Clearwire Throttling and Bad Customer Service Ruins Experience

A Clearwire customer service representative told me last night that my bandwidth was being throttled due to excessive congestion and that it should only last 15 minutes. Unfortunately, this throttling has been taking place for a week, more often than not. During the conversation, she informed me that every customer in my area was being treated the same way. What she didn’t know was that my home has two of their 4G modems, and one of them was operating at 10 Mbps while the other was cruising at around dial-up speeds. If all customers using the tower located a block from my location are being throttled, there’s no reason why my two modems should have such a widely diverse connection speed. In fact, my portable 4G hotspot has bailed me out during the seemingly endless slowdowns affecting my home modem on a regular basis.

The bandwidth throttling is so bad that I’m often unable to use audio Skype, which makes my primary mode of communication useless. The representative I spoke with on the phone gave no indication that Clearwire had any tickets in, or plan in place to fix the ongoing problem. When a service area is being throttled more often than not, that is a “clear” indication that something is wrong and needs to be fixed.

After speaking to the representative about the basic issue and when it is expected to be fixed, I asked for a manager. In part, I wanted to speak to one in order to express my satisfaction with the representative in terms of her calm and coolness in the face of what she must have to deal with all day long. After having spent 10 years in customer service myself, I admire anyone that has to field calls for what amounts to a very misleading service. After a five minute hold, she returned to the line and informed me that not only was a manager not available, but I wouldn’t be receiving any calls back due to a high call volume.

At the end of the call to, I asked the representative for the number to their public relations office in order to get some form of official statement from them regarding the throttling. Until that point, I hadn’t indicated any intention of moving this matter to the public court. The representative put me on hold for a brief moment before responding, “We don’t have a number for them.”

I asked her to clarify, as it is uncommon for a modern company to have no internal directory of numbers for their call center representatives. She confirmed again that there isn’t a number for their public relations office available. Thankfully, I was able to get someone in a public relations capacity to respond when I made mention of the situation in Twitter. Unfortunately, the caring stopped at the initial reaction.

That’s when I took a look at their full Twitter feed. It appears Clear is doing more to deal with unsatisfied customers than they are spreading the word about the happy ones. I’m guessing they don’t see much positive feedback.

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Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.