Intel puts its money where the LTE is

Computer chip kingpin Intel is investing heavily in LTE, buying patents and initiating a collaborative effort on TD-LTE with Huawei.

Last Friday, Aware disclosed that it had agreed to sell a portfolio of patents for LTE, Wi-Fi and wireline home networking to Intel for $75 million. Aware supplies software and technology to the biometrics, telecommunications and healthcare industries.

Also on Friday, Intel and Huawei announced they will collaborate on advancing the TD-LTE standard by establishing a joint lab based in China for interoperability testing services. "The collaboration will utilize Huawei's expertise in LTE-TDD network infrastructure technologies and Intel's mobile communication platforms to speed up the deployment of LTE-TDD," said the companies. Intel will connect directly to Huawei infrastructure to carry out end-to-end testing of its mobile platforms in a real-life environment.

"We are committed to working together with partners in China to build a healthy LTE-TDD ecosystem within China and even beyond," said W.K Tan, vice president of the Intel architecture group and head of Intel's mobile and communications group (MCG) in China.

Intel formed the MCG in mid-December 2011 to focus on phones, tablets and other mobile devices. The single group encompasses what were previously four separate Intel units: Intel mobile communications, mobile wireless group, netbook and tablet group and the ultra mobility group.

In the mid 2000s, Intel began investing billions of dollars in WiMAX, including an equity stake in WiMAX operator Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) and heavy funding for WiMAX chips that Intel hoped would become standard issue in mobile devices from smartphones to laptops. But as WiMAX's prospects for mass consumer adoption worldwide have faded, Intel, like Clearwire, has turned its eye toward LTE, particularly TD-LTE, which China is backing.

Last year, Clearwire and China Mobile committed to joint interoperability testing of TD-LTE networks to accelerate the deployment of compatible devices. Clearwire last week said it will deploy 5,000 TD-LTE hotspot sites in 31 top-tier markets by June 2013. Those markets include New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle.

For more:
- see this Wall Street Journal article (sub. req.)
- see this ZDNet article
- see this Cellular News article
- see this Telecom Tiger article

Related articles:
Intel wants to enlist wireless carriers as partners in mobile push
Clearwire to launch 5K TD-LTE hotspots in 31 markets by June 2013
China Mobile launching LTE this week in Hong Kong
Sprint: We won't have any problem marketing LTE
Clearwire unfazed by Chinese delay on TD-LTE licenses