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.
Tech Analyst says
Stick to being a modem fanboy, you know nothing about companies going under or not. That requires real analysis beyond what you read on message boards.
I’m no Tech Analyst, so I’ll have to take your word for it.
As a Tech Analyst, I’d love to hear why you think Clear is healthier than the buzz says. And whether this health has anything to do with their WiMAX network or is pinned on hopes for their LTE network or a sale of their spectrum.
As a techie, I just don’t see that WiMAX has much of a future beyond the current generation of devices and subscribers. Do you disagree?
Do you have an interest in Clear? Are you an investor or employee? I see you’re not a Clearwire user…
Ignore the troll Stephen… the entire industry is down on Clear and if it wasn’t for Sprint, they would be bankrupt (and mind you, Sprint has their problems as well). Those are just the facts, no faux analysis needed.
I use Clear and like it but that doesn’t mean they aren’t in trouble.
I would add that Clear is shifting to LTE and putting WiMAX out to pasture which should help them.
Do not feed the trolls, eh? Thanks for the encouragement! 🙂
I see that someone with the same name as you posts a LOT to Yahoo Finance about CLWR. Perhaps some disclosure is in order?
Hans De Leenheer says
2nd Gregs respond. Anyone calling himself a Tech Analyst and staying anonymous isn’t worth that title. And calling you ‘just a modem fanboy’ hasn’t even had the time to check who he really is peaking at.
Nevertheless on-topic: if WiMAX would have decent coverage overhere in Europe I’d use it! I’d love to wear my real broadband modem with me all the time. But no, we are stuck with crappy 3G providers and half the ime they even kick you bak to plain Edge.
Tom Petrocelli says
Greg’s right. Ignore anyone who posts anonymously. If they can’t attach their name and reputation to what they say, then what they say is worthless.
And I don’t have an opinion on WiMax. 🙂
Lyubomir Grigorov says
Considering the cost of LTE modems and the plans that are currently offered (USA), I think WiMax may be still a better option for the next couple years. Don’t forget some wireless cards have Wimax enabled, and this is much cheaper than offered LTE modems.
Now, that being said, if LTE plan and hardware prices drop, more people will adopt it. As it stands, $60-$80 a month for a limited bandwidth and area where you actually have LTE as opposted to 3G is expensive.
Thank you for the headsup on the daily plan. I will definitely give it a go on my laptop to see if it’s worth it.