Virgin Mobile is one of Sprint's pre-paid service brands, the other being Boost. The difference is rates and who they're marketed to.
Clear is a separate company that Sprint buys wholesale WiMax (4G) service from.
FreedomPop is a separate company reselling wholesale Clear WiMax service. (No 3G)
FreedomPop's service should have the same coverage and likely speeds (I suppose it could be given lower priority than other Clear customers) as Clear.
VirginMobile's 3G service, just like Sprint's 3G service, DOES suck, and has ever since Sprint started selling the iPhone. Since FreedomPop doesn't include 3G, it only includes Clear's WiMax (4G) service, speeds should be much better, BUT, coverage has holes and is non-existent outside each cities metro-area. (Pretty big area for Houston)
Edit: appears they have the $90 hotspot but it seems bulky.
Get the hotspot. It's just a rebranded "Clear Spot Voyager" While you DO have the minor hassle of carrying two devices, the hotspot can work with anything that does WiFi. A printer, an XBox, a tablet, a laptop, a phone, an iPod touch, whatever.
If that is the case, then I am ignorant, but I don't think Virgin Mobile is exactly the same as Clear as far as their towers and coverage. So may be wrong, although I hope not, because I had a VM phone that I had to return due to terrible coverage around here in metro ATL..
Clear's WiMax coverage matches what will show on some phones as "4G". 3G coverage is through Sprint.
Does the hotspot have 3G fallback coverage? If so, this is handy to have around in case of emergencies...
what kind of download/upload speeds can i expect by using the hotspot? i'm not really familiar with 3G/4G lingo. is it comparable to residential use internet services through companies like charter, time warner, or verizon fios?
I'm guessing, but it looks like it depends on whether you pay the $3 for "Premium" speed. So, 1.5Mb for regular, and 7-10, sometimes 10-12 in a good area, for Premium. That's Comparable to residential DSL speeds, slower than cable or FIOS.
Clear has two rate plans[clear.com], both unlimited, one is capped at 1.5Mb for $35 a month, the other isn't at $50 a month.
For folks that need less data, FreedomPop is doing usage based billing. The $18 month for 2GB plan is ideal for tablet / phone use AS LONG AS YOU DON'T STREAM VIDEO/AUDIO constantly. In other words, web browsing, email, texting (Google Voice), VOIP calling, Google Maps use, and so on.
The free plan would be good for less regular use. Like taking your tablet out once or twice a week.
(I use about 1GB each on my phone and tablet monthly)
I see that it will employ WiMAX but according to the engadget article "FreedomPop says it will switch to Sprint's LTE spectrum sometime in early 2013."
That being said I hope there isn't any incompatibility with the current hotspot and LTE when the switchover takes place.
Edit 2: Read the return policy in the wiki. Unless I misinterpreted something it sounds pretty misleading calling it a "refundable security deposit" when you have 30 days to return it and get your deposit back.
Clear isn't just turning off WiMax on a Monday in 2013, they're going to run both networks in parallel for a couple of years, minimum. Sprint's doing the same thing now as they transition to LTE. Since FreedomPop is just reselling Clear, it's reasonable to expect that your device will keep working until 2015 or so. I don't have inside info, note the word "reasonable".
Yes, but that doesn't mean that this hardware will work on the new spectrum. You may get stuck with useless hardware.
It won't, it is WiMax hardware. WiMax will be around for a few more years though.
That said, your alternatives are all much more expensive. (Verizon, AT&T, etc.)
the "old 4g" might stay up while LTE is also up. This is unclear.
Well, unless you think FreedomPop will have reason to just shut down WiMax service while Clear is still selling it, and piss off thousands of customers... it'll probably stay up for 3 or 4 years, at least.
kind of a "make or break" situation there
I agree that they aren't clear whether you can cancel service a few months later and return it for your deposit back. It's hard to imagine a non-contract service giving away the devices, so just assume that you have to outright buy the device (whichever you choose), since you would have to buy the device for any other non-contract service.
The disadvantage here seems to be that you can't just pick up a used Clearspot off of Craig's List.
So, taking the WHOLE deal into account, the $90 for the widget and then the cheaper service plans compared to Clear and Sprint/T-Mobile/AT&T/Verizon, at the end of a year, or two, which costs you more/less/service differences? Then decide.
For no reason whatsoever, I did some simple bare-bones calculations without taking tax/shipping into consideration.
If you want 2.5GB/month (500MB free + 2GB plan), then over the course of a year it would be more cost effective to buy five USB adapters at $49.99/ea. That is, assuming you get 500MB free per device, per month, forever.
True, but that's a pretty fair amount of hassle factor. You're also likely to waste a chunk of bandwidth since you can't perfectly time your switch to the next widget at the 500Mb mark. You'll have to switch early.
You could do Extreme Geek with it, attach them all to a USB hub, and then get some load balancing software to spread your usage more or less evenly between all of them.... It'd be a fun project, but again, a lot of hassle.
In a nutshell: this is only a good deal if you only use your free data allotment each month, for more than twelve months OR if you're a light user looking for no commitments, over a period of many, many months. It comes out to be $0.008/MB if you use 500MB/month for 12 months, not including taxes or shipping.
The Sprint plan is a TWO YEAR CONTRACT plan. And if you don't need 3GB, paying an extra $10 for it doesn't save you any money.
While the T-Mobile plan isn't a contract plan, at $35 you can get unlimited 1.5Mb data from Clear, and at $50 you can get unlimited "up to 12Mb" data. Clear is obvious better from a per megabyte cost perspective, but T-Mobile has much better coverage. So, cost or coverage? Different folks, different needs.
FreedomPop is a good deal for people that don't need more than 2GB of data. Light and/or occasional use. Your right about folks that need more, but a lot of folks just don't.
Also note that this is for the modestly priced USB adapter and not the more expensive "Freedom Sleeves". Will you really be using the same old iPod Touch or iPhone 4/4S over a year from now?
It's not going to pay off for itself if you break your phone and get a new one with a different docking connector, or if the Freedom Sleeve/USB adapter breaks.
Good point, but you get the sleeve to reduce hassle factor (only have to carry "one" device) and as part of that have already decided to pay more. Obviously it won't work with an iPhone 5.
Using the same method as in my previous post, it comes out to: 25/(200*12) = $0.0104/MB. It's good for those who need occasional emergency Internet access over a period of a year.
You're right about folks needing 3GB or more really doing better to look elsewhere, but for folks that need less, it's a good deal.
And less really is reasonable for a LOT of people, because they aren't going to use this as primary internet, just when they're in a car or somewhere WiFi isn't freely available.
Nice concept, though. It's not about money... it's about sending a message. Right?
No, I think it's about the money. If I only need 2GB and don't care about streaming video, $18 a month is cheaper than $35 a month for data and speed I won't benefit from.
Last edited by Zanthexter; 10-01-2012 at 06:14 AM..
I was about to jump when I noticed that there is a $2.99 monthly fee for "Speed Plus." I don't really need it, but for a backup data device (hanging out at the park/etc) it would be perfect. And then I found these little Gems:
In any billing month that your usage is within 100mb of your Monthly Plan broadband data allotment limit, your FreedomPop Account will be charged the automatic top-up amount
-@400MB, they ding you
If monthly service falls below 5MB you will be considered inactive and charged $1.
If that is the case, then I am ignorant, but I don't think Virgin Mobile is exactly the same as Clear as far as their towers and coverage. So may be wrong, although I hope not, because I had a VM phone that I had to return due to terrible coverage around here in metro ATL.
But not risking much with this deal but maybe $10 and some time, so it's worth a shot.
Can you not understand? They both use clearwire, same tower, sprint, virgin, fpop connects on wimax, wimax will not provide a different tower to every different company.
Nice, got it, looks good for backup internet access, great for if you need to get your tablet or laptop online and you're nowhere near a Starbucks. I read also in an article where they said when they upgrade to LTE, you can send back your Wimax modem and just pay the price difference.
will have to see how this compares to truconnect (other than the fact that these guys have a free 500 meg/month)...
i got a truconnect mifi for $79 about a year or so ago and they always charge after you use the data...for m y occasional/light usage, that fits my bill, but this sounds more promising. i may never pay any bill if i keep myself under 500 meg/month limit..
is there a way to absolutely make sure that I get capped for overage and know when I use my 500 megs? I carry a 15" MBP and 11" air, and decided to toss my ipad. This would be ideal granted I know when my limit is reached
Off course not, how can they get money from customer if they protect you from overage useage.
Mind you, these rebranded Clear modems are being sold at a large profit -- the $90 modem is $50 from Clear. Also Clear sells unlimited bandwidth for $35 a month. This service is clearly aimed at casual phone/tablet users. As AT&T has said, 90% of their customers use less than 2GB of data per month. Freedompop's 2GB plan is only $18/mo, which is a competitive rate. The ability to give data to 8 devices is even better, because you don't have to pay a ridiculous premium to tether from your phone.
1) Though FreedomPop isn’t limiting what you consume with your free data allotment, it is putting restrictions on how fast you consume it. Though the specific details aren’t spelled out on its website, it appears non-paying customers won’t have access to the WIMAX network’s full mobile broadband speeds. FreedomPop is selling a “Speed Plus” service for $3 a month, which doesn’t throttle speeds and prioritizes packets over those of non-paying customers.
2) The beta is open to all comers, but FreedomPop has an upper limit to the number of customers it will accept. Sesar wouldn’t identify the specific number, saying only it was restricted to the number of devices the MVNO has in inventory.
The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true. - James Branch Cabell
"They all weigh exactly 22 pounds and they all have a girth of 3...3 what?? 3 Girth Units. Come pick 'em up, please! I'm begging you! They're boxes and they're brown and they have tape all on 'em. And they'll probably fit on a dolly!"
I'm pretty meh about this deal. It's good if you truly want <500MB/mo it's good, but really thats not a lot of data.
For most people I think Virgin Mobile's 3G/4G Hotspot/USB Device would suit more people. It's $60 for the device (amazon etc). Then $35/mo for 'Unlimited' Wimax (i.e. 10GB unthrottled speeds), and 2GB of 3G data. It gives you a heck of a lot more Wimax data, and some 3G data when Clear's Wimax signal fails (which it will). Plus you can buy this today and activate and not have to wait for some flakey company to get this act together.
So let me understand this. I could pay a lot more money per month and get a lot more service? SHOCKING! You'd better call 60 Minutes and create your own front page deal. What's next, I could pay even MORE money and get even MORE data and speed? HOLY COW!
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