Blog Post

WiMAX Hits Austin and San Antonio Today

[qi:gigaom_icon_WiMax] Sprint (s S) announced WiMAX service today in San Antonio and my hometown of Austin, Texas, so this is just to tell y’all I’m playing with a modem and will be letting folks know how it all works, once I activate the darn thing. Currently Sprint doesn’t support a USB modem for Macs (but I’m assured that one is coming, likely in time for the holidays), which means I need a PC to activate my modem on. But then I can use a personal hotspot product that converts the WiMAX signal to Wi-Fi to test it out on my MacBook (and iPod Touch)! So send me your questions, concerns and anything else WiMAX-related, and I’ll try to address them or get them answered. Personally, I want to see if this is something I could replace my wired connection with, or if it’s really just what I’d use instead of my 3G MiFi while I wait for LTE.

15 Responses to “WiMAX Hits Austin and San Antonio Today”

  1. Nicole Erwin

    I am very happy with my service from Clear. I am in San Antonio inside loop 1604 west of Bandera Road and get 4 bars on my home modem which is upstairs about about 5 feet from a window. I have the mobile USB unit and am using it on a new laptop with WIndows 7. I get maximum signal (10 bars) on that device and it is lightening fast.

    If you are in San Antonio, I would recommend you purchase your service from Corporate Technologies on Eckhert Road at Bandera. Site:

  2. I’m in Fort Worth and am doing just fine with the Clear fixed and mobile units for the last two weeks. In fact I cut off the fixed line service yesterday. I get 7-8 MBPS down /1MBPS up at home – but I’ve spent a little time getting optimum placement of the access unit – near a window. Placement makes a huge difference in my location. The mobile speed varies with location and signal, but I’ve seen 6MBPS down with as little as none inside of the convention center. Bottom line: if you’re on DSL or 3G, this can best it. The only advantage 3G might have is getting signal through buildings and a few more towers in the 3G network.

  3. I have been using Clear here in Austin (Pflugerville) since it launched Nov 1. It has worked GREAT. The service is fast enough and so far reliable enough that I cancelled my DSL today and Clear is now my primary connection for home and mobile. I get 5-6Mbps down consistently and have times where it hits 8-10. Saturday I watched 2 college football games and a Hulu episode all at the same time with no latency. I think for the price it is a great option. I have the Home and Mobile Unlimited option. Feel free to ask any questions about the service on Twiiter @powellmap

  4. Anonymous

    Have been using Clear WiMax (two mobile USB modems) for a few months in the ATL area now. Average download is probably 5 to 6Mbit, but 10 or 11 are very common too (at my favorite Starbucks). Coverage gaps are still being plugged so coverage and speeds keep getting better all the time. Very happy so far. Not expensive either: two accounts, no download caps: $55/month.

    Stacy, when testing through the mobile WiFi router (I assume the same one Clear resells) be aware that the router may cap speeds (I believe at 5 to 6Mbit), or at least it used to.

    Also, try to get a Clear Wimax USB: they released a Mac driver last month.

  5. Stacey:

    I live in Portland, have two Clear fixed + mobile + VoIP subscriptions (one for family, one for home office) for the last nine months. I stream TV on the MAX light rail to the airport with a Mac (using the WiMAX-to-WiFi conversion router approach you mentioned). I am directly between two base station sites in suburban NW Portland, get 5MB down/750kb up anywhere in my home with a WiFi router on the backend of the WiMAX device. Get about 2.5MB down/500kb up on the mobile setup. (Yes, I’m a bit of a techie so I test this regularly…).

    I recently dumped Verizon FiOS for Clear, as I got similar fixed access rates over FiOS at a $50/mo savings. And FiOS network performance is spotty, frequent periodic service interruptions (think 1-2 times per week). End of the day, wireless services will always have coverage issues. But for me, Clear is value for money.

  6. Brett Glass

    Stacey, you’ve long asserted that broadband customers do not have a choice of providers, even though several WISPs have long been operating in Austin. Now that a bigger (but not necessarily better) company is offering wireless Internet there, will you finally concede that broadband is competitive?

  7. I am in austin and purchased the Clear version (same network sprint is using). USB for my mac.

    How does it work?

    Inside I am getting 1-2Mbit down and 400-500k up.
    Outside (or near windows) I am getting 5-6Mbit down and 400-500k up.

    There are holes in the network (couldn’t get a signal on some parts of MOPAC while driving) but seems to work most places.

    I was in a car to Dallas and had service in austin, killeen, waco and dallas on i-35. Was able to skype videoconference while going 70mph. (no – I wasn’t driving).

    Not fast enough for me to replace a home connection, but at $25/month (actually $50/month for 2 mobile connections) – I am happy for going about austin with this on my laptop.

    • Al:

      You’ll probably find using the USB for your only WiMAX connection within your home (or any building) isn’t going to give satisfactory performance. I’d recommend buying the WiMAX-WiFi router from Clear and placing your USB modem with it near a window, etc. I use the Motorola fixed modems for in-home access (connect a standard WiFi router on the backend) and get significantly better performance with either of these two setups than with a USB directly into the laptop.

  8. Can this be compared to Clear? I had read of reception problems in Portland(?) and heard someone here in Atlanta tell his radio listeners that he was unable to get a signal (and was returning the hardware).

    Specifically, I would like to know whether it is a viable alternative to Comcast cable internet.

  9. Stacey,
    Can you do the following.
    Connect to WiMax, make a internet phone call while running Youtube Video (on Mute).
    Run a speed test at couple of locations.
    Have someone drive your car while running the speed test ( if possible).
    Run a comparison speed test (if possible) on Comcast Cable,
    then with Verizon Evdo, Sprint Evdo and ATT using broadband wireless modem ( if you have).
    I remember folks ran an extensive test in Baltimore when it was announced first time. But I suspect the signal strength is the same. SPRINT might have showcased Baltimore for their first launch ??

    • Stacey Higginbotham

      Okay, I can do many of the above, but lack all the resources for a complete head to head comparison on all services. If i can wrangle an AT&T 3g modem from someone to compare on GSM, I have the Verizon covered and can compare against Sprint 3G as well.