dslreports logo
site
spacer

spacer
 
   
spc
story category
Clearwire Still Confused About Definition of 'Unlimited'
Engages in Damage Control Over Our Story
by Karl Bode 02:38PM Tuesday Nov 27 2012
Clearwire is engaged in damage control over our recent report that the company is inconsistently kicking people off of their network for excessive use -- despite advertising an unlimited service and throttling users to 250 kbps. Numerous users have complained that they were recently told they could no longer be Clearwire customers. Several of the users told Broadband Reports they were terminated for using as little as 5 GB in a month, and argue that contrary to Clearwire claims, they were not repeatedly warned about heavy usage before finding their service terminated.

Click for full size
Clearwire took to the company's Facebook page to post a statement related to our story, insisting that if you're a heavy user, you can expect to say goodbye to your connection:
quote:
We contact users to notify them of this type of situation to provide an opportunity to make necessary changes. We have noted speculation that users with as little as 5GB per month of usage have received such notifications. This is simply not true, as no user receiving a notification from CLEAR has used less than many, many multiples of this level of usage. Those customers receiving the notification are downloading and/or streaming very large amounts of data -- usually over prolonged time periods -- that are well outside of normal usage patterns for our typical customer, and these customers are directly impacting other customers’ ability to receive quality service or service at all.
Clearwire goes on to note that the company's goal is to provide "consistent, fast and high-quality experience for each of our customers." One problem is that consistency is nowhere to be found in Clearwire's enforcement. We've had numerous readers inform us that they've consumed in excess of 100 GB- 300 GB consistently month after month without ever receiving a warning, something that doesn't exactly scream consistency. Even their Facebook post has at least one commenter who has never received a warning despite "regularly" using 350 GB per month.

The other problem is that Clearwire is still advertising their service as unlimited (see above, right). Learning the real definition of the word unlimited has been a steep learning curve for the wireless industry, though after numerous lawsuits, Attorneys General investigations and a decade of consumer complaints, most carriers have finally shifted toward making any limits on their service clear. Clearwire could go a long way toward smoothing things over by ceasing the practice of advertising a capped and throttled broadband service -- as unlimited.

Update: As one of our readers points out, Clearwire's Acceptable Use Policy is even contradictory. The fine print notes that while unlimited means that they can throttle you, there is no limit to how much you can download:
quote:
The term “unlimited” means that we will not place a limit on how much data you upload or download during a month or other particular period. However, the term “unlimited” does not mean that we will not take steps to reduce your data rate during periods of congestion or take other actions described in this AUP when your usage is negatively impacting the Internet experience of other subscribers to our Service."

view:
topics flat nest 
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Define Unlimited

Do they have a definition of what "unlimited" means? Based on their Facebook post, it seems to be loosely defined as the average used by most customers.

There's probably fine print where they reserve sole discretion to terminate any customer. However, I don't think it's unreasonable to at least publish a logic tree that helps customers understand how they discriminate between majority and fringe.
Nugz
Premium
join:2012-03-16
Ogden, UT

1 recommendation

Re: Define Unlimited

I'm sorry but both Sprint and T-Mobile's "unlimited" is the same dang thing.

Why is Clearwire getting beat up for all this? Anyone using torrents should be kicked off anyways.

Even if you use 1GB of torrents a month, 9 time out of 10 it's illegal software..... Go buy the software... Then what do you use the internet for ? Netflix and browsing and gaming?

Netflix is understandable as a source of using bandwidth (or streaming movies). But anything like downloading illegal software or file sharing. No matter what the usage is. kick them off..
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: Define Unlimited

Because Clear offers their service in a fixed configuration. I assumed we were talking about that, not the mobile configuration. The fixed configuration is likely to be used for high consumption purposes.

I also grow weary of the assumption that high consumption means piracy.
Rob_
Premium
join:2008-07-16
Mary Esther, FL
kudos:1

Re: Define Unlimited

Their acceptable use policy I'm sure has nothing about a data cap. They had ZERO rights to cancel that person. I'd be pissed if my so called unlimited service got disconnected.

-Rob
Expand your moderator at work
cyber610

join:2012-11-27
Honey Brook, PA

Unlimited

it means no limit
canestim

join:2012-01-20

Re: Unlimited

The data is unlimited, unfortunately your speed is not guaranteed. So you can download as many torrents you want at your throttled speed
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Re: Unlimited

And that is exactly how it should be.

Twaddle

@wayport.net
If they impose a limitation on your Internet service that limits data streams then that is not unlimited service as unlimited means no limits. They DO NOT offer unlimited service and should not be allowed to advertise as such. That being said someone bleeding the entire pipe capacity should not have been offered such capability in the first place. The whole idea of marketing and advertizing unlimited then turning around and imposing various limitations and saying its unlimited is false advertising/bait and switch plain and simple.
effram

join:2012-11-01
Orangeville, ON
This. How are they allowed to use the term "unlimited" when there is clearly a limit to which they are holding users to. Gotta love that shady "Acceptable Usage Policy" companies created to get around that.

depster

join:2001-06-07
united state

Clearwire AUP Even Contradictary

"...While the determination of what constitutes excessive use depends on the specific state of the network at any given time, excessive use is determined by resource consumption relative to that of a typical individual user of the Service and not by the use of any particular application.

Unlimited Use Plans. If you subscribe to a service plan that does not impose limits on the amount of data you may download or upload during a month (or other applicable service period), you should be aware that such “unlimited” plans are nevertheless subject to the provisions of this AUP. What this means is that all of the provisions described in this AUP, including those that describe how Clearwire may perform reasonable network management such as reducing the data rate of bandwidth intensive users during periods of congestion, will apply to your use of the Service. The term “unlimited” means that we will not place a limit on how much data you upload or download during a month or other particular period. However, the term “unlimited” does not mean that we will not take steps to reduce your data rate during periods of congestion or take other actions described in this AUP when your usage is negatively impacting the Internet experience of other subscribers to our Service."
»www.clear.com/legal/acceptable-use-policy

userofclear

@tresourcegroup.com

i have them..

I have them and they been good so far in two months on a no contract basis. I used 56GB last month and my net was ok. Lately in my second month the modem cuts out and the speed hit a bottle neck from time to time, but it might be might computer.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

Re: i have them..

I used them for over 4 months in Cleveland. Used well over 25 gigs in a week when not having cable before moving. Never said anything to me.

Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:2

Where exactly is the "Damage Control" they are engaging in?

I don't see any "Damage Control" here. More of a "screw you and your facts", and "we could care less what you think" type facebook post you would expect from a 14 year old ebay scammer.
--
Intel i7-2600k /ASRock P67 Extreme4 /4x 4Gb G.Skill /2x Intel 510 series 250Gb SSD /3x WD20EADS 2TB /2x PNY GTX 260 /Silverstone 850W /Custom water cooler /Antec Twelve-Hundred
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·MegaPath

Notices & Screen shots

Clear provides you with a usage meter on their website. Why don't these "users" submit screen shots of what their usage was and copies of these letters???? Images would be posted if it happened with other providers but why not with Clear? If someone is going to run a story, I would like to see proof. The local news paper would also show these images. Otherwise these "users" that are reporting this, could be blowing smoke for no reason or were canceled for not paying their bill. Which btw- Clear is VERY forgiving on customers that are late.

bobjohnson
Premium
join:2007-02-03
Orlando, FL
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·T-Mobile US

Re: Notices & Screen shots

Clear is a decent company and just like any other wireless company they are cutting off people using 100gigs+ on overloaded towers. The same as Sprint or anyone else would. If one person paying $45 a month is interfering with 10 customers paying the same each, I don't blame them.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·MegaPath

Re: Notices & Screen shots

I don't either. But has others have pointed out, nobody has had this happen to them or know of anyone. These "reports" show no proof to what was reported. Normally Karl would show proof by screen shots or something. But in this case he's taking these people's word for it without showing the rest of us proof. Especially when Clear shows their customers a usage meter that is up to date on a daily basis. So when he's out "reporting" he should be providing proof otherwise this story is a regular "blog" with no proof of anything. Just "we were informed". And being "informed" doesn't mean much of anything. I can be "informed" by the neighborhood crack dealer that the same happened to him but why go out and cause a company to start doing PR damage control and responding to such when no actual proof of these claims were even shown?

bobjohnson
Premium
join:2007-02-03
Orlando, FL
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·T-Mobile US

Re: Notices & Screen shots

Yeah, no one has any problem showing proof when they really got screwed over. I don't believe that has happened in this situation. Just someone spreading crap around the internet. Who'd have thought something like that would happen?
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·MegaPath

Re: Notices & Screen shots

A valid Clear customer that has this problem would have NO problem providing this proof. As I have stated, they have access to a valid and WORKING usage meter. If this really happened, these people should come forward and show the letter and usage screen shots from the Clear Portal. Otherwise this isn't news but someone thinking they can make headlines. For all one could assume this is an upset former employee. Also if this was about any other company screen shots would be included to show the disconnected notice and how much they used.

Otherwise- a moot topic and nothing to talk about since Clear states on record and in their AUP they don't disconnect but throttle.

bobjohnson
Premium
join:2007-02-03
Orlando, FL
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·T-Mobile US

Re: Notices & Screen shots

said by TBBroadband:

Otherwise- a moot topic and nothing to talk about since Clear states on record and in their AUP they don't disconnect but throttle.

Also note to all the prepaid, no contract advocates around here. They can do what they want.
theFarm

join:2012-09-16
Washington, DC
I second the call for some verifiable data. Clear's portal provides a ton of information about usage, tower location, and signal strength. For instance I live near an underutilized tower and work near a full capacity tower. I notice slower speeds near work at the expected heavy use times (lunch, 6pm Netflix binge, etc) I get as much as 10MB down/1 up at home. I've been a customer since August and have streamed as much as 200+MB/month.

This series on Clear is light on facts and heavy on accusations. I expect more from DSLreports. We consumers need accurate data and level headed criticism if we are to put any preassure on the Telecoms.

I'll be the first to argue your case if you can prove that Clear is terminating accounts using as few as 5GB/month

knighthawktf

@comcast.net

Re: Notices & Screen shots

" Clear's portal provides a ton of information about usage, tower location, and signal strength. For instance I live near an underutilized tower and work near a full capacity tower."
---
Where are you getting the tower utilization stats from, certainly not from their website

Toguro

join:2003-10-23
Chicago, IL
Clear has lied once when they wasted my time trying to convince me it was my connection when they were throttling every one in the area so proof or no proof, I will believe the customers.
ernliz

join:2001-11-25
Albemarle, NC

A few bad apples.....

Clearwire does a poor job in explaining/advertising their usage limitations (or no limitations). Nevertheless, the few dorks who stream and download huge amounts of data practically 24/7 hurt the rest of us and themselves for their pigsty mentality. They need a real life, or a real job.

cd2028

@sbcglobal.net

RE: ...

They sent first warnings out to all customers flagged for AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) violations on 11/05/2012 via Email (to their email address associated to their Clear account) and by VLAN - which is Clear's way of displaying important information to specific customers by redirecting their page request to a Clear page that clearly states "We have an important message for you. Please click continue." Once the user clicks continue, they are displayed with the warning pertaining to the AUP violation. There is no way around that page without clicking on continue then clicking on accept after seeing the warning page.

They even went so far as to give helpful hints and tips on what could be causing excessive bandwidth usage. Tips to scan computer for viruses in case of infection, secure wifi to avoid others using your connection, moderate streaming, etc. Every single person was given this information in two separate forms. So for them to claim that they never received any notification is a lie.

You guys continue to argue over the usage of the word unlimited. The Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy clearly explains that while there is no set limit on data per month, if you begin to negatively impact other paying customers on the network, then Clear reserves the right to either practice network management or terminate services.

It's common sense to see why such a policy is absolutely critical and necessary for a company such as Clear. Besides, take a moment and read the Terms of Service of any other Internet Service Provider. I bet you they all have an Acceptable Use Policy, or something similar, which more or less states the same thing. This isn't news.

As someone else said above: All of these users claiming that they only use 5GB a month and their services were terminated as a result of the second AUP violation, then please, post a screenshot of the usage meter which you can find by logging into your Clear account at clear.com/myaccount - your services are still active until 12/03/2012 (unless you have VOIP service), so you should be able to login into My Account with no issues.

I know for a fact that no one using that amount of data per month has received any notification regarding excessive bandwidth usage, or has had their services terminated as a result of such.
ncbill
Premium
join:2007-01-23
Winston Salem, NC
Reviews:
·AT&T Southeast

Re: RE: ...

I think something's gone haywire with their usage meter.

When this story first broke I checked my usage on their website - it had me clocked at nearly 20GB for this billing cycle (ends next week).

Now when I check it is has me at under 10GB, half of what it said I was using last week.

HotRodFoto
Premium
join:2003-04-19
Denver, CO

False advertising defined

Click for full size
Completely. It is time companies either knock this off or face reality in the courts. This is straight up lying to customers.
--
Capturing the images of Colorado
»jdebordphoto.com

Rejected One
I Suffer From Id10t Errors
Premium
join:2003-07-31
Wilmington, DE

I consider myself a moderate user

Click for full size
above is an image of my clear account page with data usage this is a normal for a month for me. i game online, download files from torrents legal, stream my radio station witch you can see on my tab, run my cell phone through my router, xbox online, xmraido and also watch netflix for hours a night. i honestly don't know what people are downloading that are getting them up that high unless its movies 24/7 or some huge files of other sorts.