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Clearwire’s 4G LTE Plans Taking Shape

Bellevue, Wash.
– Clearwire will initially roll out 4G LTE service in 31 key urban areas
beginning early next year through the first half, the company announced.

The first cities
will include New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle.
The names of the other 31 metro areas weren’t revealed, but all will be “major
urban centers where demand for 4G mobile broadband access is high and the need
for deep 4G capacity resources is most acute,” the company said.

The carrier
didn’t reveal plans to expand LRE beyond the 31 markets.

Meantime, the
carrier announced a 36 percent first-quarter gain in total revenues to $332.6
million, a 35 percent decline in operating losses to $421.9 million, and a 67
percent drop in net subscriber additions to 586,000.

Clearwire is
transitioning its 4G service from Mobile WiMAX to faster LTE service and will
continue to offer WiMAX as it rolls out LTE. Clearwire sells 4G WiMAX service
on a retail and wholesale basis, and its wholesale customers include Sprint, FreedomPop, Simplexity and
NetZero. Sprint also recently announced plans to resell Clearwire’s 2.5GHz WiMAX
service under Sprint’s Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile prepaid brands.

Carriers that have already signed
contracts to resell Clearwire’s 2.5GHz LTE service are prepaid carrier Leap
Wireless and Sprint. Both carriers are launching their own LTE networks but
will use WiMAX’s network to provide extra capacity. Leap, for example, is
expanding its 4G LTE network from Tucson, Ariz., to markets reaching a
population of up to 25 million by year’s end, followed by further expansion in
two to three years to about two-thirds of its current network footprint.

Clearwire hasn’t
said whether it would offer LTE service on a retail basis, though it currently
retails its WiMAX service under the Clear brand in the 80 markets in which it
operates its WiMAX network, covering around 132 million people.