Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) struck a partnership in which Qualcomm agreed to add support for Clearwire's TD-LTE frequency to its multi-mode LTE chipsets.
Qualcomm said it will support the frequency by adding the 3GPP's Band 41 (B41) radio frequency to its line of multi-mode LTE chips. The silicon vendor said LTE chipsets supporting the B41 band in combination with other LTE FDD/TDD bands are scheduled for commercial availability later this year.
The partnership with Qualcomm comes hot on the heels of Sequans Communications and Clearwire announcing a collaboration agreement targeted at accelerating the availability of devices for Clearwire's planned TD-LTE network. The companies 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.
Taken together, the announcements demonstrate that Clearwire is working to lay the foundation for devices that will run on its 2.5 GHz spectrum when it launches TD-LTE service. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) are launching LTE networks using the FDD variant, and the market for FDD chipsets and devices is, at this point, larger than for TD-LTE devices. Clearwire has been working with a range of partners, including China Mobile, to develop the TD-LTE ecosystem and ensure that TD-LTE chipsets will be compatible with FDD LTE networks so that its network and devices are not orphaned as more carriers move to LTE and the market matures.
Clearwire has said it will deploy 5,000 of its TD-LTE hotspot sites in 31 top tier markets by June 2013. Those markets include New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle. More cities will be announced at a later date.
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