE network to meld together it spectrum holdings into 40 MHz-wide channels. Such a configuration would give Clearwire spectrum channels that would be twice as wide (2 X 10 MHz--i.e. 20 MHz) as the FDD LTE channels being deployed by Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T). (However, Verizon and AT&T's 700 MHz spectrum has much better propagation characteristics than Clearwire' 2.5 GHz spectrum).
Saw that the carrier aggregation technology will not be in commercial products until 2014. "We're going to start with 20 MHz carriers," he said. "When carrier aggregation comes along we will go to 40 MHz, which will essentially leave the competition in the dust."
It should be noted that AT&T has openly talked about using carrier aggregation as well. AT&T has said it will deploy LTE Advanced technology in 2013 and plans to eventually use carrier aggregation technology to glue together the 700 MHz spectrum it spent $1.93 billion acquiring from Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) with its existing AWS, 1900 MHz or 850 MHz spectrum holdings. AT&T has said it will cost an additional $1 billion to $2 billion to integrate Qualcomm's spectrum with its own.
For carriers, carrier aggregation technology holds potentially large benefits. By bonding non-contiguous spectrum into a single, wider channel, carriers can address the asymmetry of data flows between downlink and uplink channels. The data traffic that is growing the fastest is video, and it is asymmetrical traffic. As such, carrier aggregation helps operators efficiently manage these downlink flows.
- see this GigaOM article
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