Unboxing the Clear iSpot 4G

Dave Zatz —  August 5, 2010

Shark Week Clear Week continues… the 4G WiMax service provider got an early start yesterday by announcing their new Apple-centric mobile hotspot, which was followed later in the day with reports of solid subscriber growth and LTE trials. The iSpot’s low monthly fee ($25) combined with access restrictions tempted me to make a purchase — and the fine folks at Clear delivered my new gadget posthaste.

As you can see from the pics, the elongated puck is attractive in a shiny white minimalist way and relatively small, covering about the same surface area as my iPhone 3GS. With zero configuration, I was able to immediately connect my iPhone to the iSpot over WiFi, using the default SSID and WPA encryption key, and start pulling webpages down over the ethereal 4G network – despite marginal WiMax coverage at my home location. (Don’t worry, I’ll hit some speed tests while on the road at a later date.)

As far as device restrictions go and based on conversations with Clear’s press rep, it appears they enforce their ‘mobile Apple device only’ policy via MAC address. Which is presumably a relatively trivial barrier. Of course, using the iSpot in ways it was not intended could be a violation of your terms of service, and I offer this info merely as a technical backgrounder. Having said that, I’ll conduct some testing in the next day or so and provide a definitive answer.

Click to enlarge:

12 responses to Unboxing the Clear iSpot 4G

  1. That was fast! You should have started your post with “FIRST”. ;-)

    Curious how they are using MAC? Does apple have a known MAC range for all their devices? Seems this could be an issue as Apple releases new products.

  2. Yeah, I assume there must be a range of iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch MACs that Clear has identified. Unfortunately, my lunch break ended before I could get any testing in. Maybe tonight…

  3. Yes, all vendors have assigned MAC ranges from the IEEE registrar. Cloning a MAC address is really easy.

  4. Right, but Apple must have divvied up their broader range(s) into specific sub ranges for the three specific devices of multiple generations that Clear has blessed. If time permits, I’ll try to verify tonight using my iPhone MAC on a laptop. Also, I need to get into the iSpot web UI and take a look around. So many gadgets, so little time. :)

  5. With you and Dwight (HouChron’s tech guy) talking about this, I decided to jump in. It’s a $30 device and $25 no-contract plan (unlike other Spots which are 2-year contracts), so why not? :)

    Pretty sure MAC-restrictions can be overcome unless Clearwire lays down the law.

  6. Yep, my guess is they allow all MAC addresses starting with 00:1B:63, 90-27-E4, and probably a couple others. You can find apple’s full list here:


  7. Also, if you want to stay within the letter of the agreement with Clear, you can always jailbreak your iOS device, install MyWi, connect it via USB tether, and bridge WiFi to USB.

  8. I received my iSpot this afternoon at work, and have had no problem with using it directly on my macbook. I haven’t tried it on any other laptop, but it pulls up web pages and streams Hulu like a charm. I’m not sure what this will do in the long run, but since it’s contractless at $25 a month, I’m willing to see what happens.

  9. Received my iSpot and attempted to follow booklet to get started. Says turn on device (iphone 3G in this case) and turn on ispot. Iphone Wifi found Ispot network and after entering last 3 digits of default ispot password, connected. Step three says close browser, next open browser on iphone and “you’ll see the Clear account completion form”. No form. Initial connection did allow Safari brower to connect wit Google for about 5 seconds before a Clear connect took over Sarfari and inform me that I could not use the ispot as it was only approved for iphone, itouch and ipad. Well I was using an iphone but the ispot/ clear did not recognize my device as such. contacted clear support and was told needed to download firmware update and install on ispot. But, guess what, my iphone could not download the firmware update and pass to the ispot via wireless wifi, and my MS pc could download the firmware update’
    but could not connect to the ispot since it was not a an Apple device. So, while I have the firmware update file (a .bin extenstion) I can not get it onto the ispot. And, therefore can not connect a 3G iphone to the ispot it was supposedly designed to connect to.

  10. Jon, you can connect to the iSpot from a non-Apple device for the purposes of installing firmwaer. It just won’t let you browse the web beyond the iSpot gateway ( So download the firmware update when NOT on the iSpot, then connect to the iSpot to install it.

  11. i dont reamember the pasw. and i dont know how to reset plz help