updated 01:15 pm EDT, Tue June 16, 2009
Clearwire 4G in Atlanta
Clearwire on Tuesday officially released its 4G WiMAX wireless broadband network in Atlanta, making it the largest city in the US to offer the service. The service, CLEAR, is available to about three million people in a 1,200-square mile area, offering users DSL-like cable speeds wherever they are, wirelessly. Running on a WiMAX radio system from Motorola, the service is said to deliver realistic download speeds between 4 and 6Mbps, with burst speeds greater than 15Mbps. In comparison, existing 3G networks provide download speeds between 1 and 1.7Mbps.
CLEAR is offered for the home and mobile users, including on a daily or monthly basis and without the need for a long-term service contract. Home Internet service plans start at $20 per month, mobile Internet plans start at $40 per month and daily service is offered for $10. Bundling both services or opting for a two-year contract yields unspecified savings.
Depending on the service, Clearwire sells the necessary hardware, including a $60 USB modem from Motorola for laptops. Residential service requires a book-sized Motorola modem that connects to a power supply and a PC or wireless router, priced at $80. Either can also be lease for $5 per month. The CLEAR Spot is a $139 battery-powered router that lets up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices connect to the CLEAR WiMAX network.
A number of notebook PCs have access with Intel's built-in WiMAX mini-card. This includes certain models from Dell, Fujitsu, Lenovo, Panasonic, Samsung and Toshiba.
CLEAR is already available in Baltimore, Maryland, and Portland, Oregon and a full, official launch is expected in Las Vegas later this summer. Later in 2009, there are plans to add Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Honolulu, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Next year, New York, Boston, Washington, DC, Houston and the San Francisco Bay Area will be added.