Identical to Sprint 4G & LTE On The Way?
Clear 4G LTE (not WiMAX) trials in Phoenix, AZ maxes out speedtest.net 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.
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 Computerworld.com 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.
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 PCWorld.com 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.
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.
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.
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: