The device, announced today by Clearwire, is a push by the company to introduce 4G connectivity to a younger generation - those whose lives have always been Internet-connected - and offer it to them on terms that meets their needs.
For them, that includes a pay-as-you-go, no-commitment offering. In a statement, Mike Sievert, chief commercial officer for Clearwire, said:
Simple, commitment-free wireless services are wildly popular with the Gen Y crowd, and Rover provides them with the first pay-as-you-go unlimited mobile Internet offering at 4G speeds. We've built Rover from the ground up with products, pricing and features designed specifically to serve a younger market who knows how you get connected is just as important as where. Expanding our offers to meet this underserved segment is an important new business opportunity for Clearwire as we continue to extend our leadership in mobile broadband.
The company said that new users will receive two free days of service - a test period to make sure that Rover fits their needs. Service is priced at $5 a day, $20 a week or $50 a month for unlimited 4G Internet usage. There will also be "re-up" cards in $20 or $50 denominations.
It's a pretty smart move by Clearwire to give the kids what they want: the ability to share their connection with friends, no real-commitment and, of course, gift cards to re-up their service. In addition, it doesn't require a credit card.
The company is also offering a Rover Stick, a USB device that does the same thing but works on a single computer instead of transmitting the connection over WiFi. The Rover Puck is priced at $150; the Stick priced at $100.
The devices are available in the 49 markets where Clearwire has already rolled out 4G services.