Clearwire yesterday issued a thinly veiled challenge to AT&T and Verizon Wireless while touting the virtues of its WiMAX network, which is expected to cover 120 million people by the end of this year.
In a statement, Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow said the operator's network was handling data usage levels "that could shake the rest of the wireless industry to its core."
"On average, our mobile 4G customers are using more than 7 GB of data per month, and we're very pleased about the implications," he said. "Those who want to have a misguided debate about competing 4G radio technologies are missing the bigger picture. To deliver true mobile broadband requires deep spectrum resources and an all-IP network, and Clearwire remains unrivaled on both fronts."
Clearwire also suggested that iPad users considering using AT&T's 3G network may be better off with Clearwire's personal Wi-Fi hot spot. "Consumers unsatisfied with the speeds and limitations of 3G networks, or the need to seek out Wi-Fi hot spots, can use the upcoming Apple iPad on Clearwire's open 4G network," the company said in a press release.
AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel defended both AT&T's network and LTE technology. "WiMAX is not proved for true mobility," he said. "The world has bet on what the next generation of technology will be, and that's LTE."
Siegel also claims that AT&T's data network is on par with Clearwire's 4G network, saying its HSPA 7.2 network in Atlanta is running faster than Clearwire's WIMAX network.
"It's not difficult to make speed claims when you're not in a lot of places," he said. AT&T is in the process of beefing up its 3G network with HSPA 7.2 and will start LTE field trials by the end of the year with commercial deployments in 2011.
For its part, Verizon Wireless was not intimidated by Clearwire's claims about the amount of data traffic running over its network.
"We've build our reputation on building the best, most reliable network and we've got 90 million customers as a testament to that," said a Verizon spokesman. Verizon is currently testing its LTE network and plans to commercially deploy 4G service by the end of this year. "A couple of months lead doesn't worry us," said the spokesman.