Clearwire’s releasing a new 4G mobile broadband service that’s the first Pay-As-You-Go one in the U.S. It’s also aimed squarely at the moneyed-youth market. Or “tech-savvy Gen-Y customers,” as Clearwire puts it.
The range is branded “Rover,” not after your favorite dog but after the notion that the Internet now goes everywhere at broadband speeds–particularly if you’re someone of the youthful persuasion. As Clearwire notes it’s targeted at the “digitally addicted youth who refuse to settle for long-term contracts, overpriced internet service, or speeds slower than what they’ve become accustomed to at home.” It’s available in all 49 4G markets dotted across the U.S.
The Rover system is based on two key products: A $100 typical USB mobile broadband adaptor youthfully dubbed the Stick, and the $150 Puck. This latter is the more interesting device, acting similarly to a MiFi as a mobile Wi-fi hotspot that lets you hook up to eight devices to your Clearwire 4G service for combined speeds of 3 mbps to 6 mbps (with “bursts” of 10 mbps, “up to 4x faster than conventional 3G”).
Clearwire is trying their best to make the offer tempting: There’s a 14-day “no-hassle return policy” and you can even feed your account online. It’s priced at $5 per day, and there’re money-saving $20-week and $50-month options for unlimited downloads. That would seem to be well within the financial reach of Clearwire’s intended customer base–but maybe these “tech-savvy” folk would be put off by Clearwire’s advertising.
The Stick has the fabulous tagline, “Stick it in.” And the Puck gets the wondrous “Puck yeah.”
As if this in-your-face PR wasn’t enough, Rover also comes with a reward scheme because the brand “believes in loyalty.” So there’s a badging system–with badges like Trendsetter, recognizing “early adopters of Rover in each market” and “friends with benefits” badges for those who refer pals to the service. Clearwire hopes this scheme will “resonate with the youth consumer” who’s familiar with the notion from systems like Foursquare.
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