Sprint, Clearwire Enter Arbitration for WiMAX Fees; Implications for the Infamous 4G Charge?


It’s been reported by FierceWireless that Sprint and Clearwire have entered arbitration regarding the amount of money Sprint has to pay Clearwire per month for each 4G user. Their concern is that they have 810,000 customers with 4G handsets in areas that have not yet been lit up with WiMAX 4G, yet Sprint still has to pay for those customers. ($4.46 per customer, apparently.)


We know what you – the consumers – want to know: “Wait, why are we paying $10 again?” Other costs could pad that “4G charge,” but Sprint’s calling for the dismissal from having to pay any charges for customers who don’t live in WiMAX-enabled areas. Clearwire says that if the arbitration process doesn’t go in their favor or a reasonable mutual resolution isn’t reached, they won’t be able to carry out plans they’ve previously drawn up, saying:

“If we are unable to reach a satisfactory resolution of these issues, we end up agreeing to an amount less than what we expected, or the arbitration process is not resolved in our favor, we could end up receiving substantially less in future wholesale revenues than we expect or for which we have planned,”

Clearwire says that while they do have a concrete agreement with Sprint, the two parties have interpreted it differently from each other. For 4G rollouts, this could mean that – should Sprint get the benefit of not having to pay up what Clearwire originally expected – WiMAX rollouts could be carried out much slower than they already are. And if that happens, the “$10 charge” fiasco will have to be revisited considering Sprint will eventually bring on more customers who are paying for “premium data” who probably won’t get a chance to use it before their next upgrade is due.


Then again, Sprint’s been adamant in expressing that the $10 charge isn’t to pay for 4G, but because people with phones that have the 4G radios in them are more likely to use more data regardless of network type. I still don’t understand that one myself, but sure. That means that even if Sprint is favored in this case, users could still see themselves paying the $10 charge whether Sprint has to pay Clearwire or not. Anywho, this’ll be an interesting one to watch, folks.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. I am officially sick of sprint. I pay 10$ for premium data, while in reality I pull 400kbps Downstream in Green Bay. I feel raped. It’s too bad I can’t even friggen bail out of the contract now. I had no idea how shitty the network apparently is around here.

  2. so sprint wants to charge everyone with a 4g phone the $10 extra data even if they don’t have data but won’t pay clearwire if they are not in a 4g area. clearwire can just use sprints logic they might go into a 4g area so they should still have to pay them

  3. I’m in Denver and have been told 4g will be here by October, then November, well its NOV and still no 4G. Bulshit. Had I known they were going to pussy foot around and delay I would have held onto my iPhone longer. Been paying 10 bucks extra for “premium data”, when I hardly use their 3g network, I use wifi wherever I am at. I could have waited and gotten a better phone months from now when they come out and 4g is actually in Denver.
    Sprint- hurry the phuc up and get 4g going in Denver or stop charging people premium data fees until 4g is here. Its bulshit that “these phones can download data faster and more than other phones that dont require premium data plans”. I could pick up an older android such as the hero and download just as much data on the 3g network as I can on my Epic on the 3g network, bulshit and im pissed I fell for this trick.

  4. Sprint 4G has a very long way to go.

    I think Sprint’s 4G add campane is bordeline false advertising, it simply does not work in many areas that sprint shows it will according to their 4g coverage map.

    I live in the UNC/Duke Triangle of NC (which is has abundant 4G coverage per the sprint 4G coverage map) and I have a samsung Epic 4G (Great phone!!!), only once have I been able to successfully connect to 4G. The 4G coverage simply is not there.

    That being said, 4G did work well in the Chicago Ohare airport, I downloaded movies from Samsung media hub and enjoyed them very much. But how many times will you be in Ohare??

    In general Sprint is very competitive with their rates, but I hate paying for service I dont get!!

  5. So, Clearwire and Sprint are in arbitration even though Sprint is the primary owner of Clearwire? Seems a bit shady to me.

  6. all the ppl with sprint 4g phones knew what they were getting themselves into when they got their shiny new evos and epics. so stop complaining about 4g rolling out slowly. everyone knows the 4g fee is for 4g. sprint should just come out and admit it instead of beating the bush.

  7. Whatta bunch of bologna on Sprints part! T-mobile is not even charging customers extra for their HSPA+ (4G). Plus if you have a phone that has HSPA without the “+” you automatically get boosted bandwidth for free anyways! My Cliq I bought a year ago is now getting between 3-5mbps on a constant basis compared to to just 900kbs-1.2 I was recieving awhile ago. I noticed the difference immediately about 3 months back living here in the Phoenix AZ area. T-mobile just recently barely announced 4G in my area about couple of weeks ago. No extra charges, upgraded speed on your CURRENT phone, faster phones w/HSPA+ i.e. G2,MyTouch 4G, & the same date rates apply. Can’t ask for anything better. Cmon Sprint! Stop pointing fingers and get with the program. Your phones are awesome but your service & extra rates for NOT even having delivering 4G on a “4G phone” is pathetic.

  8. I was about to jump the tmo ship for an evo when they first came out. But I refused to pay the extra $10, especially for something I dont get. Sprint is lame.

  9. Sprint sucks and doesn’t have 4G

  10. Been paying the extra 10 dollars since summer. No 4g here in Miami! Want my money back!


  11. I’ve already decided that if by the first of the year there’s NO 4G here in Wichita, KS I’m going to T-Mobile. I was at a T-Mobile store yesterday and one of the sales people had a MT4G of his own and he showed me his SpeedTest results. He was getting almost constant 8 Mbps on his MT4G (and I was getting 1.6 Mbps on my EVO while there talking to him). Wichita is one of T-Mobiles upgraded HSPA+ cities. I do love my EVO and do get a great signal with Sprint here but I got the phone for 4G and there is none here.

  12. why should i pay that 10 bucks if i don’t live in a 4g area? i think that’s an issue that should be addressed cause it’s bullshit.

  13. @nvbozo

    Yes, we all knew what we were getting into.. we were TOLD specifically that 4G was coming soon. In many cases exact dates were given and not yet been met. These dates were given by the sales people at the stores and online.

    I personally was told by 3 different sprint officials (2 at the sprint store near me, and 1 by a rep on the phone BEFORE I purchased), that 4G was coming to Fort Lauderdale/Miami soon after the Evo was released. The person on the phone said before 4th Quarter, the person in the store said as early as End of July, but perhaps August was more realistic.

    I’m still waiting…

    So yea.. I knew what i was getting into… sadly what I knew to be true was a lie given to me by sprint.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite happy with my EVO, but like everyone else, I’m just upset that I went off a normal Unlimited data plan, to this ‘premium’ unlimited and have to pay $10 more per month even though both phones were smartphones with similar features sets. Had I 4G service, I could dismiss the 10 bucks.. without it, I consider it extortion and misleading pricing policies.

  14. Guys,
    All carriers have their problems period! I am saving over $40 a month on Sprint and that includes paying an extra $20 per month for two EVO’s.

  15. ive never seen a bunch a whiners. The $10 is not for 4G..dont know how many times people just skip over that part of sprints release. Its for anyone with a 4G phone because the increase in data use on BOTH 3G and 4G. So those complaining about not being in a 4G area, I would really STFU unless all you get is 1X otherwise you are getting what you paid for.

    Im paying less now than I did prior to getting an EVO, and im in the mecca of sprints 4G network, yet im running cyanogenmod 6.1 with NO 4G and WGAS. My 3G is just as fast as anyones and I have no network issues at all.

  16. I have the Evo and currently reside in West Palm Beach Florida where theres no 4G at all yet for some reason I can turn on my 4G and connect with a some what fair connection…10 bucks isnt a big deal and if its that bad for you all just root your phone and join MetroPCS so you dont have to complain about an extra 10 bucks and you can still keep your Evo…no 4G though but your bill is only $40 bucks. MAN UP!

  17. T-Mobile isn’t charging extra for HSPA+ any more than AT&T is… one big reason this isn’t a 4G technology. It is very soundly the last generation 3G. T-Mobile does have higher speed caps than AT&T.. they limit HSPA+ connections to 21Mb/s down, while AT&T limits them to 7.2Mb/s. While neither company has 3G on all of their cells, AT&T has far more HSPA+ coverage than T-Mobile, and they’re not just not charging extra for it, they’re not lying and calling it 4G.

    On the other hand, AT&T won’t have comparable speeds even technically available (its questionable how many HSPA+ devices… and most recent 3G phones support it… actually handle higher speeds, anyway) until they roll out their “4G” LTE network, maybe next summer. And, like Verizon’s LTE network, neither of these will actually run at 4G speeds either. Nor does WiMax.

    But LTE will offer some real advantages. HSPA+ clients use more power than HSPA mode, WiMax is even worse. The client end (what’s in the cellphone) of LTE is using a new modulation scheme that eliminates the high crest factors of these other devices, allowing the same connections with lower power amplifiers. They’re also on 700MHz, rather than 1700/2100MHz for T-Mobile or 2500MHz for Sprint, so the signals travel better, particularly through foliage and buildings.

    So, while everyone’s lying about 4G, LTE is certainly worth waiting for. Of course, if you’re a 3G customer on T-Mobile, you might have magically become a 4G customer overnight…

  18. @swazedahustla

    Mind telling me how a 4G phone uses more data than a 3G phone even without 3G?

  19. *ahem* meant 4G that last time.

  20. i pay premium data, sure, but compared from my old phone i went from about 1gigs of data per month to about 3-4 with my EVO, so….. yeah im waiting for some 4G WIN but until then im trying to make sure i keep it upto and beyond the 5gb limit that i would have had if i didnt pay for “premium” data

  21. Hazydave, awesome breakdown, thanks! But I’m sure some people still won’t get it.

    Post #1 and others who complain about the $10… ok, well go to Verizon then and don’t forget to write back on how things are over there, don’t forget to include those monthly charge breakdown’s! lol… Those mysterious charges that appear!

    All in all, Sprint may not have the BEST coverage, but they certainly do have the best contracts. You know exactly what you are getting once you sign up for a year, two years, or whatever! if you want to really complain, purchase your handsets outright and stay out of contract, this way you could never complain about not being able to leave/held captive by ETF’s.

    Sprint will do what’s necessary to retain accounts and draw in new ones, you can be sure they will all settle down nicely and things will be barely a murmur in the background. So relax!

  22. I’m starting to wonder when a class action suit against Sprint will start up over this $10 fee charged to users who don’t even get to use 4G… I’ll sign up for certain. Was told upon buying my two EVOs that the charge was premium data because they were 4G phones, and that we’d have 4G before Christmas… If Sprint wants to be competitive they’ll have to do better than this…

  23. Guys, I’ve had enough of Sprint and their bullshit. I’m in Miami and still we have nothing here yet am paying for the privilege of owning a premium 4G phone, which is bullshit. It’s time for a class action lawsuit, in my opinion, against Sprint for fraud, especially in the areas where 4G is still NOT available after many, many months of hype and marketing. We want out $10 back until such time as 4G is up and running in our areas. How long are we going to let these corporate criminals shaft us and fleece us of our hard earned money!!

  24. i hope sprint gets sued for making us pay for something we can’t use. that’ll set them back even more for trying to be greedy

  25. Let’s see I’ve had Sprint for 8 years and they have tried to scrape a few extra dollars out of my pocket here and there over that course of time. Personally I have to say I’ve seen there customer service continually get better as well as the services’s and products they offer. That being said if u bought a 4g phone because the sales man reassured u 4g was gonna be there in a month your an idiot typical consumer that big company’s love. I own an Evo 4g and I have no 4g I bought the phone because its sweet as hell yeah I’m sure 4g will be great but if all your worried about is 4g then u let the sales man babble u with his bull shit. I wanted the phone enough to pay an extra 10 and not give a shit about 4g.

  26. To all those complaining about the extra $10 charge you are getting. How much would a similar plan cost on competing carriers in your area?
    For thosr complaining that you are not getting 4G, guess what, no one is, since ITU hasn’t defined it. So, stop taking wht marketers tell you as gospel. When you hear someone in mafketting speak, keep this in your mind “why is this person lying to me?”

  27. Actually Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

    They haven’t announced it here in Miami, but I get 4G in pines, downtown miami, weston and some other locations. It is not fully rolled out yet, but it’s coming.

  28. @lost

    Quote:So, stop taking wht marketers tell you as gospel. When you hear someone in marketing speak, keep this in your mind “why is this person lying to me?”

    So are you in agreement with everyone else that We were misled by Sprint. Sorry the term “Marketing” is not synonymous with lying, nor does it give an entity the right to do so.

    Lying is false advertising. False advertising has a pretty well established precedent for being illegal. Sprint canceling the roll out after advertised in some cities, incomplete roll out in others, along with pushing back by a month the roll out in other cities four months in a row seems at least borderline.

    Sorry your rate to rate comparison is BS. The 10 dollars was for 4g, then it was for premium cap less unlimited data until 4g was up. I didn’t sign up and pay a 10 dollar a month “we are still cheaper than the other carriers” fee.

    At this point I would rather pay more for Verizon and know I’m getting screwed honestly and on my own terms than getting slapped by the old “Bait and Switch”

  29. @Wwilliam: so, you believe marketers? If so, then I have a bridge I want to sell you.

  30. I live 1000 ft. from a 4G tower. I have from 1-3 bars inside my house. I have 2-3 MB download speed. That’s all. Sprint tells me it’s because I live in between the radiation pattern of 2 antennas. Bottom line, good thing I have Broadband WiFi in my house because the 4G really does not do what it’s supposed to. They need to make major imporvements. I have been on the phone with Tech support. Sprint really tried, but I finally gave up.

  31. Could anyone tell me if they are getting 4G intermediately (coming and going) in Miami. I have been a Sprint customer for about 3 weeks. I have 4G turned on my HTC EVO and set to notify me when 4G network is available. What in God name are they doing over there.

  32. The sites are up in north east Broward county. I95 and cypress creek rd. (my exit) it’s up. They have been turning up about 5 sites a day as I’ve seen it built on a tower I work on.
    The went from north to south. It was on in delray back in July/august now it’s on in north Broward and other select areas.

    Just FYI

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