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Hands On: WiMAX in Philadelphia

Clearwire Clear WiMAX Philadelphia MotorolaThe $22.50 price tag for WiMAX service proved too good for me to pass up. Today I am up and running with a Clearwire one-month contract. My home in the suburbs of Philadelphia is technically out range of the WiMAX network, but the coffee shop down the street isn’t. I tested the service there, where it was stellar, and then, lo and behold, discovered that I do get a low signal even in my house. I foresee many, many more tests in the near future, from the park, the mall, and probably the local Chuck E. Cheese.

I also spoke to a member of the Clearwire support team today. (I needed to update the old Clear Connection Manager software on my netbook) He was out of Las Vegas and told me I was only his third call from the Philadelphia area. That’s not surprising since Philly has only been in soft launch mode for 13 days. He also told me that what he’s seen of uptake in Vegas has been good, and that people of all types are subscribing. In other words, it’s not just businessmen on the go who are signing up. One interesting trend he noted is that there seem to be plenty of folks paying for the mobile service and using their USB modems primarily at home. Sounds silly, until you think about scenarios where people live alone (i.e. no one else needs the home connection) and want the freedom to use mobile broadband, even if it’s only occasionally. In that case, why not?

Clearwire Clear WiMAX Philadelphia Motorola USB adapterThere is a remarkable sense of freedom in having mobile broadband that I can only equate to the time we first got Wi-Fi running in our house many, many moons ago. Since I skipped over 3G, I’ve been relying on Wi-Fi hotspots to keep me connected when I’m not at home. That’s not a bad thing since free, public Wi-Fi access has grown remarkably in the last few years. But it doesn’t compare to getting access everywhere. I could rapidly get used to this.

6 Responses

  1. Works in center city philly. Good 10mbps bursts, I am lovin it.

  2. […] and launches expected soon in Dallas, Chicago, and Philadelphia, as well. In fact, consumers are already signing up for Comcast's WiMax product in the City of Brotherly Love. Bright House Networks , the remaining cable MSO part of the […]

  3. […] The Inquirer’s Bob Fernandez reports on Center City’s new 4G WiMAX wireless service, as we reported earlier. A Motorola corporate blogger and suburban Philly dweller gives her perspective. […]

  4. Glad to hear the service is working for you in PA. It’s working pretty good down here is Austin too. Typing this from my laptop with the USB modem in the house. I have home service too, but tend to use the USB modem on the laptop. Since it’s new, I’m probably just playing, as I would normally just fire up the Wi-Fi.

  5. […] both are counted twice. For example, I have both Comcast high-speed Internet service at home, and I subscribe to Clearwire’s Clear WiMAX service. My household would be counted twice in this […]

  6. […] is right that much of the future of WiMAX lies outside the US (though I am personally enjoying Clear service in Philly). Motorola is a big part of that […]

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