01
Oct
htc-evo-design

Spending too much on your phone service? You could maybe cut that bill down a bit, if you're willing to make a few sacrifices. How does free sound? FreedomPop, which previously started offering free mobile and home internet access, is expanding into phone service. For $0 per month, you can get 200 voice minutes, 500 texts, and 500MB of 3G/4G data.

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This is obviously not a plan for heavy data users, but 500 MB might be workable if you're on WiFi most of the day. Only 500 texts might also be a bit tight unless you rely on data-only IM services like Hangouts. FreedomPop also offers paid mobile phone services, so expect the up-sell.

2013-10-01 10_06_06-Free Wireless Internet _ Free Internet _ 4G Wireless Internet - FreedomPop

For $7.99 per month you get 500 voice minutes and unlimited texts, but data is still stuck at 500MB. A $10.99 monthly payment bumps it up to unlimited voice and text with 500MB of data. All the plans have data caps with no overages, but you can buy more on a pay-as-you-go basis for 2.5-cents per megabyte, which is a lot. Alternatively, FreedomPop will bump up the data to 1GB on any plan for an additional $9.99 per month.

FredomPop is running this service on the Sprint network, just like its mobile broadband offering. Users get access to Sprint's EvDo 3G network, but the 4G FreedomPop is talking about is WiMAX, not LTE. There is only one smartphone available to the service as well, the HTC Evo Design 4G. It's not exactly top-of-the-line, but the price isn't bad at $99 with no contract. If you think you can deal with the usage limited, FreedomPop is taking orders now. Full PR below.

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- FreedomPop, the free wireless internet company, today on its one year anniversary launched its beta of the world's first completely free mobile service with free voice, text and data. The company will give users a guaranteed 500 MBs of data, 500 text messages, and 200 anytime voice minutes free every month for life. FreedomPop will also offer heavier users unlimited voice and unlimited texting for just $10.99 per month with no contracts or commitments – 80 to 90 percent less than similar plans offered by large carriers, saving consumers over $1,000 per year.

"FreedomPop is changing the mobile market forever with the sole intent of bringing better value to  consumers and increasing accessibility," said Stephen Stokols, FreedomPop's CEO and co-founder. "FreedomPop's mission is to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, convenient and essential communication services. With this launch, we've just taken our largest step to date towards delivering on this objective."

The FreedomPop Phone service will initially be available on the HTC Evo Design smartphone, which will sell for at a 65 percent discount for just $99. Later this year, additional popular Android handsets will be offered.

"The historically staid mobile operator industry is not only ripe for disruption; it is being disrupted today by creative pricing and service delivery strategies," said Rich Karpinski, senior analyst with Yankee Group. "Combining more economical voice over IP-over-cellular technology with emerging freemium business models such as these provides choice for customers looking for mobile service alternatives while pressuring incumbent carriers to respond as well."

The FreedomPop Phone comes a year after FreedomPop launched and took the mobile market by storm, offering free 4G over mobile hotspots. Led by outstanding consumer demand and organic growth, FreedomPop has demonstrated the commercial viability of its freemium model, while giving away more than half a billion free MBs of data to date. The company has also raised over $16 million in financing it is putting toward disruption of the $200 billion mobile phone service market where consumers currently pay over $1,500 per year on average.

"A user paying $1,500 per year for mobile services today can save well over $1,000 per year for the same plan with FreedomPop," Stokols added. "That is real value, real savings and a real meteor to the current market dynamics."

To sign up for access of FreedomPop's Phone now go to FreedomPop.com/phone.

[FreedomPop]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Elva lemke

    as Maria answered i a shock that a people can proft's $7851 per month on the net.. source.. BIG44.­c­o­m

    • James

      Have the interweb trolls completely cracked the algorithms for identification?

      • spydie

        sure getting a lot of them now on Disqus all of a sudden. Never had any when they were using that other service before Disqus.

  • Kcls

    I wish I didn't use so much data. 10.99 a month sounds absolutely amazing. I thought the 45 a month I'm paying on straight talk was cheap. This is crazy!

    • fixxmyhead

      Nope T-Mobile 30$ plan is even better

      • Justin W

        Depends on what you mean by better... I like that you get more data, but I don't have T-Mo in my area, so I can't really use it... I just wish they had comparable coverage to AT&T/Vzw in my area.

      • solbin

        This is what I use. I supplement the 100 minutes by using google voice and having an obi device at home that connects to google voice and uses a regular phone.

      • Kcls

        I can't use T-Mobile though. I gave it a try for a couple months but only got reception in the far back corner of my room. None outside, in school, or anywhere else in my town. So I have to use the at&t Straight Talk plan.

  • wolfkabal

    I can see this as a good option for the younger crowds for getting started with mobile phones. Cheap and enough to keep them reachable yet not on it 24/7.

  • Ricardo Neves

    Sounds awesome, i have to pay a wooping 11€ (18$) for just the 500MB of data in my carrier (Portugal)

    • RitishOemraw

      14euro for 2gb of data (although very low talk and text, but luckily for me it's whatsapp and I hardly ever call other then to say/ask: "Where are you" and "Be right there")

      EDIT: In Netherlands btw

  • GreatNews

    this phone is still around?

    • n0th1ng_r3al

      When they don't sell them they don't go into landfills.

  • http://www.lcpint.com/ Lorenzo Cascio Palmieri

    In Italy I have 400 voice mins, 2000 sms and 2GBs of data and I pay... 10€!!!

  • n0th1ng_r3al

    This is perfect for me. I am on Wifi 99% of the time, so I barely crack 500MB in a month, I just use my data for Facebook and Google Maps. I used 109 minutes and around 200 texts last month. I will probably wait to see if they get better phones though.

  • TechGuy22

    gimme unlimited text then we talking. i dont talk on the phone just texting

    • shabbypenguin

      the 7.99 plan includes unlimited texting.

    • h4rr4r

      1. Very classy image there.
      2. You left out the are in your first sentence, "then we are talking".
      3. Your shift key appears to be broken.

  • CristianoAdiutori

    Damn good!

  • Steven Z

    When I move to a city that actually gets service from Sprint, I'm totally getting this.

  • br_hermon

    "FredomPop is running this service on the Sprint network" Aaaand that's where I stopped reading.

    • inzandity

      Ha! I scrolled down right after that sentence and saw this

  • Justin W

    I would jump on this if it were on a GSM network, but since they use Sprint, I'm not able to use my unlocked device on it. I think I can manage with 500mb of data each month (I'm on WiFi at home, work and pretty much anytime I'm not driving), and all of my texts go through data (Google Voice). I also don't use many minutes (I ended last month at around 50 total minutes of talk time, and this is about the same as my average for the last year).

  • Shadab

    The voice minutes are Voip and not the normal voice call

    • Bruce

      I heard that the talking option is bad. The phone often breaks up and it is hard to hear the person talking. This is in the city in Nothern Colorado, not in the mountains. Is this true?

  • ajm531

    Can you take your own sprint based smartphone?

  • Moritz

    In Germany you have to pay 10€ (13.5$) a month to get 500MB and NO texts and calls! :(

    • fonix232

      In Denmark I pay 25€ (approx. 33.8$) for 10GB data, unlimited text/MMS and voice calls. All of this on 4G!

      • MagicMiguel

        That's a great deal!

        • fonix232

          Indeed it is! And I also get great price for minutes during roaming :D
          Oh did I mention that in such a civilized country, we get all our phones from the service provider without any kind of network lock?

          • MagicMiguel

            No doubt about it that wireless service in Europe is better than the US. That's because the EU isn't afraid to stand up to those companies and protect the consumers. The giant wireless turds here in the US bend us over because they know we don't have many viable options and the government won't do much about it.

  • h4rr4r

    On Sprint? One of these needs to be on a GSM network. Let me bring my own device.

    • TheJunkie

      why would anyone be in money losing business?

  • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

    I've looked into FreedomPop before ... while it doesn't meet the strictest definition of fraud, it looks like enough of a hassle that I wouldn't go near it. Do a Google search for "freedompop scam" to see what I mean. It's probably best for someone who values money more than their time.

    • Ryuuie

      You know, looking up "[company name] scam" is going to return results for pretty much any company. These results will just be normal complaints and usually nothing that's an actual "scam".

      Most people don't know what a "scam" truly is and just use that term when they're unhappy with the service.

      This is one of those times. Yes, it has "hidden fees", but almost all carriers have those. Doesn't make them a scam.

      • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

        You'd do well to read those reviews ... they are different from just whiny consumer complaining. This company seems very shady to me and I would not trust them with my credit card. I've got better things to do than micromanage a data connection to save a few bucks. Your mileage may vary -- and maybe Sprint works really well where you are, too.

        • Ryuuie

          This isn't a "scam".

          If you signed up for a phone but did not receive one yet you are continuously charged $20 a day, then it would be a scam.

          If you signed up for a phone + service and got the phone but the service is for AT&T and the phone is for Verizon and you're STILL be charged, then it would be a scam.

          You simply cannot call this a "scam".

          All this is is "Here's a phone, here's some service, there are fees we won't mention outright but we DO mention so you know what's happening." They give you the phone, they give you the service, they have hidden fees.

          AT&T has hidden fees, Sprint has hidden fees, Verizon has hidden fees, T-Mobile has hidden fees, AIO Wireless has hidden fees...hell there are other companies worldwide that have hidden fees. They're not scams. Is it a crappy thing to do? Yes. Is it a scam? No. Are they stealing your money and not giving you service? No.

          Do you really think that Android Police would post a true, honest-to-god scam so their readers can be scammed by it? No. They wouldn't. Because if they did, they'd be in a LOT of trouble.

          Basically, you just don't trust FreedomPop, that's fine, I guess. But those reviews are nothing more than whining about being unhappy with the service. It's Sprint. Sprint is known for awful service. This is not FreedomPop's problem but Sprint's.

          Yes, I was a postpaid Sprint user, the SMS and voice works fine, data does not. You'd probably be hardpressed to ever go over that 500MB limit as it'll be incredibly slow.

      • Keithr

        I saw an ad on TV that said ($99 phone with unltd text & phone for $9.99/mo) I didn't catch the name but Google brought me here. I liked your response and as I know nothing of this market. (I'm doing this for a friend -- I have a iPhone 5s where my plan of unltd everything and is employer paid), so I want to hear more about hidden fees (how much and what for), and who else has similar and more cost efficient plans than this.

  • solbin

    So.... whats the catch? (other than it being on sprint)

    • Cory Crew

      I was about to ask the same thing

    • TheJunkie

      If their hotspot service is any indication, it's pretty much as advertised. (both good and bad, if you are expecting more than what's advertised, don't)
      To keep it free you need to 1. not go over the limit or upgrade yourself for the month you think you are going to go over the limit 2. don't sign up for anything you don't need.....which is everything they offer:)
      There is nothing wrong with sprint. It's a backup phone. You can't expect a power smartphone user to be ok with this plan. If you think this is going to be like HTC one on Verizon network, you will need to have your head checked:)
      I just signed up for one. If it works as expected, I will get another one.

  • http://www.youtube.com/crisr82 Kristian Ivanov

    US-only service, nothing for me here

  • Byung-Hoon Cho

    NZ$19 (around US$16) a month for 500MB, 90 minutes and unlimited text (although I dont text that much)... I could easily live off the $0 service :(

  • rmeden

    I've been using the FreedomPOP free plan with their wifi hotspot for a year or so now. Yes, you have to be careful that you don't sign up for another plan or incur "non-use" charges, but I do have 500MB of free wifi hotspot a month and haven't sent them a dime except for the "deposit" on the device. I use 100-200MB/month for my laptop when I travel.

    The biggest problem for me is the WiMAX 4G network. Coverage just doesn't exist in many places I would like to use the hotspot. This phone uses the same WiMAX network. Newer devices can use Sprint's 3G network, but when I checked a few months ago, the free plans do not offer use of the 3G network.

    In summary FreedomPop isn't a scam, it's just a free service with very limited coverage. They would rather you sign up for a non-free service with better coverage and features.

  • LeoF

    Anyone know if the 500mb of wireless data can be used on 3g with the HTC phone or can it only be used by WiMax? Also since calls are being converted to IP data will that use up your data too when making calls?

    • LeoF

      Doh! Read it over again. 3G can be used.
      "Users get access to Sprint's EvDo 3G network, but the 4G FreedomPop is talking about is WiMAX, not LTE."

  • Brian

    It's a scam with a lot of hidden charges. You can tell just by their website alone. There's no easy non-hidden way on the website to actually downgrade or cancel the service without calling someone. When you call they put you on hold for an hour after which they dump you to a voice mail. If you elect for them to call you back, they only let it ring two times before ending the call.

    Yes the cell phone carriers are slimy, but they're still better than freedom pop.

  • Gee

    FreedomPop is a crap service. I have for 8 weeks and I can tell the new batery dies in about 3-4 hours in stand by mode. You can only make phone call if you've a wifi conect. Out of wifi coverage you would never can make a phone call using their service, but you can make a phobe call by asking someone passing by for help and using their reliable phone service. Anyways FP is a crap service, has not value and it is a waste of your time.

  • sheldon kirschbaum

    Phone arrived within 7 days of ordering. Signed up paid for 2 years in advance unlimited calls, text and 1 gig of internet which goes up if referr others and/ or go to certain advertiser sites. This comes out to $4.52 per month! Phone works perfect, ordered second phone too. Bummer that I had to get a new phone number. Voice is over internet so sometimes has a tin sound.

    • Bruce

      I heard that the talking option is bad. The phone often breaks up and it is hard to hear the person talking. This is in the city in Northern Colorado, not in the mountains. Is this true?