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Summary:

Sprint held a happy hour last night to show off the WiMAX launch in here Austin, Texas, so I wandered over for some BBQ and broadband. I want to love WiMAX, but I can’t get excited about the promise of upload speeds of some 400 kilobits […]

Verizon Test

WiMAX Test

Sprint held a happy hour last night to show off the WiMAX launch in here Austin, Texas, so I wandered over for some BBQ and broadband. I want to love WiMAX, but I can’t get excited about the promise of upload speeds of some 400 kilobits per second, which are only a wee bit more than what my Verizon 3G connection delivers. However, on the download side things are decent for a wired network and awesome for a wireless one.

And before any WiMAX boosters despair, I was told that the local 4G network should continue to improve over the next few weeks, which is why I’m holding off on an all-out review. For a sneak peak, check out the experience in the video below. You can see some freezing in the Hulu video stream during the demo; John Taylor, the Sprint spokesman I interviewed, said the location we were in had only two bars of coverage, which may have been the problem. Given the paucity of devices on display for mobile use and the lackluster network quality so far, I’m still thinking the bet that Clearwire (which is powering the 4G part of the Sprint network) and Sprint made on WiMAX is a bad one, but I’m hoping to be proven wrong.

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  1. Why, oh why, would they pick a demo location that only gave them 2 bars? That’s a marketing fail. Where was it (I am in Austin)?

    1. I’m west of Austin and have been watching closely both the Austin and San Antonio launches. Seems they are still adding towers and only will get better as they expand.

  2. I have Clearwire (Clear) here in Boise and absolutely love it. It is super fast, mobile, and works whereever I have been in town. So far it has given 5 bars at every site I have been to in Boise. Sure glad they picked Boise for one of the earlier sites.

    1. I should also add that it is really starting to pick up customers here. At my office almost half of my group of analysts have switched over to Clear, and it is really picking up momentum. I did a little checking before signing up and all the guys whom I asked who had been on Clear for some time really liked the service. They have a nice package of home, mobile and phone for $70 that covers all the bases.

  3. Everyone I know who is a subscriber loves it. Professionals on the go say it is superior to any 3g they have tethered.

  4. WiMAX is still around? I guess rumors of its demise were greatly exaggerated? Living in an area where my only option is finicky Time Warner Cable, I’ve been praying for the day WiMAX would be deployed to the general public. I still hold out that hope.

  5. Your review starts off assuming it sucks and you are waiting to be proved wrong? Is your glass half full or maybe even empty? And you use Verizon 3G over Sprint? Seriously? V is good, but Sprint 3G is better. And WiMax will be even better.

  6. Everyone I know who is a subscriber loves it. nice app.

  7. I saw a Clear demo in Pflugerville (north of Austin) that looked good.

  8. It’s been my experience here in ATL that they launch WiMax while still deploying hardware and extending coverage and improving signal. When I first signed up, many of my speed/coverage tests did not show signal, now those same locations routinely return 10+ Mbit/s. Pretty awesome for wireless signal, especially since my subscription is only for 6Mbit down…

  9. My Austin WiMAX Experience Was Good, But Not Good Enough – GigaOM Friday, February 5, 2010

    [...] bums me out because I had high hopes for the 4G wireless service as a way to fill in some of the broadband black holes in town where cable or DSL doesn’t reach. Unfortunately, WiMAX doesn’t seem to reach those areas, either. WiMAX speeds [...]

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