Best Buy Selling Clearwire Services

There should be an image here!Do we really need a big box store reselling 4G wireless services? Regardless of whether or not we might think it’s needed, this is exactly what’s happening. The basis of the idea is that one can buy a device, then have it activated under the same roof — it makes sense with mobile products.

What makes using Clearwire/Clear’s products for mobile devices a fail as far as I am concerned is their lack of support for Linux. Seriously, an ISP choosing to support some OSes and not others? No thanks, as I can get EVO working with other providers just fine. Heck, I can use a nice little GUI program to tether to my BlackBerry instead.

So offering Clearwire products in Best Buy stores may seem like a great idea, but in the end I think we have to really consider the fact that the coverage is generally poor compared to the alternatives out there. And besides that, its a bit expensive considering what you’re getting. Shop around; there are better alternatives for your money if you ask me.

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Silicon Valley Finally Gets WiMAX

With Google, Intel and Cisco being big investors in the WiMAX game, one would think that Silicon Valley would of been setup for WiMAX long ago. But Clearwire has just completed construction of more than 20 square miles in Santa Clara, Mountain View and parts of Palo Alto. But when is WiMAX finally going to go mainstream? According to a recent article, it states that:

Developers can expect to see peak download speeds of up to 10 Mbps, with average download speeds of 3 to 6 Mbps. In contrast, some of today’s 3G wireless networks typically deliver download speeds of between 600 kbps – 1.4 Mbps.

The experience is similar to that provided by Wi-Fi, but without the short-range limitations of a traditional hot spot. CLEAR uses a 4G technology that differs from Wi-Fi called WiMAX, which provides service areas measured in miles, not feet. In addition, WiMAX technology is truly mobile and enables seamless handovers from tower to tower, similar to cellular.

Service will be provided free to a limited number of qualified developers leading up to the commercial service launch in this area.

To access the network, developers can purchase a Clearwire WiMAX USB modem for $49.99. Developer-owned, CLEAR network-ready WiMAX devices, such as the Samsung Mondi and WiMAX-embedded Intel-based PC’s, are also eligible for the program.

To qualify, developers must register for Clearwire’s developer program and describe the WiMAX development ideas they wish to pursue. Interested developers can sign-up at The developers’ website will also include coverage maps and suggested drive routes for mobile application testing. (From the Clearwire press release.)

The remainder of the Bay Area is expected to get WiMAX from Clearwire sometime in 2010. But what about the remainder of the US of A ? Your guess is as good as mine. I believe some in the US would be happy just to get broadband.

Comments welcome.


Clearwire WiMAX To Launch In San Francisco In 2010

One would think that, being so close to Silicon Valley, San Francisco and its surrounding cities would have the latest and greatest in technology. But this has not been the case. You may recall the failed attempt by Google and Verizon to bring free broadband to San Francisco went down in flames. It seemed the city and the folks putting up the money and equipment could not agree upon the terms.

But now another attempt is in the works to bring WiMAX to San Francisco:

Clearwire has so far launched its service in four cities: Portland, Ore., Las Vegas, Baltimore and Atlanta. The company will deploy its wireless broadband service in another 10 cities sometime in September 2009. It hopes to bring its service to the top one-third of cities that make up the U.S. market, giving it access to about 120 million potential customers.

After that, the company will be surgical about its network rollouts, Morrow said. The company hopes this will allow it to remain ahead of its competitors — primarily Verizon Wireless, which is launching its LTE-based 4G wireless networks sometime in 2010. Clearwire’s network deployment has made investors optimistic about the company’s future. Over the past six months, the company’s stock has tripled to $9 per share from around $3 a share, though it has been inching lower since early August.

It should be interesting to see if this project actually takes place and that WiMAX finally arrives in San Francisco.

Comments welcome.


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Clearwire Finally Supporting OS X

I should disclose early on that I have never been that impressed with Clearwire. Everyone I have ever known that tried it really hated it for a variety of reasons. This aside, it is also amazing to me that it took the company all this time to finally get an OS X driver out the door.

Assuming you don’t mind the contract, you could always use Clearwire as a backup to your regular broadband connection, I guess. But considering how restrictive it is with its data usage, you might as well just use one of the many EVDO solutions from local mobile carriers instead. You’ll find the coverage is a LOT better than this Wimax solution.

As Clearwire opens up its latest market, in Las Vegas, I wonder if the complaints will have an opportunity to roll in from a whole new region? If you are not a subscriber, I would warn you to read the contract and the TOS VERY closely before agreeing to anything. The service is buggy — spotty, at best — and its cancellation policy provides a three ring circus most people are not going to want to buy tickets to.


Beware Of Contracts

If there is one thing that turns me off of a service it is being cornered into a contract just to use it. This means cell phone companies among other technology providers. Recently, a number of you have asked me to speak about your experiences with a company called Clearwire. And while I have not had any personal experience with it, what kept me from choosing it as a backup ISP for myself personally was the fact that I would have to sign up for a contract regardless of quality of service.

Because this kind of wireless Internet technology can fail, thus leaving you without working Internet, asking users to sign into contracts just seems flawed to me. Then I did some more digging. After a big of Googling, it turns out that our very own Chris Pirillo has had some poor experiences with the company as well.

More digging turned up that its contracts are just the tip of a very ugly iceberg. Remember when users back in the ’90s had problems canceling their AOL accounts? Well there have been reports of some users allegedly having similar experiences with Clearwire in this regard as well. Even worse, it seems that people have been complaining that even after disconnecting, they were still being charged! Others, still, have been issuing complaints about a possible bait and switch.

Now it has long since been my experience that not everything you read on the ‘Net is true. This being said, with this many complaints, it seems to me that if nothing else, Clearwire has a massive PR problem on its hands and from what I am seeing, not dealing with it very effectively. The company is still using promotional pricing along with those contracts of one to two years. Considering the odds are fair that there must be some satisfied Clearwire users out there, I am interested in hearing from those folks. After all, surely there must be two sides to this story?


Clearwire – New WiMAX Coming Our Way

Sprint has announced that a new company is being formed called Clearwire which will be bringing out WiMAX services nationwide. Supported by companies such as Google, Intel, Comcast and others, the new service will be Sprints first attempt to bring WiMAX across the US. WiMAX differs from Wi-Fi in that the broadband signal can be sent up to a distance of about 50 miles.

In their press release Sprint states:

Sprint and Clearwire to Combine WiMAX Businesses, Creating a New Mobile Broadband Company

Intel, Google, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to Invest $3.2 Billion in Combined Company, at Target Price of $20.00 per Share

Formation of New Company Brings Together the Nation’s Leaders in Communications, Technology Innovation and Entertainment

New Company to Speed Deployment of First Nationwide Next-Generation Mobile WiMAX Network

Transaction Designed to Unlock the Potential of Clearwire’s and Sprint’s 4G Assets

New Company to be Led by Seasoned Management Team from Clearwire and Sprint’s XOHM Business Unit; Board of Directors to Include Leading Wireless and Cable Executives

The new company, which will be named Clearwire, will be focused on expediting the deployment of the first nationwide mobile WiMAX network to provide a true mobile broadband experience for consumers, small businesses, medium and large enterprises, public safety organizations and educational institutions. The new Clearwire expects to dramatically enhance the speed and manner in which customers access all that the Internet has to offer at home, in the office and on the road.

This project had originally been scrapped by Sprint towards the end of 2007, only to now be revived. It should be interesting to see how the WiMAX technology develops.

Comments welcome.

Full press release is here.

[tags]wimax, technology, sprint, intel, google, comcast, clearwire, press, release, [/tags]

Clearwire – Destined For Greatness?

I remember when I first made mention of Clearwire. In just a couple of years, it has expanded beyond its public beta to go on and service other areas such as Seattle and the surrounding county.

Today, its IPO continues to do well, however, I believe its successful boom into the market will eventually return to Earth once people get a handle on the limitations put forth with any kind of Internet service that does not have hard-line redundancy offered by such companies as cable companies and DSL alternatives.

But then again, I never did pursue Clearwire with a request to beta test its service back in 2005 – maybe I should have? What do you think? Use the comments area to sound off with your thoughts on whether Clearwire has a shot at competing with established broadband options.


Clearwire's Not So Clear

Recently, Clearwire has done amazing things to gain ground from within the wireless marketplace. Operating as one of those cool wireless Internet options that will likely help to put Bellingham Washington on the map, the company has been receiving both press and capital to help expand its vision. Unfortunately, it seems that its terms of service borders on paranoia and perhaps even an invasion of privacy.
Continue reading “Clearwire's Not So Clear”