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Clearwire Sets Annual LTE Target

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Clearwire Corporation (CLWR), which offers mobile and fixed wireless broadband communication services to retail and wholesale customers in the U.S. sets a target to roll out 5,000 TD-LTE cell sites by the end of 2013.

Meanwhile, Clearwire slashed its previous guidance of rolling out 5,000 cell sites by the first half of 2013, and has plans to deploy 2,000 TD-LTE sites during the same period. Moreover, the company will likely receive a series of prepayments amounting $350 million from Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) (having 48.1% stake in Clearwire) over a two-year period if the former meets certain LTE deployment target by June 2013.

Both Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Samsung Corp. will be the major TD-LTE equipment suppliers for Clearwire.

Earlier, Clearwire formed a venture combining its infrastructure together with the wireless network of Sprint to install a nationwide mobile phone and broadband Internet network using the 4G WiMAX technology. With the competitive 4G LTE technology becoming more robust and offering faster downlink, WiMAX gradually lost its charm among the customers thereby becoming a loss making unit for the company.

To stay in the race, Clearwire with its huge spectrum assets in the 2.5 GHz band, which is widely used in the South-East Asian countries to deploy TD-LTE technology, started testing with the world’s largest telecom player China Mobile Ltd. (CHL).

Recently, Clearwire received two takeover bids of $2.97 and $3.30 per share respectively, from Sprint and leading satellite TV operator DISH Network Corp. (DISH), respectively. Both the offers look quite lucrative for Clearwire, as the company requires a network partner to materialize its aim of deploying 4G LTE technology across the country.

Currently, Clearwire Corporation carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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