Clearwire Informative - Clear works well with some drawbacks
Clear is new 4G wireless internet service. It provides internet service similar to cellular broadband cards (although MUCH MUCH faster) and also provides a home modem for home use in addition to their own VOIP service (similar to Vonage)
Unlike cable or DSL internet service they are a radio based service there are no wires into your home you receive your internet service through the air. They are in service in 27 major cities and growing.
Here's my experience. Their price is phenomenal I get a mobile card VOIP and my home internet for what I paid the phone company for DSL and a home phone and Clear comes with free long distance. In addition they offer some of the best international rates I have seen (international is not included in the free long distance plan) but we make calls to Germany and their international rate is 2 cents per minute. I can get that international rate through calling card services but they all add a $5 or so monthly fee on Clear I just pay for the international minutes added to my monthly fee. Clear also offers call forwarding services with a few more options than the phone company but you have to activate it and deactivate it on their website. A nice feature is voicemail by email if you get a message they can email a wave file to you you can play on your computer. This is included in the VOIP service.
Since they are a radio service it's like TV with the old rabbit ears. It may work where you are and it may not. You may have to move the modem around. I put my home modem in on the window sill and it works fine. The mobile modem doesn't work in my house. I did buy a 15 foot USB extension cable and put the modem by a window and then it worked. I tried in a hotel in San Antonio and the same problem no signal in the room but moving the modem to a window with the extension cable and it was fine. At a location in Chicago I had an excellent signal everywhere in the building.
Service is very fast. It is noticeably faster than my DSL service. But unlike cellular broadband cards clear will ONLY work with clear. The cellular cards will work in 3G coverage areas and default back to regular cell towers if 3G is not available. Now service is painfully slow on a cellular card if 3G isn't available but you will have service. In weak areas the cellular service will drop to slow service if 3G service is spotty, so usually you can keep working just slowly. This doesn't happen with Clear. If Clear can't get a signal (or loses it) it can't default to another available (albeit slower) service. I tried this driving out of the San Antonio airport. Clear had a signal when I got on the hotel van and lost it when we drove under a terminal then gained it again between terminals. However, Clear's price is much less. I had a cellular broadband card and it cost $60/month. The Cellular broadband card also dropped A LOT. Clear gives me 2 modems my voice and free long distance for $70. (before tax prices)
Much of the frustration here seems to be connected with Clear contracts. You can avoid all that hassle by buying the modems. All of my equipment home modem, mobile modem and VOIP adapter cost about $150. That alternative is leasing the equipment for $12/month. Basically in just over a year you pay for the equipment. With leasing though you are tied into a 2 year contract. My advice, buy from a place that takes things back and try it if it doesn't work at your location take it back.
Clear offers a mobile hot spot device (I don't have this---yet) for $140 and I am thinking about that then you could put you mobile modem and hotcpot device in a window and use your computer near it avoiding my cable connection option. At home I connected the home modem into my router and I use my home wireless network and that works fantastic. I have the modem where it gets a good signal and use the wireless router signel for computers throughout the house.
Overall, Clear provides me for $70/month what I was paying almost $120 a month for. It has its drawbacks of "no signal no service" and doesn't have the coverage that the cellular providers have. However, for occasional mobile use if you are willing use a cable to locate the mobile modem where it gets a good signal it is more than adequate.
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