FreedomPop wants to give everyone access to wireless service for free. The company promises customers 500MB of 4G data as well as unlimited text and 200 minutes of phone service a month at no cost to customers. Giving away what other carriers are charging a premium for may seem impossible to sustain long-term, but FreedomPop plans to reap the profits of a freemium model. Reaching higher levels of data usage or phone service will cost you.
Specifically, FreedomPop’s looking at $9.99 monthly for unlimited phone service, and $18 for using 2GB or more in data. The company also charges smaller monthly fees for various services such as rollover of unused data and faster download speeds. The 50% of customers who stay under the limit and don’t opt for extra services don’t pay a thing, and even paying $30 or more per month for comparable service to what major carriers charge around $100 for doesn’t sound bad.
All of FreedomPop’s phone calls will be made via Voice over IP through the data plan, using Sprint’s 3G network. FreedomPop-compatible phones will be sold at $99 to $199, and include EVO 4G Android phones and the Samsung Galaxy S II and S III.
FreedomPop already provides this service through portable hotspots, USB sticks, and home routers, but this program puts them in direct competition with the big wireless carriers. FreedomPop co-founder Stephen Stokols said that he’s been accused of undercutting the industry by a T-Mobile executive, but Sprint doesn’t seem to mind selling its bandwidth wholesale to an upstart competitor.
All in all, if FreedomPop can pull it off, this could mean a major shift in the mobile industry that will cut costs for many users as smartphones become ubiquitous. Color us tentatively excited.
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