Sequans, Clearwire collaborating on TD-LTE devices

Sequans Communications and Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) are expected to announce today a collaboration agreement targeted at accelerating the availability of devices for Clearwire's planned TD-LTE network.

The companies, which aim to also optimize the user experience for Clearwire's customers, will collaborate on performance testing and certification, standards development and the creation of devices to support multi-band, multi-mode TD-LTE and FDD-LTE solutions.

Paris-based chipmaker Sequans was founded in 2003 to address the WiMAX market but expanded its focus to LTE in early 2009. Sequams and Clearwire have a long-standing relationship in the WiMAX ecosystem. "As the chip provider for numerous market-leading smartphones running on Clearwire's current 4G network, Sequans has been a major enabler of our growth," said John Saw, Clearwire's CTO.

"Continuing the successful relationship begun under their current 4G network configuration into TD-LTE makes perfect sense for our two companies. We are very pleased to continue our collaboration with Clearwire," Georges Karam, Sequans CEO. 

Sequans notes that it was one of the first chipmakers to provide China Mobile with working silicon for the May 2010 launch of its TD-LTE demonstration network in Shanghai. The vendor's technology was approved by China's MIIT for use in China and was also used in one of China Mobile's six major commercial trials. Sequans' TD-LTE technology is operating in commercial networks in Brazil and Australia.

Clearwire's shift from WiMAX to LTE has weighed heavily on Sequans' financials. The chipmaker lost $9 million during the first quarter of 2012, down from an operating profit of $2.3 million one year earlier. The vendor's first-quarter 2012 revenues of $4.1 million represented an 84 percent decrease from revenues in the prior-year period. In releasing its first quarter results late last month, Sequans said, "The primary reason for the decrease was the absence of sales to the company's historically largest customer, following changes in the WiMAX market in the United States in the second half of 2011."

Clearwire's LTE network will operate according to the 3GPP Band 41 specification, which aligns to Clearwire's 2.6 GHz spectrum frequency. Clearwire has said it expects multi-band, multi-mode TD-LTE devices that can run on its network will become commercially available in 2013. The operator is slated to deploy 5,000 TD-LTE hotspot sites by June 2013 in 31 top-tier markets, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle.

For more:
- see this Clearwire and Sequans release

Related releases:
Intel puts its money where the LTE is
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Clearwire to launch 5K TD-LTE hotspots in 31 markets by June 2013
Sprint adds 1.5M iPhones in Q1, will bring WiMAX to prepaid brands
Sprint to deploy LTE in iDEN spectrum in 2014
Sequans says LTE more important than WiMAX in the long term