Clearwire Debuts Pay-As-You-Go Wireless Broadband Plan

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Clearwire, whose backers include Comcast and Time Warner Cable, rolled out a pay-as-you-go mobile broadband service called Rover that starts at $5 per day.

Clearwire's strategic investors include Sprint, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Intel, Google, and Bright House Networks.

The Rover brand and service are exclusively from Clearwire. However, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and other wholesale partners are "welcome to offer a pay-as-you-go model if so they choose," a Clearwire spokesman said.

The prepaid service is priced at $5 per day, $20 per week (seven consecutive days), or $50 per month (30 consecutive days) for unlimited 4G internet usage. Clearwire's postpaid Clear service is $30 per month for home users and $40 per month for mobile users.

Rover is available in all of Clearwire's 49 4G markets across the U.S., online at rover.com, at Clearwire's retail outlets, Best Buy stores and select independent wireless dealers in Houston and St. Louis.

The Rover service "is designed for digitally addicted youth who refuse to settle for long-term contracts, overpriced Internet service or speeds slower than what they've become accustomed to at home," Clearwire said in announcing the service Monday.

The flagship device for the service is the Rover Puck, priced at $150, a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that lets customers share broadband access with up to eight devices. The Rover Puck provides download speeds of 3-6 Megabits per second with bursts over 10 Mbps. The service also is available through the Rover Stick, a 4G USB modem that connects any notebook, laptop or desktop, priced at $100.

New users receive two free days of service and includes a 14-day "no-hassle return policy" for any device purchases made on rover.com or in Clearwire's stores.

Clearwire's 4G network currently is available in areas of the U.S. where approximately 56 million people live. The Kirkland, Wash.-based company had 1.7 million total subscribers as of June 30. Clearwire's current network is based on WiMax, but the company also plans to test Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, starting this fall in Phoenix.

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