4G Blog by 4Ginfo.com

News, info, reviews, and opinions on WiMAX, LTE, Clearwire, XOHM, and Sprint 4G

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We all know that Clear will be taking over XOHM in Baltimore at some point, but neither Clearwire nor XOHM has fully explained how that will effect XOHM users. XOHM's website has some FAQ's on the issue and indicates a couple of interesting points - your XOHM modem won't work in Portland, for instance - but there aren't any "clear" (hardy har har) answers about what will really happen when Clear takes over.

After several chats with XOHM and Clear, I was able to find out the following:

  • Right now, XOHM modems will NOT work on the Clear network, and vice versa. If you take your ZTE tu25 USB Modem to Portland, you will NOT be able to get Clear.
  • When Clear takes over in Baltimore, XOHM modems will NOT automatically work! According to a Clear rep, they are hoping to provide firmware updates for the available XOHM modems at that time - you would have to install a new firmware version before being able to access Clear.
  • If they are UNABLE to create new firmware that would allow XOHM users to use their existing modems when Clear takes over, they will provide an upgrade to a Clear modem free of charge.
  • XOHM users who have signed up for the "$50/month for Life" plan will be allowed to keep that plan when Clear takes over, even though Clear does not offer that same plan.
  • NO ONE seems to know just when this takeover will occur. One estimate placed it at about four months, but there is NO indication that that is an accurate guess.
By all accounts, Clearwire is doing their best to keep things simple for XOHM users and the CEO has repeatedly stated that in the future XOHM and Clear users will be able to roam on each other's networks without a problem. However, it doesn't sound like this can be accomplished without - at the minimum - a firmware upgrade. And just WHEN this will start to effect Baltimore XOHM-er's is still the BIG question.

Discuss the future of XOHM - and its relationship with Clear! - on the 4G Forums

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Since XOHM made its debut back in September, many early-adopting techies have experienced WiMAX in several cities. Baltimore was XOHM's sole officially covered WiMAX area, although users have been able to semi-stealthily access the network in other areas, including Chicago and Dallas, and now Portland has become the first network to be "Clear".

Clearwire launched their WiMAX network under the brand "Clear" this week in Portland. The network had been active in the area for a month or so, but this week Clearwire finally made things official and began a marketing campaign to get the word out about Clear and what it can do. Since the network has actually been live for several weeks, this official launch didn't bring any changes in and of itself, but it sets the stage for future launches.

Currently, Clearwire is officially operating WiMAX networks in just 2 cities: Portland and the XOHM-covered Baltimore (the name "XOHM" will be phased out and replaced with "Clear" within the next few months), but they also have "pre-WiMAX" networks operating in about 40 markets in North America. These lucky cities will likely be some of the first to get the upgrade to Clear since some of the infrastructure is already in place. Which other cities are on the list to get equipped with Clear is not, well, clear - no places in particular have been named by the company just yet.

While there aren't any details on Clearwire's roll-out plans, their chief strategy officer Scott Richardson made some interesting announcements in the wake of the launch. For one, he said that the plans and pricing for Clear service - which are pretty flexible and affordable as is - will be adjusted after hearing feedback from users in Portland and Baltimore (click here to read more about Clearwire's pricing and plans). Richardson also spoke about a product they'll soon be offering called the "Clear Voice Adapter", which will hook your landline (who still has one?) to the Clear home modem and allow users to make unlimited calls within the US via VOIP for just $25/month.

Finally, the fact that Clearwire is moving forward with marketing and promoting Clear also means that Sprint 4G should be following suit. Remember, Sprint - who owns 49% of Clearwire - will be offering WiMAX service along with EVDO at some point in the near future with the Franklin u300 dual-mode modem.

It takes a long time (and a lot of money) to deploy a brand new network like this, so patience is obviously going to be important for those of us not living in Portland or Baltimore. However, it looks like Clearwire is either unaffected by or just ignoring the economic troubles plaguing most of us and seem to be moving quickly!

Discuss the Clear launch on 4G Forums

Labels: , , , , ,