Clearwire is not in good shape, and WiMAX is not long for this world. But the network is still active, and it’s possible to get amazingly cheap, no-contract 4G data for the time being. Although Clear clearly wants buyers to sign up for monthly service, they also have “secret” on-demand 2-hour, daily, and weekly plans. Here’s how to get online cheap!
The first thing you need is a Clear modem. Luckily, eBay is flooded with their PXU1900 USB modem, starting around $25. I bought mine a year ago for a bit more, and it’s a nice backup Internet device provided you’re in their service area and near a window. Clear WiMAX performance drops precipitously indoors but is perfectly speedy in the clear (if you forgive the pun).
You’d probably also like reading my Hands-On Review: Clear WiMAX Service (and PXU1900 USB Modem)
Next, you need service. Do not sign up for a monthly subscription: With Clear going down the tubes, this is a seriously bad investment. Instead, just sign up for one of their on-demand plans whenever you need to get online.
You won’t find Clear’s 2-hour pass, 24 hour pass, or 1 week pass listed online. It’s clear that the company doesn’t want users using these. But they are available if you have a modem and want to get online!
Download and install the latest version of the modem software, launch the CLEAR Connection Manager, and insert the modem. It will search for a signal and hopefully be able to connect.
Do not click “My Account” – that’s only for monthly subscribers! Instead, just open your browser and type in any URL. Clear will redirect you to a special page announcing they have “an important message for you”. This is your gateway to the undocumented short-term passes!
Be patient while waiting for these pages to load. They always take forever – 5 minutes today! This kind of focus on customer experience probably explains Clear’s success…
Click “Continue” and you will be taken https://home.clear.com/account/casual-use-reactivate. From there, you can log in or create a special account just for “casual use”.
There are three “casual use” service plans available, but you won’t find these listed on the official Clear service plans page:
- 2 hours for $5
- 24 hours for $10
- 1 week for $25
All are unlimited with no download speed throttling. Pick whichever works best for your needs and you’re online!
By the way, pairing a Clear modem with a Cradlepoint router allows you to keep it near the window for better service.