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. 

7 comments:

Margaret said...

Here are some Chicago reviews - mostly bad...

http://chicagoweekendfun.com/2010/06/17/clear-4g-internet-phone-chicago-wireless/''

Anonymous said...

I had clear when i live in Amarillo,tx i found it very convenient when i wanted to go over my friends and play some xbox or something but at the same time thats just about all its good for its mobile wifi pretty much.... It did cut down sometimes but not a lot and also if you are going to use it only for like 1 desktop or maybe more at your house you might as well get your local ISP because clear isnt the fastest but it will get the job done If your going to play games such as WoW or something that requires very high speed internet clear isnt for you

Anonymous said...

One year in our 2 year contract, and I'm ripping my hair out. Past few months, our average download speed was under 1 MBPS. This almost qualifies as illegal to our contract (high-speed, what we pay for, is anything over 1). They "fixed" it though with a skimming 1.17. Customer service is friendly, but innefective. Seems they never call back for anything. I'm decent with web-serfing, but It's my Xbox that suffers. It seems if anything large, a video or a large game, gets started, it has to buffer or stops entierly. I need Fios by now, and I'm considering just paying off the next year to get out and move on. Just a warning.

Charley said...

If you like to surf youtube like I do, then Clear is not a friendly company. I went to helpchat twice in 2 days over slow speeds--the 2nd time I was told that I'm a 'heavy user.' I think Clear is just being cheesy with their bandwidth, and trying to weed out those who just look at static web pages, and penalize those who download or watch streaming video. By driving the heavier users away, they can pocket the money (even though their web site says "Unlimited").
In a work: False Advertising

livluvbike said...

Don't waste your time or your money.

I am very displeased with the service. I ordered the mobile 4G at the beginning of the month and have not been able to connect to the internet, 2 weeks later after several calls to customer service for tech support.

The first problem was that they sent me the wrong USB installation software for the OS X 64-bit software I use. Their standard service only operates with 32-bit. When I called regarding this issue they told me to change the operating system on my macbook. What? you want me to downgrade my computer to get onto the internet?

Then I called a second timeand another person told me to download the beta installation from the website the that supports 64-bit. I do so and still cannot connect to the internet.

The fourth call I make the person says they will mail me the correct installation software on a disc over-nighted and will not charge me for it. (you should not be charging people in the first place for issues that are your fault). Three days go by and nothing is sent.

I call for a fifth time and they said they are unable to send me the correct installation software and that I should go to the nearest Clear store (best buy) to get it fixed. This is two weeks later and the solution is for me to have to inconveniently go to the store?! Why they couldn't just send me the right software in the first place or at least the second time around is beyond me.

Obviously I cancelled my service before the 15 trial period ended.

Anonymous said...

DOES NOT WORK....modem worked for me the first week, and stopped working after that. It a fraudulent service

Anonymous said...

The coverage maps on the website are horribly inaccurate. Whats the point of having unlimited data if you cant get a signal? The customer service is awful as well.