New wireless store to open near campus

· March 3, 2010, 6:26 am   ·  Updated March 3, 2010, 12:00 am

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Soon, students living off campus will have no excuse for tapping into their neighbors’ wireless internet.

A new CLEAR 4G WiMAX store, which offers 4G wireless internet service, will open in mid-March at 140 S. 34th St., between Walnut and Sansom streets.

Although the service is already available in Philadelphia, the store will provide a convenient location for Penn students to purchase it.

4G wireless internet service is a type of “super fast mobile internet that gets you online across entire cities,” according to a CLEAR press release.

“4G is very fast. You don’t understand this until you actually see it,” said Diane Clements, vice president of Wireless Warehouse, Inc., which runs CLEAR.

Clements added that the service provides connectivity nearly anywhere. She pointed to parks and cars as examples of places where high-speed internet wouldn’t normally be available, but will be using CLEAR’s 4G network.

The store will replace Roses Florist, which closed in May, according to Michael Toroghi, Penn alumnus and owner of Roses Florist.

After the florist’s lease ended, a new lease was negotiated. Toroghi said his business could not afford the new lease, so he decided to combine both of his store locations into one, located at 3551 Chestnut St.

Though the CLEAR store will hold a grand opening celebration on March 15, it will be open several days prior, according to Clements.

Customers can buy CLEAR modems at the store and install them at home themselves.

“It’s like a modem that Comcast would set up for your DSL,” Clements said.

The modem for laptops, called a mobile modem, is a USB air-card, slightly larger than a flash drive. The modem for desktop computers, called a stationary modem or RSU, is a tall piece of equipment that plugs into the computer.

There are also services for a laptop with 4G Voice-Over IP (VOIP), which is an internet telephone service usable in all of the 4G coverage area. All of these services are available within CLEAR coverage regions across the country.

Major cities covered by CLEAR include Philadelphia, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Portland, Ore., among others. In addition, Clements said, CLEAR is planning to expand its service to Baltimore.

Clements explained that clerks at CLEAR stores help customers determine whether or not they are covered by CLEAR’s 4G service.

Payment options include a two-year contract in which customers choose to lease or buy the modem, as well as monthly payments in which customers must buy the modem up front.

According to Clements, prices can range from as little as $15 per month to as much as $75 per month, based on the service.

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