Portland (OR) – Clearwire (and Intel) have introduced the city of Portland to “Clear,” its 4G WiMAX wireless broadband service – part of its “Let’s Be Clear” campaign. Clear provides connectivity for both consumers and businesses and supports the Portland metro area.
Clearwire’s 4G model is part of a multi-year network build-out plan. Clearwire currently supports non-4G Internet networks in 46 different markets throughout the United States. Over time, some of these will be upgraded to 4G, along with the addition of new markets which are currently unspecified.
Clear offers 4G network access at speeds up to 6 Mbps download for a residential modem (fixed, stationary), and up to 4 Mbps download for a mobile modem (USB connection, see below for pricing). No indication was given on upload speeds, though some previous reports have indicated 1 Mbps to 2 Mbps with an average ping time of 200ms (1/5th second).
Business plans can be purchased by the day or month. Home-based 4G Internet service plans start at $20/month, with mobile plans at $30/month. Customers can also purchase a “day pass” for $10 allowing full access for short durations.
“Clear Retail Stores” will officially open at 9am on January 10, 2009 at three locations in Portland: 1) 15th and Broadway, 2) 92nd and Sunnyside, and 3) Burnside and 23rd Place. There will be chances to win network computers, Blazer tickets and gift certificates to local retailers at all three locations.
Clear is available for mobile use via USB modem costing $49.99, and is supported for communications in all of Clear’s service area, though 4G services will only be available currently in Portland and other 4G enabled cities. As 4G networks become available, the modem will also work there. Modems can be purchased in Portland’s Clear retail stores, or directly from the web (see link below).
According to WiMAX Forum, there are currently 400+ WiMAX networks world-wide in 133+ countries. They expected to have a “comprehensive global roaming plan” available to 4G users by the end of 2008, though no press release indicating the same has yet been issued.
These Mobile WiMAX products have been certified by WiMAX Forum to operate in the 2.3 GHz and 2.5 GHz bands. 3.5 GHz products are currently under certification testing and are expected to be announced early 2009. The WiMAX Forum also estimates that by 2011 more than 1,000 Mobile WiMAX Certified products will be available.
In 2008, the number of mobile users world-wide surpassed four billion, up from three billion in 2007. Note: The four billion figure includes multiple wireless accounts held by people, and does not represent separate individuals.