Oh, hell. FreedomPop might really be onto something this time. The company best known for doling out 500MB of free mobile data per month to hotspots, iPods and home routers will step up its game later this summer with a free phone service for Android users... with a few caveats, that is. To get by on the cheap, you'll need to make do with a relatively scant 200 voice minutes and 500MB of mobile data in order to avoid overage fees, but to FreedomPop's credit, it'll include unlimited texting as part of the mix. What's more, if you happen to go over your minute allotment, you'll be charged a rather reasonable $9.99, which brings unlimited voice to the table. As you might've suspected, data overages are the biggest caveat to FreedomPop's service, which can cost between $10 and $20 per gigabyte.
The service will operate over Sprint's network, which brings access to EV-DO and WiMAX, and also leverages VoIP for calls. While it won't be available at launch, FreedomPop tells us that LTE may eventually worm its way into the offering. Sadly, the company isn't ready to discuss which Android phones will be offered (or at what price points). As another sticking point, there's a chance that number portability won't make it into the beta launch, but FreedomPop assures us that it's in the works. Even with the constraints and risk of overages, it seems that FreedomPop could still be a workable (and very inexpensive) solution if you lean on WiFi for most of your data usage. In fact, company reps tell us that 50 percent of its customers are able to get by without incurring overages or monthly fees. Think you have the self-restraint to be among them?
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FREEDOMPOP ANNOUNCES THE FIRST 100 PERCENT FREE MOBILE SERVICE FREE VOICE, FREE TEXT, FREE DATA
No monthly fees, no hidden charges, no carriers
LOS ANGELES, CA, JUNE 5, 2013 – FreedomPop, today announced the first-ever completely free mobile service with free voice, free text and free data. FreedomPop's ground breaking service will give users a guaranteed 500 MBs of 4G data for free, unlimited texting, and 200 free anytime voice minutes each month. In addition, FreedomPop users will enjoy free unlimited calls to each other.
"This is not only disruptive, but game-changing," said Jonathan Chaplin from Newstreet, an investment firm focused on the telecom industry. "This move completely marginalizes the voice network by leveraging VoIP over cellular and is extremely threatening to already declining voice margins."
The FreedomPop service will be available on several popular Android phones later this summer and will be the first-ever all-data devices running 100 percent VoIP over cellular networks.
"The quality of over-the-top VoIP services is now at a stage where we can deliver the major mobile services completely free to consumers. FreedomPop is changing the mobile market for good with the sole intent of bringing better value to the consumer," 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 a very big step towards delivering on this promise."
With gross margins of over 50 percent on its 'freemium' products and services, led by outstanding consumer demand and high growth rates, FreedomPop has demonstrated the commercial viability of its model of delivering 4G wireless to the mass market.
FreedomPop is looking to officially launch the service and phones later this summer, but interested users can sign up for early access now at FreedomPop.com/phone.
To learn more about the FreedomPop Phone service, go to http://www.FreedomPop.com/phone