March 27, 2010

Clear Wireless 4G Internet Service - Is It Any Good? Here's What I Found Out

A new internet service provider is making quite a splash here in San Antonio.  Its green and white signs are everywhere -- they even have green and whtie "Clear" flags attached to cars driving around town. 

And it sounds so great.  You're free to connect to the internet all over the place, you're not tied down to any one spot.  Plus, it's cheaper than your current ISP.  Wow.  And, wait!  There's more! It's faster than your usual WiFi.   It's 4G, in some places, it's 6G.  Broadband speeds, anywhere and everywhere.  Always available, faster, and cheaper. 

That sure sounds good.  Except I can't find anyone here in town who's actually USING this service, even if little Clear stores are opening up on every corner.  So, I went surfing around on the web to get the scoop.

First, I learned that it's a big deal.  This company has plans to cover the country with its little stores, and San Antonio is far from the first city to get inundated with these green and white signs and stores.  In Texas, it's already in Abilene, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Killeen/Temple, Lubbock, Waco, and other places. 

Here are some of the review that I found, from various parts of the country where Clear 4g Wimax has been in business longer than here in the Alamo City:

1.  Sarah Savage at Associated Content wrote in August 2009 that it was great for being able to pull out a netbook and write anywhere you wanted but there were drawbacks -- and recommended that if you're using the web mostly at home, it's not worth the purchase.  Also, some drop-off issues if the computer was idle for a couple of hours (no problem just signing in, again, tho).  Not sure what city we're talking about here, either.

2.  Yelp.com has 16 reviews for Clear WiMax Internet coming from Atlanta users.  Together, they're giving the service 3.5 stars out of 5.  Some comments include (1) lots of folk experience outages (2) and slow, slow service - not nearly the swift service that is touted by Clear.  There are some here that love this service, and some here that absolutely hate it. 

3.  Yelp.com has 30+ reviews for Portland's Clear WiMax Internet.  Yelp looks to have closed this forum sometime last year, but there's still lots of info here to consider.  And, there are lots of opinions here.  Again, some love and some hate.  Outages and slow speeds are discussed quite a bit.  Those trying to download big documents or watch videos seem to be very dissatistfied with the service.

4. Nick Mokey at DigitalTrends.com took Clear for a spin in Portland one day last July and bottom line, he liked it.  It wasn't perfect, but for some, Mr. Mokey opined that Clear would be just fine.

5. Nathan Roach in San Antonio gives it a thumbs up. I know Nathan Roach, and respect his opinion on all things Techno, so imagine my surprise when my surfing stumbled upon a review he'd written about trying out Clear -- here in my own hometown.  Perfect.  And, what does Nathan say?  His opinion is the same as Nick Mokey (see above, I'd just read Mokey's review when I found Nathan's so this was real deja vu)  -- and he gives lots of legal advice regarding the contracts and the service that's provided.  The reps lied to Nathan, I don't like that -- and there's a 2 year contract involved. 

What am I going to do?  I think I'll wait on Clear.  When I take my netbook to the B&N or local Starbucks, I'm happy enough -- and Clear's sounding too problematic to me. 
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