Clearwire's Non-WiMax Now Non-Useful: Blocks VoIP, Streaming Media

from the wonderful dept

Craig McCaw's Clearwire wireless outfit has received plenty of attention -- mainly for being run by Craig McCaw. Late last year, Intel had to pay Clearwire to convince them to use WiMax (which, still doesn't actually exist) as the core of their wireless offering, as WiMax was proving to be increasingly less than the hype would have you believe. Earlier this month, Bell Canada made a surprise announcement, saying they would provide VoIP for Clearwire in the US -- giving the Canadian telco a way to enter the US market. Still, it appears the folks at Clearwire haven't been paying attention to the whole "network neutrality" debate or the fact that an ISP has been fined for blocking Vonage. Instead, Clearwire proudly states that they will block any application they don't like -- including non-Bell Canada VoIP and any streaming audio or video offering. In other words, Clearwire's wireless broadband is becoming close to useless, because they want to control what you can and can't do over it. They claim they need to do this "to ensure network performance reliability," but can't explain how it's okay for them to offer VoIP, but Vonage must be blocked. More importantly, if Clearwire is saying they can't have a stable network when people are doing VoIP or streaming media, it certainly raises a lot of questions about the quality of WiMax.

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  1. identicon
    Jeff, 1 Feb 2010 @ 1:32am


    Clearwire IS indeed crooked. I used them for about 3 years and never had any "real" issues. As time went on the service became slower and slower. They DO block ports. I ran nmap to check this. In the beginning they didn't block many ports at all.

    As for getting out of the contract, I did. I called Clearwire to ask what would happen when I cancel my service. I explained that I know my 2-year contract is up. I asked what would happen if I canceled my service, they told me that I would be o.k. because the 2 years were up. When I signed up, there was a 2-year contract which stated that after 2 years I would be on a month to month contract basis, of course at a higher rate. When I called to cancel my service they told me that that everything was o.k., just return the modem and all is well. This did not happen. My bank account was hit with a $180.00 cancellation fee. I immediately called Clearwire CS. I informed the "customer no-service" person that I did not agree to another 2 years. They told me that my original contract stated such. Well I informed them that it DID NOT. I still had the original contract. I informed the CS guy that a contract is between two parties, if either party changes their terms, the contract is void. That is the entire point of any contract! You can't be obligated to something which is "subject to change" and then be bound to endless changes, otherwise why use a contract in the first place? In other words I DID NOT authorize the a debit withdraw.

    After talking with their "customer no-service" people for about 2 hours, I finally got someone who could give me a refund. Then they told me that I HAD TO return the modem through the mail. I was told that I could not return the modem to the local Clearwire store, where I had picked up a replacement modem before, and returned the old one there. I asked them how this made any sense, why can't I just return it to the store? They told me that they had issues getting the modems returned through the stores. They actually said that they can't trust the people in the stores to return the modems! So I said, "Why the hell should I trust them with my credit card number then!" I couldn't believe how ridiculous all of this was!

    So I finally convinced the store to take back the modem. They were trying to bill me for another month after I canceled the service. I DIDN'T USE the service after the first time I called them, because I was already using my new ISP. They said that they would charge as long as the modem was not returned. I told them that I was about ready to get a lawyer. My wife's place of business offers a law service for a monthly fee, we have it. Anyway I told them that they can look at their network and see that my modem has NOT been online since the date where I canceled the service, and that they were NOT going to charge me when I'm NOT on their network!

    After all of this I finally got my refund, but they still tried to charge me for that one month of NO SERVICE! Then one year later, I see a Clearwire transaction in my account. I was about to go ape man! Then I see that they refunded me the last $33.20 I was owed.

    My suggestion is to stay away from Clearwire. I brought them 4 customers back when they were worthwhile. Now it seems that they are trying to scam everyone. I know that people need to read their contracts, but they tried to change the contract on me in the middle of the game. I only received a refund because I had my original contract, and knew what it stated, otherwise they would have taken me for the $180.00 and the $33.20!

    Since, they have changed their service. If you are behind a router you will notice that your connection seems to be inactive. Then when you plug the modem straight into a computer, it will take you to a website which tells you that your contract has ended. Then it lists a bunch of changes in the contract, and requires you to click on the agreement. Just hope your kid doesn't do it while you're not at home, because after that, you're bound to another contract... Ha Ha Ha!

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