I’ve been a user of mobile internet for years, starting back in the days where my cell phone acted as a 14.4kbps modem. For a couple years, i’ve used a sprint card and have been fairly happy with service.
I’ve heard about the clear/clearwire technology for a couple years, how great it would be, etc. And a few months ago, on the recommendation of a friend (who just happened to be a reseller with clear wimax), i signed up for clear service. I set out to find faster download speed. After all, who couldn’t use 10mbps download speed, right? The wimax is technically 4g technology (4g simply means 4th generation — it’s no reflection on speed improvements from 3g. More in this nerdy yet somehow cool video explanation from craig matthias). Product showed up at my door the next day and i couldn’t wait to get started. Dreams of streaming video from the highway, or conference calling beside the pool, like the tv commercials tell us.
Fyi, clear is using atlanta as one of its flagship cities. Signal coverage everywhere in atlanta. In fact, they back that up with media coverage everywhere in atlanta, and salespeople coverage everywhere in atlanta. I live in atlanta. And not like the outskirts, like people in alpharetta say they live in atlanta. I live in midtown. I travel atlanta extensively.
Long story short… i have the clear home modem, which sits stationary. Signal meter says it’s good, but more often than not, page loads take longer than when i’m on my sprint card. If they load at all. I have the clear mobile modem. But sitting in a client’s office in the middle of buckhead (again, very much atlanta), i get zero bars. And when clear gets zero bars, guess how internet performs? It doesn’t.
Quick synopsis: clear 4g service runs on sprint towers. Where sprint offers 4g service, clear offers 4g service. Where sprint offers only 3g service, clear offers jack.
If they had told me that up front, i never would have bought. I tried to cancel service and return equipment within 14 days of signing up, only to have customer service show me the fine print that voided any chance of cancellation after 7 days. Marketing brilliance: misrepresent your product, lock people into a contract, and charge astronomical fees to get out of it.
So here’s my recommendation: use sprint. Sprint offers the 4g technology. Heck, sprint built the towers. They’re just letting clear leech. Get the Sprint 3g/4g card. This card downgrades where 4g signal is not available.
My hope is to spread the warning to souls in search of faster download speeds. Stick with the proven product on this one. And for the love of pete, read fine print.