Clearwire, China Mobile to start joint TDD-LTE interoperability tests

Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) and China Mobile will conduct joint interoperability testing for TDD-LTE networks to accelerate the deployment of TDD-LTE devices.

The two companies, in conjunction with the Global TD-LTE Initiative, announced common test specifications and joint interoperability testing for TDD-LTE devices for frequencies including 2.3 GHz to 2.7 GHz. The carriers will establish testing labs featuring a joint test platform and interoperability environment for TDD-LTE devices; Clearwire said it will conduct its testing in Phoenix and Herndon, Va. Clearwire and China Mobile said the labs will allow for the evaluation and qualification of commercial TDD-LTE devices simultaneously in the U.S., China, and other markets, using common testing methodology, equipment and infrastructure.

The agreement builds on a partnership Clearwire and China Mobile inked in September 2010 to accelerate the TDD-LTE ecosystem. Clearwire hopes to use China Mobile's scale to help build support for TDD-LTE devices. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and even Clearwire partner Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) are all supporting LTE networks in the FDD configuration. Clearwire has indicated that there will be chipsets in the market this year that support both FDD and TDD networks, and Clearwire and Sprint have agreed to work together to support the ecosystem for TDD-LTE in Band Class 41 for devices, chipsets and standards.

"The unmatched spectrum portfolio underlying Clearwire's planned LTE network has the potential to deliver faster speeds and with greater capacity than any current or proposed 4G network in the United States," Clearwire CTO John Saw said in a statement. Clearwire LTE testing in 2010 showed download speeds of up to 90 Mbps.

Clearwire raised a total of $734 million in December in stock offerings, which it said it will use to deploy TDD-LTE service. Sprint envisions using Clearwire's LTE buildout to augment its own FDD-LTE network, which Sprint expects to launch in 10 markets by mid-year using its 5X5 G Block of 1900 MHz PCS spectrum.

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