Is CLEAR 4G Speed Up to Par?

For the most recent info, check out the 2011 Clear 4G Speed Review

WiMAX Speed Review

Clear 4G Speed Test

Clear offers the speeds you’d get from DSL or cable internet wirelessly. With several 4G speed tests backing them up, it’s the real deal.
A WiMAX tower is able to handle up to 70 megabits per second, making it a 4G technology.

Hot stuff…

And now for a drop kick dose of reality.

How much the tower can handle doesn’t translate to how much you’ll get.

In the case of Clear, you get 3 – 6 Mbps with bursts over 10 Mbps which is a bit faster than our previous expectations of WiMAX 4G speeds.


To help put things in perspective, it helps to know what you’ve got right now. Use this speed test tool below to find out. If it doesn’t work, you can get to it here:

How’d you do?

Keep your current speed in mind as we go through the rest of info. It’ll help you understand if Clear’s 4G speeds in comparison to others in the chart available on their website (and pictured below):

Clear 4G Compared


The average broadband 4G speeds Clear offers is 2 – 3 times faster than the average 0.6 – 1.4 Mbps offered by current 3G carriers.

Below is a Clear 4G speed test done by a user Atlanta, Georgia.

Both Atlanta & Portland’s tests come out with similar speeds demonstrating good consistency despite completely different states. This is great news for potential WiMAX travelers. You can expect consistent service regardless of city.


With the 4G speeds Clear WiMAX offers, you can game online, stream HD video from YouTube or listen to internet radio like Pandora on the go without worrying about choppy experiences or data usage caps.


Is there a catch to sipping on 4G speed?


Clear sure didn’t claim to be Mother Theresa or Gandhi. They’re a company out for profit and as such will cover their asses. Here’s the fine print legalese. We’ll get into what it means for you right afterwards:

Clearwire reserves the right to engage in reasonable network management to protect the overall network, including detecting malicious traffic patterns and preventing the distribution of viruses or other malicious code, and through techniques such as limiting the aggregate bandwidth available to bandwidth intensive users during periods of congestion. While the determination of what constitutes excessive use depends on the specific state of the network at any given time, excessive use will be determined by resource consumption and not by the use of any particular application”.

Clear Terms of Service | Network Management |  August 2009

Network management = throttling your speed if they desire

Since they own the pipes they can technically do whatever they want. The only issue arises when they advertise unlimited mobile broadband with “no download speed caps”.


You can’t “limit aggregate bandwidth available” and have “no download speed caps” at the same time. Those are directly contradictory statements.

Following that, they state “what constitutes excessive use depends on the specific state of the network…excessive use will be determined by resource consumption and not by…any particular application”.


That’s basically a catch all legal statement that says if you drink too much Kool-Aid, we can cut the flow of said Kool-Aid regardless of what cup (the application) you drink it from.

It allows them to say they are playing by net neutrality rules when in reality they aren’t. Not much different on the corporate/legal level of most major ISPs (internet service providers).


Will CLEAR still be fast a year or two from now?

Clear won’t have any wireless competition to worry about until AT&T pulls off its 7.2 Mbps this year while T-Mobile builds its HSPA+ (21 Mbps) potential. Even in this scenario, WiMAX still has the potential to upgrade to faster speeds than any current 3G technology.


If there’s anything to fear its LTE (Long Term Evolution).

With its reported average speeds of 16 – 25 Mbps and max download potential of 277 Mbps, LTE is the Excalibur of mobile broadband. To make things just a bit more ominous, Verizon’s set an imminent launch date of early 2010.


What does this mean for Clear WiMAX?

The clock is ticking.

And they hear it. Rapid expansion plans are already underway for 2009 and will continue throughout 2010.

Are you covered? Will you be?

Next, Clear WiMAX 4G coverage


  1. Jude says:

    just trying to use one leg of the ethernet for video service – in theory yes.
    reality – comments

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    Clear has sold out to Sprint. I am going to lose my internet in Nov. I am low income. I did like clear. I need DSL without getting phone service. Is there anything you can suggest I switch to next? i have a desktop only n no smart phone

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