Remember when Verizon was going around earlier this summer saying how unlimited mobile broadband was coming to an end? It seems that following in AT&T’s footsteps towards an all metered Internet may not have been the best idea because it has left the door wide open for the smaller carriers to jump in and fill that void.
How’s that working out for you AT&T and Verizon?
We reported earlier this month that Virgin Mobile, a subsidiary of Sprint Nextel, was introducing pay-as-you-go unlimited Internet service for its MiFi 2200 and MC 760 USB modem customers. While you are going through the Virgin Mobile name, it actually works off of the Sprint Nextel network which covers an extensive amount of the country.
Not to miss out on the hoopla, Clearwire has stepped up with a new program named Rover that will be offering a cellular-to-Wi-Fi solution, as well as a USB modem. The Rover Puck (pictured to the right) will convert Clearwire’s 4G signal into Wi-Fi for up to eight devices at a time. The Rover Stick is just a standard USB modem for broadband, but will also be pay-as-you-go off of the 4G network.
The pricing offers a few more choices than Virgin’s $10 for 10 days or $40 for 30 days of unlimited plans. Rover plans will be $5 a day, $20 a week or $50 a month. The pricing isn’t quite as attractive, although the one day plan could be nice depending on your given situations. The service is faster than what Virgin Mobile is offering, but we’re not quite sure it’s worth the extra expense.
However, the biggest issue is that Clearwire currently only covers 49 major cities in the United States. If you are travelling between cities, or one of the small or mid-sized cities in the country, you’re out of luck.
We can see the pros to this plan if you live in one of those cities, and you have to have 4G speeds, but is it really worth an extra $10 a month over Virgin’s plan which will let you go pretty much anywhere you want? The Rover Puck costs $149.99, the same as Virgin Mobile’s MiFi 2200, so everything is even there. Having not tested the Rover (I live in a town of 17,000, clearly not going to have coverage here), I’m going to have to say that my choice would go to the slower MiFi.
While it’s nice to see another company sticking by the concept of unlimited traffic, it just seems to limited in its coverage to be worth it.
What say you? Was Clearwire perhaps a bit too premature with launching these products considering their lack of coverage?