FreedomPop will soon offer free wireless phone service, starting later this summer
Sick of paying big bucks each month to your current U.S. mobile provider? What if there was a way to get cellular access, without paying a single cent each month? That’s exactly what FreedomPop is looking to offer later this summer, taking its free wireless broadband service and expanding it into the realm of mobile phones.
With FreedomPop’s free phone service you will be limited to just 500MB mobile data and 200 voice minutes each month. You will however be able to send as many text messages as your heart desires. You can also make unlimited calls to other FreedomPop users.
What happens if you want/need more voice or data access? If you go over 200 minutes, FreedomPop will charge you a $10 fee, which will give you unlimited calling for the rest of the month. Additionally, FreedomPop offers 2GB of extra data for just $18.
So can you bring your existing phone over to FreedomPop or will you need specialized hardware? The long-term plan is to support the ability to bring some Sprint devices over to the service, but initially you will need to buy a phone sold by the company.
We can’t say for sure what all phones the company will offer, though there has been mention of a refurbed Evo 4G, Galaxy S2 and Galaxy S3. FreedomPop also suggests that phones will average between $99 to $199.
So how does all of this work?
That’s a lot of functionality here for the low price of free, so you are probably wondering if there is a catch. The answer is sort of. First it runs on Sprint’s network. That may or may not be a good thing, depending on where you live, what your coverage is like and what your opinion of Sprint is.
Another important distinction between FreedomPop’s offering and traditional wireless services is that the 200 minutes of voice actually runs through VOIP technology, using Sprint’s 3G network. While the 3G network should be able to handle this without any major issue, it could mean that the call quality isn’t always going to be perfect (though probably good enough).
This is certainly a bold initiative, and if it works as promised, it could be perfect for those that primarily use their phones for texting or for net usage through Wi-Fi. No word on exactly when the service is coming, other than it is expected sometime this summer. What do you think, interested or not?