Clearwire, the world’s largest WiMAX operator that’s already announced that they’re trying out LTE technology because they most likely regret backing a technology the mobile industry doesn’t care about, is set to unveil new pricing plans during a webcast scheduled to take place on Monday, August 30th. The analysts over at Light Reading think that the operator is going to announce a new portable WiFi router that will be sold to the prepaid market, citing a trademark for “Rover Puck” that was filed for in March of this year. The press release, which is the shortest one I’ve ever seen in my 3 years of blogging, simply says that the company is going to “unveil its plans to serve a new customer segment”.
Yesterday Verizon announced their prepaid mobile broadband data plan, and it’s insanely expensive. For $80 you get a 5 GB chunk of data that you have to use within 1 month. Whether or not that price will be the same for their soon to launch LTE network is yet to be seen, but Clearwire doesn’t have to work hard to compete with that price point, then again they also don’t have the coverage that Verizon does, so … the old adage that you get what you pay for is proving itself once again.
Just to rub it in, here in Finland I get unlimited data for 20 EUR a month and it’s capped at 1 megabit per second. If I wanted to get unlimited data with no speed caps, it would cost me 30 EUR a month, but I’m fine with my “slow” sole megabit. Those prices are roughly the same around Western Europe as well. Building a network to serve a population of 5 million, as is the case in Finland, or 82 million, like in Germany, is a hell of a lot easier than making sure all of America’s 330 million people can text in their American Idol vote, but still … $80 (65 EUR) for 5 GB is bonkers.