30
Jul
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Update: It looks like FreedomPop ran out of stock on its refurbished tablets almost immediately, and at the moment the links below default to various hotspot gadgets. Given the limitations of Sprint service, it's not a surprise that the company's secondhand hardware stockpile wouldn't be huge.

Also, several prospective customers have told us that they've been given the run-around when trying to sign up for the free plan, instead being placed on the free trial for paid service and almost immediately charged. Tread carefully if you're trying to score some free wireless service.

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FreedomPop is already a solid choice for adding a small amount of service to an unused phone, but now the FreedomPop online store also includes LTE versions of both the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 and the iPad mini. We don't particularly care about the latter (did you read the sign on the door?), but the Samsung tablet costs $199.99 at its promotional price, though the tiny type says it's a refurbished device. It's eligible for FreedomPop's free 500MB data plan.

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Interestingly, that plan also includes the standard FreedomPop 200 minutes of free cell service and 500 text messages, despite the fact that LTE tablets usually come to American carriers with voice calling and texting capability disabled. Galaxy Tab 3 owners as well as anyone who brings their own 3G/LTE tablet to the service will need to use the FreedomPop Voice and Text app to access phone calls and text messages. Since that's basically a VOIP system, keep in mind that making calls when you're outside a Wi-Fi network will probably eat into both your voice minutes and data allotment. Tablets can access the same conventional plans as phones, and will have to pay the same overage fees if they want more data.

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Also, there are some unfortunate conditions that FreedomPop isn't in any hurry to highlight. FreedomPop is a Sprint MVNO, which means that you only get data on Sprint's network (easily the smallest of the Big Four in the US). It also means that you can only bring certain Sprint phones to the "BYOD" service. Presumably that applies to tablets as well, though that point isn't immediately clear - I'd get more accurate information for this report, but FreedomPop doesn't appear to employ humans for technical support. (Answer your phones, jerks!) If the tablet devices are limited to current and former Sprint tablets, that will mean you can only choose between a few iPad and Galaxy Tab models, as well as a few oddballs like the ZTE Optik 2.

Source: FreedomPop

LOS ANGELES, CA – July 30, 2014FreedomPop – the free mobile service company offering free voice, text and data – today announced that it is now offering discounted LTE tablets with free data plus expanding tablet functionality to include phone capabilities: a unique phone number, voice and texting. Specifically, users will be able to associate a unique phone number with any FreedomPop tablet and make free calls and texts. This functionality does not currently exist for tablets offered by large carriers, partially because of the potential to cannibalize high margin phone plans.

“The line between smartphones and tablets continues to blur,” said Steven Sesar, FreedomPop Co-Founder and COO. “As a result, people want to use the device they’re most comfortable with, in a way that is most useful to them. We felt it was important to offer an expanded FreedomPop tablet experience by including telephony, and not just to enable calls but also for using apps like WhatsApp or Uber that require a device phone number to integrate seamlessly.”

Sesar added, “Whether it’s the integration of the ‘internet of things’ or increasing one’s productivity on the road, people are just beginning to tap into the potential of what tablets can do. With this platform becoming increasingly important to customers, they shouldn’t be harnessed by phone carriers’ restrictions.”

At issue for many has been the cost of adding data to a second device like a tablet. Less than 70 percent of new tablets are purchased with LTE. With FreedomPop’s new tablet and data options, consumers now have the luxury of free data plans for both phones and tablets.

In addition to the popular iPad mini and Samsung Tab 3 tablets, users with existing LTE tablets can also move their existing tablets to FreedomPop and get the same 500 MBs of LTE data, 200 voice minutes and 500 texts absolutely free. Users can bring their own iPad or Tab device or purchase one from FreedomPop. The iPad mini will sell for $319 and the Samsung Tab 3 for $199.

These popular LTE tablets join the growing list of mobile phones and devices available to FreedomPop users since its launch, which include the iPhone 5, several of the top-selling Android smartphones and portable Wi-Fi hotspots. To order a smartphone or tablet from FreedomPop and to sign up for service now, go toFreedomPop.com.

About FreedomPop

FreedomPop provides disruptive mobile services so that no one is left off the "connected grid." Launched in 2012, FreedomPop is rewriting the rules of the telecoms industry and is backed by Mangrove Capital, DCM and Skype Founder Niklas Zennstom's Atomico. The company offers consumers access to free high-speed Internet and mobile phone services nationwide.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Guest

    soon we'll be seeing more of this...

  • https://twitter.com/#!/psychomaniac189 psychomaniac189

    soon we'll be seeing more of this. (edit) the pic wont attach so ill just link it
    http://i-cdn.phonearena.com/images/article/38434-image/The-5-inch-smartphone-is-this-the-end-of-the-screen-size-race.jpg

  • Raymond Berger

    If only they could coax sprint into letting them sell sim cards.

  • ddh819

    can you forward the freedompop number to another number, like to google voice or another phone? and if so i wonder if it eats into your voice minutes

    • Miguel Angel II Lopez

      A number of people have set that up. If you go to their forum ages there is a thread on that set up by one of the FP Pros.

  • imho

    Jerks? Seriously Michael Crider is ...... FreedomPop support ( over the phone ) has always been there for me. Even Still you are getting phone / internet service for practically for free heck it can be free for your $20 activation fee. and it works very well. Go their webpage and click on ABOUT and wow look what stands out. "FreedomPop's high speed wireless internet service runs across Sprint's LTE network, 4G WiMax and 3G CDMA networks." Looks to me that they are highlighting the fact they use Sprint. Which that is a drag I just left sprint for Verizon glad I did but with my old phone and $20..... TaDa I have a free phone. It works every bit as good as Sprint would LTE Internet and all. Anyway in short FreedomPop ROCKS .... Sprint SOCKS.

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    • Miguel Angel II Lopez

      I agree imho. Up front I'll tell you am one of the early FP Pros. I joined them last fall and even before I became a Pro (it just means you are able to directly or indirectly help newbs on the forum) I was getting assistance left and right.
      The key to FP is just to educate yourself before jumping in. I looked at several small carriers and FP for almost two years. The biggest problem is newbies not doing their research first. The second problem is they are lazy about looking for answers in the forum threads themselves. Just about every situation/problem you can come across with the devices has been already experienced, asked about and solved! The FP Pros either answer with possible solutions or point them to the tread were the issue is discussed or tag the problem for an administrator to look into it.
      There is a search window where you can type a topic into and hit search and it takes them to a list of possible post were the issue has been given a resolution. But people prefer to bitch about a lack of assistance and having to wait too long for answers.
      Currently there is about 5 admins there resolving issues, that's a lot of progress from when I joined!
      As for waiting on the phone, dude there is a prompt to follow to receive a call back from a customer service agent, use it instead of bitching! They are on Pacific Standard Time, so don't expect them there at 7am eastern time! My experience with the call back feature is I call first thing in the am, I get a call back by noon or 3pm eastern time. If I have time I wait, never more than 20mins get a live agent and my problems have been resolved. Heck that's better than my local electric company or cable outfit!
      So my advice is listen, learn and research before jumping in! FreedomPop right now rocks me with an Sam Gal SIII, unlimited talk and text for 10 bucks. With my friends we pool a free 1.5 gigs of data. I don't use all of it so we maintain a bank of data and pass it around to each other month to month, I never have less than 1.5 gigs a month!

  • Miguel Angel II Lopez

    Sorry for the long post. I invite you all to pass by the FredomPop Forum and just browse the threads. See the issues, the solutions, and even an open and always available archive thread. Nothing is lost to the folks looking for solutions!