CHICAGO – “For those who came from the East Coast, we bow to you,” said Joseph Braue, general manager/4G World and executive vice president/group manager at Light Reading Communications Network, as he formally opened this year’s 4G World. Due to the effects of the newly renamed Superstorm Sandy, a few scheduled speakers were being beamed in via the Internet and one – Praveen Atreya, director/Network Technology and head of the Verizon Innovation Center for Verizon Wireless – actually drove the 15 hours from New Jersey to the Windy City to deliver his keynote yesterday.
4G pioneer Clearwire has been in the news lately, but not for its next-gen prowess (for more information, click here). To bring attention back to the operator’s accomplishments, President/CEO Erik Prusch talked about the “disruptive” stance his company has been taking when it comes to fast mobile data. He also mentioned that video is the key app right now, replacing voice. “Sixty percent of the traffic on our network is video,” he said.
“This space is growing so fast, we can barely see the CAGR in front of us,” Prusch noted while pointing out that monthly exabytes of data will go from 1 in 2011 to 10.8 by 2016. He also made no bones of doing what amounts to cherry-picking when it comes to where Clearwire is deploying its hot spots: the lucrative urban corridors in such venues as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle (where there almost is a guarantee of making money), rather than in rural or suburban areas. “We put capacity where it is needed the most, even in different parts of the same metro,” he added. Clearwire’s “hot zones” will reach 2,000 sites by mid-2013, with the ultimate goal being 8,000.
Continuing, Prusch cited two operator opportunities moving forward: more spectrum and the proliferation of small cells. “We have a lot of the first, and small cells are expensive,” he said. “They won’t make up for the need for more spectrum. However, we can offer the lowest cost per Gig.”
Building a fatter pipe via channel aggregation also is a company goal, and Clearwire sports 3GPP approval to do so. “We aren’t dependent on paired channels; this is a clear differentiator in this space.”
And Prusch also pointed out that Clearwire wants Band Class 41 capabilities included in every wireless network and device in the world, and he’s darned close, now that China adopted the platform, and it’s now being used by China Mobile and its 700,000,000 subscribers. “With all of our partners, we will cover 4.4 billion people around the world,” he said; other partners include Sequans and Qualcomm.
— Debra Baker