Clearwire may be preparing to transform itself into an LTE operator, but that hasn’t stopped it from selling its WiMAX service to other carriers. The latest to jump on Clearwire’s bandwagon is mobile virtual network operator Jolt Mobile, which is making the odd pairing of GSM with WiMAX.
There are no GSM/WiMAX phones available in the U.S., so Jolt Mobile isn’t using WiMAX to supplement the AT&T HSPA mobile broadband service it currently resells. Instead it appears to be offering WiMAX data as an add-on mobile broadband service through a separate modem or hotspot. The press release Clearwire and Jolt issued to announce the deal was short on details, though it did say Jolt would tap into Clearwire’s LTE network once it is available next year.
What would be interesting is if Jolt planned to take the approach of fellow MVNO FreedomPop and start connecting its customers’ smartphones to WiMAX through a sleeve or over Wi-Fi through a mobile hotspot. While not exactly elegant, it would be a means of bypassing the caps that it is forced to contend with by using AT&T’s HSPA network – right now its data plans top out at 2 GB a month.