(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
Notices have been going out to Baltimore-area customers who use CLEAR mobile internet indicating that the carrier will end its 4G service in November.
That’s because it is now owned by Sprint, which wants to make upgrades.
“As a valued customer, we are providing you formal notice that Sprint will cease operating the CLEAR 4G (WiMAX) Network and Clearwire Expedience Network on November 6, 2015 at 12:01AM EST,” the letter states.
The shutdown means CLEAR and Clearwire devices will no longer work, and should not be returned, the letter states.
According to CNET, Sprint debuted the 4G WiMAX network in Baltimore in 2008, ushering in hopes that wireless broadband would take off with its Xohm service. Since then, big telecom companies have shifted their focus to LTE.
Sprint bought CLEAR outright in 2012. The goal was to use the spectrum of CLEAR’s WiMAX network to enhance Sprint’s own LTE network. In 2012, Gigaom spotlighted officials once again cutting a ribbon in Baltimore, stating that Sprint “bet on the wrong horse.”
Sprint is now pushing its Spark network, which combines “three bands of LTE.”
But CLEAR has maintained a presence, and was seen by many local home internet users as an alternative to Comcast. Sprint officials did not make available how many customers will be affected in Baltimore.
Existing CLEAR users will have the option to migrate to Sprint’s LTE network, said Sprint spokeswoman Roni Singleton.
“For individual subscribers that transition to the Sprint 4G LTE network, Sprint will provide a free standard Sprint LTE capable device and subscribers can maintain their existing service plan, if it is available,” Singleton wrote in an email to Technical.ly Baltimore.
The cost differential between existing and new service plans wasn’t immediately available.
Below is the text of the letter in full, emphasis theirs:
Dear Valued CLEAR/Clearwire Customer,
You are receiving this notice because our records show you are subscribed to services on the CLEAR 4G (WiMAX) Network or Clearwire Expedience network. Sprint is in the process of implementing major enhancements to the Sprint 4G LTE Network, including the deployment of Sprint Spark, an enhanced LTE network capability, by repurposing the CLEAR 4G (WiMAX) Network and Clearwire Expedience Network. As a valued customer, we are providing you formal notice that Sprint will cease operating the CLEAR 4G (WiMAX) Network and Clearwire Expedience Network onNovember 6, 2015 at 12:01AM EST.
What this means to you:
• Sprint will no longer support CLEAR 4G WiMAX and Clearwire Expedience devices or services.
• Your CLEAR 4G WiMAX and Clearwire Expedience devices and services will no longer work,
including your ability to contact 9-1-1.
• You should not return your device(s).
To discuss your options or learn more, please call 1-888-888-3113.
Thank you for your business.
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