Sunday at at the Christkindal market in Lincoln Square, Clear.com had a vendor booth. Pedro and I went to get pricing, and I ended up signing up for the service, mostly since I could just pick up the equipment right then and there. I’ve never done something like that before, and I won’t do this again. The contract is sent to your email, so you don’t see it or the charges until you get home and can open up your email. It was then that the $50 contract and the other contract for my mobile devices showed all the errors. The $50 contract was over $60 a month and it turned out that I only needed one mobile device. In a quieter setting, it would have been easier for the salesman to set up the contract and check it over, but the booth was busy and with live music and the hustle and bustle of a market, it was not the greatest for concentration. The next day, I called Clear twice. The first time the account service person said he made a variety of corrections, but apparently none of it, including his request for a label so I could return the second mobile device, went through.
I spent a very long time on the second phone call on the same day for the same problem. My account service person this time was excellent and followed through on everything. In fact, he also rebundled the three services I had so I would get a much better price than the one that was advertised in Chicago. I didn’t want any lease fees, something that somehow got missed where the modem was concerned, so I purchased that and he credited the fee off of my bill. You can buy the modem for far less than if you leased it for the 2 year contract term. The second account services person said he’d put in a request that their system automatically bundle services for the lowest cost, which would be a great help for any more fest and fare signups.
I’ve called their billing department, tech support, and phone support departments and have had fairly good service, although at times (I’ve called so many times that I feel that I am in a position to say this), the help hasn’t always been consistently excellent. At the low end, it’s been “okay,” which compared to many telecom companies is standard or even “high” but this is a new company in a new market with a new product, and as such, customers should expect high standards. At the high end, when you get good customer service from Clear, it’s VERY good.
As far as phone rates go, Clear gives you unlimited local and long distance calling, and free calls to Canada, so cost wise this is solid competition for other carriers. Because you buy a device that enables phone service that is connected to your phone, you can use any cordless phone and have mobility without the cost. I know one can do this with Skype, but lugging my laptop around in order to do this is far less appealing than using my cordless phone. I was told that the default is that your phone number is unlisted, which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. I’m already paying for an unlisted number with AT&T. The Clear phone service includes Caller ID and voice mail for a very attractive price.
The downside of going with their phone service is that you need to buy their Clear Voice Adapter, which will require you to have their Clear Modem instead of the USB Modem. Due to this, the corner of my desk looks like a mass of Ethernet cables and telephone cables, ugh. I just ordered a 3′ Ethernet to cut down on the spaghetti look.
Clear is a 4G network, and is supposed to be much faster than our standard Wifi networks which are 3G. The upside of what they have to offer is that for $75 I have unlimited high speed Internet, unlimited local and long distance (US) phone calls and calls to Canada, and unlimited mobile computing via their USB modem. I tested all but the voice aspect, which I could not until today.
My original post was this:
You can have upwards of 5 lights on your Clear modem. I was consistently told that you need 2 to have a good connection. I am right between two towers, neither of them overlaps the other so I needed to aim my modem further west. When I have 3 lights on, the speed is very fast so I can’t imagine how zippy it would be if it was at 4 or 5 lights.
I have 7 days for my trial period. Monday and Tuesday seemed okay, although I could not get more than 2 lights on until I put the modem on the floor, which is not a permanent solution. Wednesday evening I had no connection whatsoever. Finally, at 6:00 PM I can get a signal on my Clear modem but it’s only one light and I know it won’t be a worth logging on with Clear based on past “one light” experience. I was assured that service would be back up by 2 PM today. I was told that the Chicago area is down because they are installing more towers. By 6:30 I’m back to no signal.
This brings home the fact that I could have been with out phone service. Fortunately I didn’t bag my AT&T land line and I also have a mobile phone, but I would not have been very happy if I only had the Clear voice service and this had happened. So for now, I’m back to using my AT&T DSL service. Now I’m grateful for a 7 day trial period, since at the moment, things aren’t looking so good for Clear and me.
Today my service is back, and I’m at 4 lights out of 5. The speed is very zippy. Accessing some modules that were previously painfully slow even with DSL seem fast and responsive now. The phone service seems good, although I won’t be assess everything until AT&T disconnects the second line, since there is a unique issue with the current one. So right now, I’m liking Clear.