FreedomPop has launched. The freemium mobile broadband service backed by $7.5 million in venture capital funding from Mangrove Capital, DCM, and Skype Founder Niklas Zennstom's Atomico is now accepting customers.
FreedomPop currently runs on Clearwire's WiMAX network but plans to begin offering LTE data from Sprint next year. There are three plans:
Free 500 MB Plan - 500 MB/month at no cost with overage charged at 2¢/MB
Casual 2GB Plan - 2 GB/month for $17.99 with overage charged at 1¢/MB
Premiere 4GB Plan - 4 GB/month for $28.99 with overage charged at 1¢/MB
There's a $2.99/month FreedomPop Speed Plus add-on for all three plans that promises no throttling, "prioritized data" and 50% faster speeds of up to 12 Mbps down and 1.5 Mbps up. I guess this means that without the add-on speeds are throttled to 8 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up - still very decent speeds given the price.
FreedomPop users can earn up to 1GB of additional free data each month by referring friends and by participating in other promotions as such as watching ads.
A FreedomPop device is required to use the service. At launch there are two devices, a Freedom Stick - Bolt USB stick and the Freedom Spot - Photon mobile hotspot. Both devices are "free" but require a refundable security deposit of $49 for the USB stick and $89 for the hotspot. Customers can return the devices at anytime for a full refund. Standard shipping is $4.99. In four to six weeks FreedomPop plans to begin selling $99 snap on data sleeves for the iPhone and IPod.
FreedomPop certainly has the potential to shake up the mobile industry particularly when Sprint's LTE build out is complete. Even now it looks like a great deal for anyone who can live with Clearwire's somewhat limited coverage (map).