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Triad Region: Time Warner Cable Introduces Road Runner Mobile WiMax on December 1st

Phillip Dampier October 14, 2009 TWC (see Charter), Wireless Broadband 8 Comments

Carol Hevey, executive vice president of operations for TWC’s Carolinas region.

Carol Hevey, executive vice president of operations for TWC’s Carolinas region.

Stop the Cap!‘s strong readership in the Triad region of North Carolina comes from their experience with Time Warner Cable’s Internet Overcharging experiment this past April.  For residents in greater Greensboro and surrounding communities, now you get a chance to be pioneers of a different sort.

Time Warner Cable today announced Greensboro, Raleigh, and Charlotte, all in North Carolina, among the first in the nation able to purchase Road Runner Mobile, a new 4G wireless mobile broadband service designed to accompany your existing Road Runner subscription.

On December 1st, Time Warner Cable customers can sign up for the service, providing speeds up to 6Mbps, starting at $34.95 per month, if you are on a Price Lock Guarantee (a service commitment requiring you to remain with Time Warner Cable in return for service discounts) and subscribe to a bundle of services.  That low priced option has a usage allowance of 2 gigabytes per month.

Time Warner Cable's Carolinas region service area

Time Warner Cable's Carolinas region service area

“With Time Warner Cable’s 4G Mobile Network, we now offer the fastest mobile service available and extend our reach outside the home.” said Carol Hevey, Executive Vice President of the Carolina Region for Time Warner Cable.  “Giving our customers the convenience of mobility and the speed of 4G, Road Runner Mobile lets customers take their favorite Internet service wherever they go.  This is an important part of our strategy to give our customers any content, on any device, anytime, anywhere.”

Time Warner Cable is using the Clearwire WiMax network to provide the service, a benefit it gained along with Comcast when they became part-owners of the Sprint-Clearwire venture.

Pricing will vary depending on the level of service customers need:

  • Road Runner Mobile 4G National Elite gives unlimited access to both Time Warner Cable’s 4G Mobile Network and a national 3G network (Sprint, presumably), for use when traveling.
    o $79.95 per month for Road Runner Standard or Turbo customers.
    o Further discounts for Double and Triple play customers and those on a Price Lock Guarantee.
  • Road Runner Mobile 4G Elite gives customers unlimited access to the Time Warner Cable 4G Mobile Network.
    o $49.95 per month for Road Runner Standard or Turbo customers.
    o Further discounts for Double and Triple play customers and those on a Price Lock Guarantee.
  • Road Runner Mobile 4G Choice gives light users 2GB of service on the Time Warner Cable 4G network each month.
    o Available for $39.95 per month to customers of at least one other Time Warner Cable service.  Additional $5 off if you have a Price Lock Guarantee and bundled service package.

Time Warner Cable plans to launch additional mobile services to customers in the future such as the ability to program a DVR from a mobile device and the ability to take their video content with them on the go.  Time Warner Cable will be expanding its 4G Mobile network to additional service areas over the next few months including Dallas, TX and Honolulu and Maui, HI.

Customer experiences with the Clearwire network have been decidedly mixed.  In Portland, uneven signal coverage has plagued service and fueled customer returns.  In Greensboro, some who have tested the Clearwire-branded version of the service report earlier speeds close to 5Mbps that have since slowed to below 2Mbps.

As with any wireless mobile service, inquire about trial options and cancellation policies before signing any contract.  Consumers should always verify service is available to them at tolerable speeds before committing to any contract.

Currently there are 8 comments on this Article:

  1. Jeff says:

    Doesn’t seem like a good deal, we’ll likely stickto Clearwire at work I think.

  2. BrionS says:

    Wow, 2GB! They really splurged on that one by doubling what anyone would ever want to use.

    Oh, and 640Kb is more than enough RAM for anyone. Plus, no one will ever want a computer in their home because they’re as big as a washer now and will only double in size as time goes on.

    …perhaps you can see where I’m going with this…

  3. Ron Dafoe says:

    As long as they offer an unlimited plan with no hidden monthly usage allowances, I am all for it. That way the light usage people can “save money” with the $40 plan and the heavy usage people can get what they want as well.

    • Of course, I’ll bet “unlimited” turns out to be 5GB. 🙂 It’s amazing how universal “unlimited” is in wireless broadband.

      I was contemplating giving Cricket a shot for some occasional on-the-go broadband, because it’s more affordable than this. Almost pulled the trigger until the USB modem I noted wasn’t “free after rebate” any longer (the bulkier one still is). I’ll wait awhile and see how things develop. Since they throw in the first month for free, it’s not a high dollar risk to give it a shot.

      I had the unlimited (truly) MediaNet from AT&T back when they had the $19.99 a month plan on the GoPhone with a loophole for dongle users. It worked reasonably well, but had to pay for my own USB modem (a Sierra USBConnect 881) which was unlocked and ready to go (just slip the authorization card from the phone into the modem) thanks to eBay. Then AT&T dumped it and stuck prepaid users with an outrageous stingy plan, and now the 881 is in the drawer.

      I don’t need enough wireless broadband to pay $50 a month and I refuse to be gouged with those lower priced options with paltry allowances.

      The TWC plan sounded mildly interesting, until Jay mentioned the $35 activation fee and $99-199 equipment fee, unless you opted for a 2 yr contract… no thanks. If service sucked or deteriorated later, you’d be on the hook or pay a $175 early termination fee.

  4. Jay Ovittore says:

    From Time Warner Carolina’s website http://www.timewarnercable.com/carolinas/learn/mobile/guide.html

    Pick a Mobile Card

    You can choose from a variety of Road Runner Mobile Cards to fit your 4G or 4G national plan. See below to for a list of cards.

    For Local and National Use:

    Franklin CMU-300

    * 4G Mobile and 3G National access
    * $199 or $99 with 2-year contract
    * Connection Type: USB

    For Local Use:

    Motorola USBw100

    * 4G Mobile access
    * $99 or free with 2-year contract
    * Connection Type: USB

    Also in the fine print we find out about at $35 activation fee.

    The full fine print:

    Some restrictions and a $35 dollar activation fee will apply. Subject to credit approval. Road Runner Mobile service is not available in all areas. Coverage not available in all areas. 4G service only available in certain metro areas; 3G service is required for coverage outside of 4G metro areas. Offer available to residential customers only. Subscription to at least one other Time Warner Cable service is required. Road Runner Mobile service not compatible with Macintosh computers. Prices are subject to change and exclude applicable taxes and fees. Service requires the use of a compatible wireless device. If you elect to purchase the device from TWC at a discounted price, you must enter into a 2-year contract and agree to an early termination fee of up to $175, which will be prorated upon termination based on length of service. Additional per-MB domestic roaming charges will apply for service outside of the 4G and 3G coverage areas. 4G network speeds are up to 6 Mbps for downloads, and up to 1 Mbps for uploads. 3G network speeds are up to 1400 Kbps for downloads, and up to 500 Kbps for uploads. Actual throughput speeds may vary based upon individual circumstances or conditions.

    The press release is found here: http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20091014005816&newsLang=en

  5. waiting and watching says:

    Clearwire system can NOT provide those speeds in the Greensboro area. The system could not handle it, not to mention all the function disable through port blocking on the Clearwire networks. Bad enough so many people get into accidents while texting and driving as it is, they want to make it faster to get responses around here so people look at mobile computers more often than on the road? This will do nothing, and only in the exact areas might provide some service, but the satelite being the only competition for TWC for many things, and the large numbers of cell phones any kind of wi-fi or similar for areas outside of exactly in Greensboro, will still get little to no signal just like with anything else that isn’t a land line connection. Is TWC going to have NC clean up its RF, or just spout lies about speeds from a system that never got more than 1gig bandwidth IF it would connect and not time-out when trying to do anything? I put this into the horse pucky category form TWC. They should be strengthening the copper wire internet they have and get all the nodes working, as well try getting their TV services fixed, and telephone services fixed on those line, before going into something new that they will also fail to maintain and repair properly for something that already has degraded service.

    I would suggest anyone with the option to try it, to AVOID it. One thing you will not be able to do will be have open port 80 calls, which means you wouldn’t be able to run a home website from any Clearwire service because port 80 incoming is blocked on it. Now I know who she is, I got some thing to discus with this Carol Hevey about existing problems with her North and South Carolina region that have been needing address for over 5 years, before she heads into trying this new thing and further ignores fixing the older problems.

    • Ron Dafoe says:

      Well, I can’t blame them. That is not what the network was designed for. All wireless internet access companies have designed their networks for roaming web access at this point. Running servers on a wireless network is just not there, and really, I would never even think about a solution such as that while there are wired alternatives.

      Signal may be an issue, but as long as standard things like web browsing, e-mail, small video (think youtube) work when there is a signal, then there really is not much to complain about exept the technology.

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