Beware Of Contracts

If there is one thing that turns me off of a service it is being cornered into a contract just to use it. This means cell phone companies among other technology providers. Recently, a number of you have asked me to speak about your experiences with a company called Clearwire. And while I have not had any personal experience with it, what kept me from choosing it as a backup ISP for myself personally was the fact that I would have to sign up for a contract regardless of quality of service.

Because this kind of wireless Internet technology can fail, thus leaving you without working Internet, asking users to sign into contracts just seems flawed to me. Then I did some more digging. After a big of Googling, it turns out that our very own Chris Pirillo has had some poor experiences with the company as well.

More digging turned up that its contracts are just the tip of a very ugly iceberg. Remember when users back in the ’90s had problems canceling their AOL accounts? Well there have been reports of some users allegedly having similar experiences with Clearwire in this regard as well. Even worse, it seems that people have been complaining that even after disconnecting, they were still being charged! Others, still, have been issuing complaints about a possible bait and switch.

Now it has long since been my experience that not everything you read on the ‘Net is true. This being said, with this many complaints, it seems to me that if nothing else, Clearwire has a massive PR problem on its hands and from what I am seeing, not dealing with it very effectively. The company is still using promotional pricing along with those contracts of one to two years. Considering the odds are fair that there must be some satisfied Clearwire users out there, I am interested in hearing from those folks. After all, surely there must be two sides to this story?


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  1. Don’t touch Clearwire.

    They were started up by some billionaire, McCaw, who sold a company and had more money than sense.

    They came here a few years back and they were going to be the cats whiskers. I left a big monolith ISP to subscribe to them. They were an abject failure.

    For instance, practically every Saturday at lunch time, the speed wet down to zero. I joked that some guy switched the power off when he left for the week-end. Later, I began to think that maybe I was right.

    They still have their silly radio ads running here, but I have never met anybody else who signed up.

    I have copies of the correspondence and screengrabs, if anybody is interested.