Are you ready for free mobile phone service, including voice, data and messaging? Freemium mobile broadband provider FreedomPop announced today that it plans to introduce a free mobile phone service this summer. Users will get 500 MB of data, 200 voice minutes and unlimited messaging for free. Like it does with it's mobile broadband service, Freedom Pop will make money on overage charges when users go over the plan limits and by selling add-on services including unlimited voice for $10 per month or 2 GB of data for $19/month.
Voice calling will be VOIP, meaning it will use data (similar to Skype) rather than regular voice channels. I suspect that the free service, like FreedomPop's current broadband, will run on Sprint/Clearwire's WiMAX network exclusively. According to Forbes, FreedomPop initially plans to offer refurbished HTC EVO 4G WiMax capable phones for $99. FreedomPop told TechCrunch that it will eventually provide Sprint 3G and LTE service and allow customers to use any Sprint phone. I think there's likely to be an extra cost for acccess to 3G and probably LTE. FreedomPop currently charges mobile broadband customers $3.99/month for up to 500 MB of 3G data. LTE isn't currently available from FreedomPop.
Update: A Prepaid Phone News reader shared a recording of a call between him and FreedomPop support said the the $99 phone would be the Samsung Galaxy S II rather than the HTC EVO 4G and that the launch date for FreedomPop phone would be August or September.
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FreedomPop Launches - 500 MB/Month of Free Mobile Broadband