you new to mobile broadband and thinking about using 4G WiMAX service
from Sprint, CLEAR, Time Warner, Comcast, Virgin Mobile, or NetZero? If
you answered ‘Yes’ then this article is for you!
and CLEAR operate a 4G network using WiMAX technology, and recently
Virgin Mobile and NetZero have begun reselling the service, too. If you
watch commercials, you’ve probably also seen Verizon and AT&T
running ads for 4G LTE service. It is important to understand the
difference between WiMAX and LTE. Both are 4G technologies, but they are
NOT equal! LTE is much, much faster than WiMAX (3-4x faster), and, more
importantly, WiMAX is on its way out.
Sprint and CLEAR are currently the only U.S. providers that use WiMAX
(they use the same network; Sprint owns 50% of CLEAR), and they only
have service in 60 cities - and they will NOT be expanding coverage any
further. In fact, Sprint is abandoning WiMAX completely and working on
deploying an LTE network in the near future!
resellers like Virgin Mobile and NetZero are now offering prepaid 4G on
Sprint's WiMAX network. This is a BAD IDEA for customers. Virgin Mobile
and NetZero are taking advantage of customers who are eager for 4G
service but don’t understand the difference between WiMAX and LTE. Since
WiMAX is barely available anywhere, isn't nearly as fast as LTE, and
coverage will never be expanding, it is pointless to spend money on such service!
Instead of wasting money on WiMAX devices and service, we strongly recommend going with 4G LTE service, like Verizon
offers. There isn’t an LTE option available on a pre-paid basis right
now (like what NetZero is offering for pre-paid WiMAX), but there is a
reliable pre-paid 3G option from Datajack available (while it’s not 4G, at least you’ll have nationwide coverage, unlike NetZero/Virgin’s WiMAX option).
The bottom line is to BE AWARE of what you’re buying: not all 4G is equal!