Clear 4G Speed | 2011

Clear 4G Speed | 2011

Identical to Sprint 4G & LTE On The Way?

Clear 4G LTE (not WiMAX) trials in Phoenix, AZ maxes out server capacity.

In 2008, Sprint and Clearwire merged and formed the company Clear. Since they use the same underlying WiMAX network, it comes as no surprise that they have identical advertised 4G speeds.

CLEAR offers speeds comparable to cable and DSL for home and up to 4x faster than you can get with mobile broadband from a cellular company.

CLEAR supports average download speeds up to 3-6 Mbps [sic] and upload speeds up to 1 Mbps.

Sprint 4G advertises 3-6 Mbps downloading with bursts up to 10 Mbps along with up to 1 Mbps uploading.

Sprint 4G Speed Review | 2011

However, what’s advertised is not always what’s delivered. Naturally, the next question becomes:


What Kind Of 3G & 4G Speeds Will You Actually Get?

Since what’s true for Sprint will probably be true for Clear, its possible to take a look at Sprint 4G speed tests to see what Clear 4G speed will be like on a day-to-day basis.

Brian Nadel of pitted Sprint’s 4G speed against its 3G speed. Here’s what he found:




First, the good news: It’s fast. Really fast.

The 4G network delivered an average download speed of 4.1Mbit/sec. — about what you’ll get with a wired DSL or cable modem connection. It was seven times faster than Sprint’s 3G service, which averaged 550Kbit/sec. I received a peak 4G download speed of 11.2Mbit/sec. at one location, nearly 10 times faster than the 1.2Mbit/sec. of throughput available on Sprint’s 3G network at the same location two minutes later.

Now for the bad news: I found uploading data painfully slow on both services. While 3G mustered a 25Kbit/sec. throughput from notebook to server, 4G was able to move 41Kbit/sec. — not a terribly significant improvement. Clearly, this service is more useful for downloading large chunks of data, such as monster spreadsheets, videos and presentations, than for tasks such as uploading content to a Web site or sending e-mails bulging with attachments.

3G vs. 4G Real World Speed Tests

While this is representative of the general difference between Clear 3G and 4G speeds, the speeds you’ll get can vary widely from city to city.

That’s where comes in.


Clear 4G/3G Speeds By City

With regards to Clear/Sprint 4G speeds, its important to note that the city-by-city tests weren’t chosen based on where 4G was available. Rather, they were selected to be consistent with previous tests.

As a result, not all cities tested had 4G speeds. When 4G was not available, 3G speeds were tested.

Use the charts below as a 4G speed reference guide only if Clear/Sprint 4G coverage was available in the city tested.

The chart below list the cities in the leftmost column; moving rightward across the chart, you can see the speed averages and network latency times for each of the four wireless networks.

Speeds are expressed in megabits per second (mbps). Latency (or the time it takes a single small packet of data to travel to a network server and back) is represented in milliseconds. We recorded download and upload speeds and latency times during our laptop-modem tests, and download and upload speeds in our smartphone tests.


Clicking on the images below will take you to PCWorld’s enlarged versions.



Clear 4G LTE and WiMAX Together?

The first Clearwire LTE trial results are in: 90Mbps [downloading], 30Mbps [uploading].

Though these trial numbers never end up holding up in real-world use, it’s notable that the company achieved these speeds while driving around, not sitting in a lab wearing white coats with the base station a few yards away.

Engadget Mobile

Needless to say, though, they’re taking the LTE option pretty seriously if they’re dumping serious cash into testing it out and publishing the results.

Engadget Mobile

For more details, see the teaser trailer they’ve put together below.


Clear 4G LTE Trials Results


Bottom-Line on Clear 4G Speeds

Through my own testing of Sprint and Clear devices, in addition to aforementioned speed tests the 3-6 Mbps downloading and 1 Mbps uploading advertised speeds hold true.

In addition to these speeds, bursts of up to 10 Mbps are available as well.

With the possibility of Clear 4G LTE on the way with insanely fast speeds, the Sprint/Clear duo will most likely be around in the 4G race for a long time to come.


Next, Clear 4G Coverage

4G coverage has long been Clear’s Achilles heel.

The greatest frustration for many MBR readers and potential customers alike is lack of availability in their city.

Next, I’ll cover where Clear 4G coverage currently is along with where they plan to be in the future.

Also in this review:

  1. Clear 4G Overview
  2. Clear 4G Plans
  3. Clear 4G Speed
  4. Clear 4G Coverage
  5. Clear 4G Devices


  1. K Doan says:

    I can’t wait until they roll out the LTE. I would get this item for sure when the LTE finally is available.

    I also own stocks in clearwire so I am hoping that they are smart enough to take avantage of the higher speed of LTE for marketing.

    A good marketing strategy would bump up the download speed of home internet basic for $35 to 6 Mbs from 1.5 Mbs and leave the unlimted download for home internet at $45. This will cause many existing DSL customer to switch to clear for a better deal.

    Many will get the basic and it will meet all their internet needs including streaming video & movie such as Netflix & Hulu. I myself will get the unlimited download speed and take the advantage of the LTE higher speed so I can download files faster. All depend on the person needs or wants.

    This higher speed 4G LTE can boost this company clearwire to the top if they know how to use it. And if they do, I will ride the wave with them since I own stocks in Clearwire.

    • Marc says:

      I think we’re in for an interesting ride. I just read today that Sprint no longer owns a majority of the stocks in Clearwire.

      “As a result of recent stock changes, Sprint is no longer Clearwire’s majority shareholder. On June 1, Sprint made the decision to surrender 77,413,434 shares of Class B common stock, reducing its voting interest and diminishing its share in the company below 50 percent. As a result of the deal, Sprint agreed to pay Clearwire of $7,741.34.

      “Now that our economic interest has fallen below 50 percent, we are reclaiming our full voting rights so that our voting rights and economic rights are once again aligned,” a Sprint spokesman told Reuters.
      A Clearwire spokesman declined to comment on what the change in ownership might mean. However, the two companies very much remain aligned, working together on the roll out of a new high-speed LTE network. Sprint also remains Clearwire’s largest shareholder and wholesale partner.”

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