High-speed ISP Clearwire Communications, a subsidiary of Clearwire Corp., announced the availability of WiMax service in Atlanta, becoming home to the largest metropolitan mobile WiMaxnetwork in the United States. The 4G wireless broadband service, called CLEAR, is available to nearly three million people across approximately 1,200 square miles.
WiMax is a telecommunications technology providing wireless transmission of data using a variety of modes, from point-to-multipoint links to portable and fully mobile Internet access. The technology faces competition from services like MBWA (Mobile Broadband Wireless Access) and wireless systems such as UMTS and CDMA2000.
“By delivering broadband connectivity to people, and not just places, we now offer Atlantans the freedom to enjoy super-fast Internet access wherever they go in our coverage area,” says Clearwire’s general manager for the Atlanta market, Marc Brachman. “Whether it’s a small business owner looking to conduct online video chats with customers from the field or a person looking to access entertainment sites without being tied to a fixed-location, CLEAR delivers.”
The company says CLEAR customers can expect to see download speeds of 4 to 6M bps with bursts exceeding 15M bps. The service in Atlanta runs on an area-wide WiMax radio system from Motorola. Mobile and residential plans can be purchased by the day or by the month without long-term service contracts. Home Internet service plans start at $20 per month, while mobile Internet plans start at $40 per month. Customers can also purchase a day pass for $10, while customers who purchase both home and mobile Internet services or signing up for a two-year service agreement would see additional savings.
Mobile users can plug in a mobile WiMax-enabled USB modem from Motorola ($59.99 to buy, $4.99 for a month-long lease) into their laptop to get online. The modems are available for purchase in stores or online. “We’re providing a valuable, new kind of Internet service designed to make our customers’ lives more enjoyable and more productive, wherever they happen to be in our coverage area,” Brachman says.
Home or business users can purchase a Motorola modem that plugs into a power outlet and then PC, laptop or wireless router. The modem sells for $79.99 or leased for $4.99 monthly. Residential customers can also add in-home voice service with purchase of Clearwire’s Voice Adapter for $15, and receive unlimited local and long distance service for $24.99 per month.
Clearwire will also host a consumer launch event at Atlantic Station June 17, where the company plans to announce plans to provide dozens of embedded WiMax laptops based on Intel Centrino 2 processor technology, as well as netbooks based on Intel Atom processors, with service to Atlanta’s public schools.
In addition to Atlanta, mobile WiMax is already available in Baltimore, Md., and Portland, Ore. The company plans to launch service in Las Vegas later this summer and plans service in Chicago, Philadelphia and Dallas, among other cities, by the end of 2009. Service in New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., Houston and the San Francisco Bay Area is planned to launch next year.