Clearwire Criticizes Verizon LTE Caps
Touts unlimited service, ignores ITU and pretends Clear is '4G'
With Verizon's LTE launch set for this Sunday
, Clearwire's Chief Commercial Officer Mike Sievert takes to the company blog
to take a few shots at Verizon and T-Mobile. Amusingly, Sievert claims that T-Mobile and Verizon's entry into the faster wireless broadband space has "prompted many in the industry to start a debate over the definition of "4G". Technically, what actually began that debate was the fact the ITU recently declared
of the current deployments are technologically robust or fast enough to be considered true fourth generation -- though this doesn't stop Sievert from waxing poetic about what he thinks 4G is:
Well, as the pioneer in 4G and developer of the first 4G network in the country, we have been doing this for a while now and we think we have a pretty good idea of what 4G is. For us, the definition is quite simple: 4G is next generation. It’s a big leap over 3G, offering you speed and capacity that is several times greater, giving you the ability to have much more than just a thin layer of 3G Internet for checking sports scores and doing email. With 4G, people can experience the magic of true broadband, and have digital lifestyle options that were never available before.
That's all very interesting, except for the fact that WiMax isn't technically 4G, and neither is T-Mobile's HSPA+ or Verizon's current LTE incarnation. It's the ITU that declares what 4G is or isn't -- and not somebody's marketing department. It's not clear if Clearwire knows this and is just ignoring it, or if Sievert just hasn't kept up to date with industry discussion. Sievert then goes on to take aim at Verizon's 5GB and 10GB caps, which as we noted yesterday
can be burned through rather quickly at the faster speeds LTE provides. Says Sievert:
In this increasingly noisy market, the mistake anyone can make is only looking at speed when the real differentiator in 4G is capacity. Because our network has so much spectrum (which translates into capacity) we can offer unlimited usage at a good price. For example, take a CLEAR customer using 20GB a month for $45. With Verizon and its usage caps on the 10GB plan, the same person could be paying $180 a month. Our advice to Verizon customers? Watch the clock every minute and count every megabyte. Our unlimited plans are our most popular plans, because no one wants to feel like they are on the clock.
Of course given all of that Clearwire debt
, the company may decide to eventually follow Verizon's lead and apply more punitive overage pricing models.
59 comments .. click to read
Yarmouth Port, MA
The ITU is too late ...
I was pretty surprised when the ITU made the statement that none of the current deployments actually met their 4G criteria and then set a higher bar. They locked the barn after the horse escaped.
The fact is that these deployments are a logical generation beyond 3G. Not 3.5G (3G with "add-ons"). They are sufficiently faster in data rate and they are architecturally sufficiently different. So what do we accurately label them?
It is what it is. If the ITU had the authority and responsibility to define 4G, it failed to do so before the market went out and defined it for them.
Don't get me wrong, I love a high bar and strong definitions. But what happened did happen and it's out there and it doesn't at all fit the 3G definition -- because it is not.
Robb Topolski -= funchords.com =- Cape Cod, MA -- KE1MO
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