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Clearwire's WiMAX product, Clear, has had a bit of a rough time in its premier market of Portland, Oregon. Spotty coverage, dissatisfied customers bound by contractual agreements, and almost viral bad press speak louder than the billboards Clearwire has plastered all over town that broadcast slogans such as, "This isn't a parking lot; it's another place to get high speed Internet."

I'm not sure of the placement strategy, but I'm willing to bet that the billboards were planted where they sit because that is where they are most likely to be seen rather than where 4G is actually available. I recently went on a demo tour with a WiMAX product, and my hosts literally had the driver circle something like a two-by-eight block area in the heart of Downtown in order to maintain coverage. Still, I lost the signal twice. More on that in another post.

Last year, Clearwire's service was merged with Sprint's Xohm, presumably broadening the reach of WiMAX and strengthening its base. Now, Comcast is reselling the product locally, calling it Comcast High-Speed 2Go or Internet on-the-go, depending on who you ask (Comcast was a little fuzzy on this when I called, but it seems that High-Speed 2Go is an enterprise solution).

The home and local mobile (4G) bundle is $49.99 a month for one year and $72.95 a month thereafter. Home service, local mobile, and national mobile data (3G by Sprint) is $69.99 a month for the first year and $92.95 a month thereafter. Adding 4G to existing packages is $30, and adding both 3 and 4G is $50 a month. That last bit will get you a free Dell laptop if you order the service with one of Comcast's Triple-Play bundles. Add $3.00 for a modem rental and a few more bucks for taxes and such to each of the above.

There is a lot of rebranding, repackaging and all-around confusing stuff for consumers going on in the 4G world, but hopefully this will eventually result in reliable, widespread availability. With Time Warner, Intel and Google at the table, one would hope the holes are being plugged rapidly.

Portland, Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Baltimore are already live, and Clearwire is launching 10 new markets on September 1st; Boise, ID; Bellingham, WA.; and the following in Texas: Abilene, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, Killeen/Temple, Waco and Wichita Falls. Expected by the end of the year are Chicago, Philly, Seattle, Honolulu and Charlotte. Lets hope not every launch is and painful as ours has been in the CIty of Roses, where unwitting beta testers have been less than thrilled to discover their roles.

Via Phone News

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