The Rover Puck

Remember Rover, the youth-oriented pay-as-you-go wireless service that Clearwire launched last summer? Probably not. And now you may never get a chance to use it.  Clearwire is pulling the plug on the Gen Y-focused Rover brand, including the Rover Puck portable hotspot brand which provides wireless broadband connections to as many eight devices. The company said that the Rover no-contract plans will now be offered under the Clear name, and the Rover Puck device will be supported by Clearwire going forward.

Rover launched with a slick Web site last August, offering hip slogans like “faster than your first time;” “coverage that won’t hang;” and “wireless you can rock on the go.”

Despite the catchy campaign, the Rover brand didn’t really become a mainstay among teens and twenty somethings. Nonetheless, Clearwire spokeswoman tells GeekWire that Rover provided the company with “the ability to test some new pay-as-you-go pricing options.

Targeting the youth-oriented market can always be a challenge, especially in mobile. And Clearwire isn’t the first to fall victim to that trap. Last year, you may recall that Microsoft pulled the plug on its Kin mobile device about a month after its debut.

When contacted by GeekWire this morning, Clearwire issued a statement saying that Rover was a test of pricing models in a few select markets.

The personal hot spot category of products enable hundreds of Wi-Fi enabled products to access the Clearwire 4G We are continually evaluating options for improving and streamlining our offers and product distribution as we expect double-digit growth from our retail channel this year, and as such, we will be discontinuing the sale of Rover branded products in the coming weeks. We will instead be providing our CLEAR-branded “no-term contract” service plan to customers. We feel confident that that these CLEAR-branded “no-term contract” service plan offerings should meet the needs of most of the Rover customer base.

John Cook is co-founder of GeekWire. Follow on Twitter: @geekwirenews and Facebook.

Comments

  • http://www.kirillzubovsky.com Kirill Zubovsky

    Well, I sure hope they maintain the support because I am using my Rover and I love it … when it works, and I hate it with passion when it breaks (which is like twice a day on some days).

    Funny enough, last night I had a Rover outage, and I called the support, guess what they said? “Sir, I am looking at the system, and we don’t have any indication of outage.” I was like “wtf guys, the question isn’t whether there’s one – my internet isn’t working – it’s just how fast you’re going to fix it!”. The point of the story is, Rover is a great concept, but at the same time ClearWire has done a fantastically bad job at supporting the customers.

    It amazes me how most ISP companies, instead of competing to be the best, compete on “let’s suck a tiiiny bit less than our competitors” principle.

    • johnhcook

      Clearwire says that they do plan to support the Rover Puck device going forward. Here’s what the company told me after I asked about your comment:

      “Former Rover devices will still be available with CLEAR plans in the coming weeks… We still plan to support current Rover customers and devices and we hope they will continue using the Clearwire network. Existing equipment will be able to activate CLEAR branded plans.”

      • http://www.kirillzubovsky.com Kirill Zubovsky

        Thank you following up with Clearwire, John.

  • http://twitter.com/richphoto Richard Brown Photog

    Interesting, I had considered it not more than a few months ago.

  • Nanostring

    Another OVP screwup; they just invested in the device-maker.

  • Aqua108

    I am awaiting the rover pack via fedex as we speak, But now that I read testimonials, am wondering, if that what will happen to my connection: 1- I knew about clearwire over a year and a half year ago when I was in hawaii, second, I read that they will be offering this a a no contract plan, then when was purchase 2 days with a 2 year contract only! I wanted a hot post for my macbook especially when I am on the go but at least I have a 30 day return policy….  Any thoughts appreciated!

  • Aqua108

    I am awaiting the rover pack via fedex as we speak, But now that I read testimonials, am wondering, if that what will happen to my connection: 1- I knew about clearwire over a year and a half year ago when I was in hawaii, second, I read that they will be offering this a a no contract plan, then when was purchase 2 days with a 2 year contract only! I wanted a hot post for my macbook especially when I am on the go but at least I have a 30 day return policy….  Any thoughts appreciated!

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