Clearwire has yet to launch 4G LTE, and also is clinging to a pre-WiMAX network in some markets, to save money and not bring them up to WiMAX spec. Shutting down service in those markets would cost them FCC licenses for rural spectrum. As such, the CLEAR 4G WiMAX footprint is not expected to expand.
Despite past issues with throttling, which are still stuck in litigation, CLEAR’s plans today are highly competitive. CLEAR offers 4G WiMAX unlimited data plans for $50/month sans contract, delivering above 6 mbps downlink and 1 mbps uplink speeds.
The offering may be a response to Monday’s news that T-Mobile will resume offering unlimited, unthrottled, uncapped “4G” HSPA+ mobile broadband for smartphones. The service however will require a voice plan of at least $29.99/month, and will also prohibit tethering of any form. As Verizon Wireless does not use any C-Block open access spectrum, and federal courts have blocked FCC’s ability to impose net neutrality, T-Mobile may be justified in enforcing those tethering restrictions on this new plan.
While 4G LTE and even T-Mobile’s “4G” HSPA+ plans may be slightly more and also unlimited, they have two primarily limitations: Requiring a costly voice plan, and are often capped. And, most 4G unlimited data plans on other providers try to restrict tethering.
As such, CLEAR 4G is still an attractive, albeit embattled, option for office-dwellers looking to watch Hulu at work, or deliver 4G broadband speeds to a nomadic existence. We use CLEAR 4G at MMV to offload some non-essential bandwidth tasks (like, downloading Windows 8).
The CLEAR 4G sale is set to end in about a week, there is a countdown clock on their home page. The first month of service is charged at the time of ordering, so most orders will run around $75 for CLEAR Spot plus service. You can, however, cancel service or change plans after the first month as well.