Here’s one nugget for you all to feast on ahead of the announcement. Yesterdays report on Boy Genius Report that the iPhone 5 would be an Sprint exclusive with WiMAX is being panned by the Wall Street Journal: Greg Bensinger reports that the device will neither run on LTE nor WiMAX. I guess we’ll have to wait and find out.
Tag Archives | WiMax
It certainly is a rocky time for WiMAX provider Clear. The company’s CEO Bill Morrow has suddenly resigned, citing “personal reasons” according to a company press release. But that’s not the only problem: it is now the subject of a lawsuit filed in Washington state last week.
Complaints began surfacing last fall, when customers claimed that Clear wasn’t being forthcoming on its throttling practices. In some cases, connections were being slowed to 256 kbps — and the reason why was different depending on who you talked to. For some, it was said they were exceeding the bandwidth cap of 8GB per month: others got told it was due to “network congestion.”
This schizophrenic explanation of what was going on upset customers, who began to complain on Internet forums. Clear did later admit that it was throttling, although it refused to specify which customers it was doing it to, or how.
While boldly talking up intentions for more phones, PCs, and sundry other 4G devices in New York City this week, Sprint also issued a press release announcing that its edition of Samsung’s Android-based Galaxy Tab tablet will be available nationwide on November 14 for $400, with a choice of two 3G wireless plans.
“We will have a lot more 4G devices,” Sprint VP of Business Marketing Tom Roberts told me on Monday at a customer and press launch event for Sprint’s 4G services, now set to start November 1 in the New York City metro area.
With WiMax rollouts also slated for San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston some time in the near future, Sprint and its partner Clearwire will have penetrated more than half of the major US metro markets by the end of this year, said Roberts.
These days, every wireless provider seems to be doing prepaid wireless broadband, and Clear is no exception. The company has introduced Rover, an offering that it tells me is aimed at the “MTV Generation” through both its marketing and branding. While the company does offer a contract free product for postpaid customers, its still a monthly plan that is the same cost as its contracted offering.
Rover is a little different in how it measures out its various plans. Instead of using the megabyte, all prepaid plans are for unlimited use. The catch here is that its by the day, week, or month: once you run out of time, you have to buy a new block.
Pricing is fairly competitive. A day will set you back about $5, while a week costs $20, and a month $50. This may work better for some of us — instead of guessing how much data we need, instead we can plan out for a period of time that we’d need data access.
The Rover Puck (shown above) is the $149.99 piece of equipment you’ll need to make it all happen. The device will let up to eight users share the connection, but Clear is also offering the Stick, a $99 USB modem intended for a single user. A little more expensive than other offerings like Virgin Mobile’s Broadband2Go, however if you are in Clear’s coverage area and speed matters, it will be a much faster connection.
WiMAX provider Clear on Wednesday introduced the iSpot, a device aimed at giving iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users 4G access. The iSpot also offers a discounted rate on service: $25 per month as opposed to the typical $40 per month plan.
There is a catch. In order to qualify for the promotional rate, you can only connect it with an Apple device — it’s iOS compatible only. Using it with other mobile devices bumps that rate back up to the typical $40 rate.
The $99 device (on sale for $29 for today only) will create a hotspot of about 150 feet around the device and allow for up to eight devices at a time. The iSpot will last about four hours on a single charge, the company says.
Apparently the device is “unlockable” to use on all platforms, but it requires that the customer get the standard rate. It should be noted that the $25 rate appears to be “promotional,” so it may not be this good for too long.
I’m curious as to whether anyone would be interested in this and why. I’ve been eyeing Clear for my home Internet as Comcast has become increasingly unreliable here, and FiOS is still not even close to being available. Don’t know about this though — especially with my iPhone bill now regularly over $100/month after taxes.
[A NOTE FROM HARRY: Here’s a post by Mari Silbey, one of Dave Zatz’s Zatz Not Funny colleagues. We’ll be borrowing some of her ZNF items along with Dave’s–welcome Mari!]
We have yet to hit the holiday shopping season, so you know there will still be plenty of gadget goodness before the year ends. However, there’s also some new behind-the-scenes tech to get excited about in 2009. Here are four enabling technologies to watch out for in the next four months. This tech may not be sexy, but it’s guaranteed to make those shiny gadget toys work better, smarter, faster.
NVIDIA ION Chipset
Since my netbook is clearly not cutting it for a lot of video playback, I’m psyched about new processors making their way into netbooks and small laptops in Q4. Most likely to actually hit the commercial market this year is the NVIDIA ION chipset, which is said to boost graphics power significantly in any Intel-Atom-powered device. According to Brad Linder over at Lilliputing (also heard as afternoon anchor on my local NPR station), two major manufacturers, Lenovo and Samsung, are planning to ship ION-powered laptops in the last few months of the year. And, Brad speculates that the upcoming Nokia netbook, the Booklet 3G, may also sport NVIDIA ION graphics. More info to come at Nokia World on September 2nd.
If you’re into transferring a lot of media between devices, then the launch of USB 3.0 is right up your alley. Unlike USB 2.0, which transfers data at a rate of 480 Mbps, USB 3.0 boasts a whopping transfer speed of 4.8 Gbps. That’s not just good for moving HD video around, it’s also perfect for large back-up operations to an external hard drive. According to Stacey Higginbotham at GigaOM, USB 3.0 will start shipping to device-makers this year, with consumer availability soon to follow.
I know, I know, it’s cool to be down on WiMAX these days, but I’m still excited for it to spread to more cities (including my own Philadelphia) this year. Partly I’m excited about the higher speeds for mobile broadband, but partly I’m excited because of the different pricing options compared to existing 3G services. For example, my employer is unlikely to subsidize mobile broadband at $60 per month, but a $10 day pass is a good bet for reimbursement. Perfect for conferences, and other places where Wi-Fi tends to be lacking. Even an unlimited mobile contract is said to be only $50 per month. (See pricing coverage from Paul Kapustka at Sidecut Reports) That’s a better price and a faster connection.
Upstream Channel Bonding
And while we’re on the subject of broadband speeds, here’s an obscure one: upstream channel bonding. Channel bonding is what’s making it possible for cable operators to offer peak DOCSIS 3.0 speedsof 50-100 Mbps in some markets. To date we’ve only seen downstream channel bonding in the US, but upstream channel bonding is on its way. Karl Bode at Broadband Reports wrote earlier this month that Comcast is exploring upstream DOCSIS 3.0 trials this year, with upstream speeds maxing out at 120 Mbps.
Comcast is using Clearwire’s network to offer its customers wireless high speed Internet in Portland, Oregon, and plans to launch the service in Chicago, Atlanta, and Philadelphia by the end of 2009. Called Comcast High-Speed 2go, it would offer speeds of up to 4 MBps.
To entice customers to sign up for the service, the cable provider is offering a “Fast Pack Metro” bundle deal which offers the 2go service along with 12 MBps home Internet for $49.99 per month for a full year. At the end of that period, the rate jumps to $73/month, which is still quite competitive considering.
Better yet, where Clearwire does not have service yet, Comcast is allowing those subscribing to the 2go service to add mobile 3G data nationwide for an extra $20 month. This part of the service is offered through Sprint, which owns a portion of Clearwire.
Adding WiMAX service to its portfolio gives Comcast a stake in the ever-more-competitive mobile data industry. With speeds of between 5 to 10 MBps possible, it gives the standard a leg up on LTE, which is the mobile data standard that most cellular providers have chosen.
While LTE rollouts are expected to begin in force in 2010 and beyond, WiMAX is already available in several major metropolitan markets. It will be interesting to watch over the next one to two years whether or not WiMAX can continue to be one step ahead of its competitor.
Remember when 3G was the future of wireless data? It’s not even universally available in the U.S. yet, and the race is already well underway to replace it. WiMAX, the 4G network technology that counts Sprint and Intel among its boosters, has a head start. But it’s losing ground to Long Term Evolution (LTE).
LTE’s promise of high-speed, two-way wireless data promises an “all-IP” mode of communications in which voice calls are handled via VoIP. It’s also designed to handle video well, and to permit roaming through multiple systems–from cellular to Wi-Fi and satellite.
LTE is considered by many to be the obvious successor to current-generation 3G technologies, based on WCDMA, HSDPA, HSUPA and HSPA, in part because it updates UMTS technology to provide significantly faster data rates for both uploading and downloading, while preserving backwards compatibility with existing handsets based on older standards. Verizon Wireless, has already said that it will support LTE as its 4G technology of choice, abandoning its current CDMA based network.
Here’s what I’m reading today:
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