According to Fierce Wireless, WiMAX turned Long Term Evolution (LTE) operator Clearwire has slashed the number of Time Duplex Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) sites it plans to deploy from 5,000 to 2,000 by mid-2013. The company has indicated that the reduction is necessary to better align its buildout with that of co-owner Sprint Nextel. Sprint plans to offload excess LTE data traffic onto Clearwire’s network. CEO Erik Prusch commented: ‘This is prudent and it preserves cash so we don’t build in advance of the revenue stream’. However, Clearwire has not provided additional details on how it intends to eliminate the extra 3,000 sites from the plan.
Elsewhere, earlier this month Leap Wireless inaugurated its LTE network in Las Vegas, Nevada, its second 4G market. The operator previously launched LTE in Tucson, Arizona, as a test market, in December 2011. Leap hopes to cover around 21 million people with LTE by year-end and two-thirds of its current network footprint by 2015. The company will aim to strike LTE roaming deals with other carriers to fill in the gaps in its coverage as it focuses on building out LTE to the parts of its network where it will generate a strong return.
In a separate development Space Data Corporation and Lemko Corporation have announced the successful deployment of the world’s first satellite-based commercial LTE network. The network was deployed in Atqasuk, Alaska and offers subscribers mobile broadband data speeds of up to 70Mbps. The LTE-over-satellite platform has been enabled by Lemko’s patented distributed mobile wireless network (DiMoWiNe) software solution.
Meanwhile, Oregon-based Bend Broadband has confirmed that it has extended its LTE network, which went live in May this year, to Southern Deschutes County following the installation of a new cell tower in Wampus Butte, west of La Pine. The telco claims that it now covers a number of areas lacking any form of broadband connectivity, including Ponderosa Pines, Wagon Trails, LaPine State Recreation area and other rural areas west of La Pine.
Finally, Cellcom customers in the southern and eastern parts of Marathon County now have LTE coverage, the company has announced, highlighting towns such as Mosinee, Aniwa, Bevent, Hatley and Lake DuBay as receiving connectivity. President and CEO Pat Riordan commented: ‘As a company, we are committed to ensuring that our customers in the small cities and rural towns throughout Wisconsin and Upper Michigan have access to the same technology that is found in major metropolitan areas throughout the country’. Cellcom’s LTE network includes cell sites in Green Bay, Door County, Appleton, Oshkosh, Wausau, Manitowoc and parts of Oconto, Shawano and Marinette Counties. Additional cell sites in northeast and central Wisconsin will come online throughout 2012 as Cellcom continues its 4G rollout. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Cellcom became the second Verizon partner to launch under the mobile giant’s ‘LTE in Rural America’ programme when it switched on its 4G network in late-April this year, shortly after the aptly named Pioneer Cellular.