Clearwire said it has the funding it needs to set up TD-LTE sites around the U.S., and it plans to roll out thousands of them in the coming year.
Speaking earlier this week in an earnings call, Clearwire CEO Erik Prusch said that his company plans to have 5,000 LTE sites in operation by June 2013. Shortly thereafter, Clearwire hopes to add 3,000 more sites.
Sprint, which is the majority shareholder in Clearwire, recently signed a deal that could see it hand over $1.6 billion in funding to Clearwire. Under the deal's terms, Sprint has agreed to pay $350 million in a series of prepayments over two years to help Clearwire build its LTE sites.
"The agreements also establish long-term usage-based pricing for LTE services for 2012 and beyond," Sprint said in a statement at the time. "The companies have agreed to collaborate on a network build plan and will jointly select LTE macro-cell sites to cover Sprint's high usage area 'hotspots.'"
Clearwire has been investing in 4G for years, but it chose to double down on the older WiMax technology. The move left the company in dire financial straits and prompted its deal with Sprint, which offered it a lifeline and help covering its debts.
But putting up sites is just one piece of the puzzle. As Prusch pointed out on the earnings call, his company must also form partnerships with vendors across the industry to "advance the development of multimode, multiband devices."
As Clearwire prepares to start its site construction this quarter, the European Parliament announced earlier this week that all member countries will be forced to authorize the 800MHz spectrum for use with 4G LTE by January 1. The continent has so far been slow to adopt 4G, leaving it far behind the U.S. in mobile connectivity.