CLEAR is expanding its line of wireless modems… you know, the devices that actually let you get on the company’s 4G WiMAX network. The most intriguing new device is a 4G+ USB stick, which lets you use either CLEAR’s 4G network, or automatically switch to 3G if you happen to leave the WiMAX coverage zone. CLEAR has offered similar USB modems in the past, but the new model is the first that’s compatible with OS X as well as Windows.

The company is also rolling out two mobile WiFi hotspots, the CLEAR Spot 4G+ and the CLEAR Spot 4G. Both will allow you to share a mobile internet connection with several laptops or other devices over a WiFi connection. As you could probably guess by the names, the 4G+ model will let you use 4G or 3G networks, while the CLEAR Spot 4G is WiMAX-only. For some reason the CLEAR Spot 4G lets you connect up to 8 devices while the 4G+ tops out at 5 shared connections.

It’s also probably worth noting that the CLEAR Spot 4G+ gets just 3 hours of battery life, while the Clear Spot 4G runs for about 4 hours on a charge. Neither is going to offer all-day computing unless you bring along a charging cable.

Prices vary depending on your service plan and whether you choose to purchase or lease the modems. You can find more details at

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3 replies on “CLEAR introduces new portable WiMAX, 3G modems”

  1. The 4G+ hotspot looks almost identical to the Sprint Overdrive I’ve been using for a few months now. It’s a handy little device, but it does take about two minutes to boot up, and the battery life is a joke. I think even 3 hours is a optimistic.

    However, speeds are great over 4G, averaging about 3-4 down, 1 up over most of the Portland area. Coverage is still spotty, especially inside concrete and metal buildings, so having the 3G fall-back is nice.

    Overall, there’s no real price advantage to either Sprint or Clear on this one, and they share towers, so it’s all a matter of what logo you want on your bill. =)

    1. Likewise in Seattle coverage is spotty on the bus route from the eastside across the 520 bridge. I’ve learned to cache as much as I can in the good coverage areas. Hopefully it will improve over time or LTE will replace it in a few years.

    2. In my area Clear has no contract requirement and the 4G+ service costs $61 per month, including the modem lease. This makes it a little bit cheaper and much more flexible than the 2-year commitment required by Sprint.

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