WiMax operator Clearwire has announced Rover, a new pre-paid 4G mobile broadband service aimed at the the Generation Y crowd who have an aversion to two-year service agreements and being locked into hardware. Rover will offer access to Clearwire’s 4G broadband network for $5 a day, $20 per week, or $50 per month with no contracts or commitments. To get on board, users just need to buy a $99 Rover Stick—a USB modem for notebooks, netbooks, and the like—or the Rover Puck, a mobile 4G hotspot that can support up to eight Wi-Fi devices. Clearwire’s 4G WiMax service offers download speeds from 3 to 6 Mbps, and says bursts can reach 10 Mbps.
“Simple, commitment-free wireless services are wildly popular with the Gen Y crowd, and Rover provides them with the first pay-as-you-go unlimited mobile internet offering at 4G speeds,” said Clearwire chief commercial officer Mike Sievert, in a statement. “We’ve built Rover from the ground up with products, pricing and features designed specifically to serve a younger market who knows how you get connected is just as important as where.”
Clearwire’s Rover offering is built around two devices, dubbed the Puck and the Stick. The Rover Puck is a 4G hotspot that can support up to eight Wi-Fi devices at once, whether they be computers, phones, gaming systems, cameras, or other devices: once connected to the Puck via Wi-Fi, all devices can share the 4G connection. The Rover Stick is a USB modem that can be used with Windows- and Mac OS-based computers. The Puck carries a suggested retail price of $149.99, while the Stick has an MSRP of $99.99. Users receive two free days of service with purchase, and Clearwire is offering a 14-day no-hassle return plan.
Rover service is priced at $5 per day, $20 per week, or $50 per month, and customers will be able to purchase Re-Up PIN codes or cards in $20 and $50 amounts. The service has no bandwidth caps.
The downside of the Rover service might be for folks who rove outside Clearwire’s 4G network: unlike some other offerings from Clearwire, Rover does not drop down to Sprint’s 3G network when outside a WiMax service area, so folks who stray outside 4G coverage—or who don’t live in an area where WiMax service has lit up, which still includes many metropolitan markets—the Rover might be a tough sell.