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FreedomPop's CEO Says Free Mobile Phone Service Will Include 200 Minutes, Unlimited Texts



FreedomPop CEO Steven Stokols made an appearance (video above) on CNBC yesterday to promote the company's yet to be released free mobile phone service. While Stokols didn't say when the service would launch he did give some details about plan and phone pricing . Two plans were mentioned;

Free Plan - 200 voice minutes, unlimited messages and 500 MB.
$10 Plan  - unlimited minutes, unlimited messages and an unspecified amount of data.

Stokols said that customers will be able to bring any phone that's "Sprint certified" and mentioned the Samsung Galaxy S4 as an example of a phone that could be used on the service. He also said that FreedomPop will offer the HTC EVO 4G for $99 and the Samsung Galaxy S II for under $200. Presumably these prices are for refurbished phones.

FreedomPop's service uses the Sprint network and the voice service will be VOIP based, meaning it will use the network's data transport rather than the voice channel.  VOIP doesn't work very well, if at all, on Sprint's rather slow legacy 3G network. So I believe that FreedomPop's free voice calling will be limited to 4G (LTE or WiMAX) coverage areas. Based on FreedomPop's freemium business model I suspect there will be an extra cost add on that provides traditional cellular service on the Sprint 3G network.

Stokols also said that FreedomPop is profitable and that they expect to have "many millions" of customers within a year or two. I'm disappointed that he didn't mention when the service would launch. FreedomPop's initial announcement said the free phone service would be available "this summer" with a FreedomPop customer support representative mentioning an August or September roll-out. I hope the launch is still on schedule.

Source, video: CNBC via HowardForums

Related Posts:
FreedomPop to Launch Free Mobile Phone Service this Summer
FreedomPop Expands Mobile Broadband Coverage With 3G Roaming
FreedomPop Launches - 500 MB/Month of Free Mobile Broadband

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14 comments:

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  1. To quote Macklemore, "This is f---ing awesome!"

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  2. CS is still very slow. It took 2 days, 5 hours to answer about an ongoing glitch in their online account software. Their phone line cuts you off after one minute, so email support is all there is. Facebook sends you to the online support form; at least it lets you skip about 20 click-through steps to get to the form. It costs $4/month extra for tech support, and I can't tell from the website description whether they would address online account and billing issues when you buy this service.
    I can imagine this will get much worse after the phone service launches.

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  3. You get what you pay for?

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    Replies
    1. Lots of wisdom behind that cliche. In this case, you can get the same low level of support whether you pay nothing, the $7.50/month I pay, or $89.99 for their top service plus another $9.47/month for four of the five optional services, almost $100/month. So this company is an exception to the rule.
      If I depended on the data service, I would pay the extra $4/month for more support, and hopefully get what I paid for. That is what makes the freemium model work for them.

      Delete
    2. In life, we call it you reap what you sow. From a business perspective, the executives at FPop are geniuses to use free as a "hook". The people who need this service are those that will not read the fine print, the hiddens fees, etc. These users are probably those that can't afford the hidden charges.

      That news highlight brought FPop tens of thousands in free advertising.

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    3. I've been using FreedomPop since December and I've paid a grand total of $2.98 which was for overages when I used more than my free allotment of 500 MB/month. No hidden charges and your account balance rolls over indefinitely.

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    4. Dennis, here's someonw who didn't get a warm and fuzzy relationship with Freedom Pop.

      http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Freedom-Pop/internet/Freedom-Pop-Charging-Hidden-Fees-Internet-1027252

      Delete
  4. Since Freedom Pop is a California-based company (Los Angeles), I'll use this comparison.

    The CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) has begun to slowly roll-out a wireless option for those who qualify for the low income Lifeline program.

    So far, four carriers have been approved:

    Sprint's Virgin Mobile, operating as Assurance Wireless
    Leap Wireless, operating as Cricket
    Nexus Communications, operating as Reach Out Wireless
    Telscape Communications

    All four companies are using CDMA. In the case of Cricket and Virgin/Assurance, they each use their own network and in the case of Virgin/Assurance, it's Sprint. Nexus and Telscape use Verizon.

    Here's what you get:

    Nexus/Reach Out Wireless: 250 free voice minutes/250 free texts each month. Pay $5.00, receive an additional 250 voice minutes and 250 texts.

    Telscape: Pay $2.50 and receive a combination of 300 units, one minute of voice = one unit, one text = one unit. Mix and match any combination of voice and text up to 300 units. Pay $20.00, and receive 1100 units, mix or match voice or text.

    Cricket: Pay $21.50 and receive unlimited voice and text messaging. Basically, it's a $13.50 discount from their $35.00 unlimited voice and text plan.

    Assurance Wireless (Sprint/Virgin): 250 free voice minutes, 250 free texts. Pay $5.00, receive and additional 250 voice minutes and 250 texts. Assurance will also provide a free phone at no charge.

    I'm not sure what the Lifleline wireless offerings are in other states, but to me, Freedom Pop's 200 free voice minutes seems very similar to what is now available in California for those on the Lifeline plan.

    Source: CPUC
    http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/NR/rdonlyres/D6F984DA-8D5F-416C-A922-746E61532376/0/FederalLifelineCellPhonePlansComparison.pdf

    HELLS_BELLS

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    Replies
    1. lifeline is a federal program intended to provide affordable cheap universal service to everyone and is administered in part at the state level. the lifeline program is for if you are at a low-income level (such as if you receive government benefits of some sort or if you are under a certain income level) and particularly if you need a phone for voice calls when looking for employment, for connecting with family, and for emergency calls.
      http://www.fcc.gov/lifeline
      http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/puc/telco/public+programs/ults.htm

      before the lifeline program was just for landlines, but was then later expanded to include cell phones. the result is that you have cell phone companies setting up plans for the purpose of providing lifeline service. some companies may ask you for proof of your status. others may take you at your word or not even bother to ask about your income status. there are a lot of companies, not just the top name-brand cell phone companies, that are set up to provide this really basic voice/text service. they are like the MVNOs that are discussed here, but the target consumer group are low-income consumers who just need voice/text at a cheap, or free, or subsidized cost.

      from my own observation, having looked at the lifeline service myself (knew about landline lifeline since forever, but heard about the cellular lifeline after looking at ads in the pennysaver over a year or so ago), if you are on this website, you can probably find your own better (cheaper) deals than going with a lifeline program -- particularly if you want data on a smartphone.

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    2. another comparison for those interested in the lifeline program, AT&T has a lifeline program for cell phones, but currently not in California and not in all states, and only for voice calls.
      http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/articles-resources/community-support/lifeline-link-up.jsp
      one paragraph from the link states:
      "Data services, Text Messaging and other enhanced services or features, international long distance and access to '900' numbers are not available to Lifeline customers"

      it is kind of harsh to not include texting, but MY GUESS is to don't be surprised if non-voice services, such as data and texting, are not included with any discounted, subsidized, or free lifeline cell phone service. expect limitations for any lifeline cell phone plan. perhaps the reason is if you are low-income, then you only need voice to make phone calls to find a job. therefore, you may have to pay extra for anything else, or it is expected that you have to get a better job to better afford a plan with data and other services that you can afford to fully pay for.

      Looking at the different pdf brochures at the link http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/articles-resources/community-support/lifeline-link-up.jsp
      there are apparently different subsidized discount costs for AT&T's lifeline cell phone service for different states:

      $1 for unlimited anytime minutes
      North Dakota
      South Dakota (Pine Ridge)

      $1 for 300 anytime minutes, 1000 night/weekend minutes
      Oregon

      $1 for 1200 anytime minutes
      Alaska

      $7.50 for 300 anytime minutes
      West Virginia

      $12.24 for 600 anytime minutes, 1000 night/weekend minutes
      Idaho

      $12.24 for 300 anytime minutes, 1000 night/weekend minutes
      Oregon (non-tribal)

      $15.74 for 600 anytime minutes, 1000 night/weekend minutes
      Kentucky
      Michigan
      Texas
      Wisconsin

      $15.74 for 300 anytime minutes, 1000 night/weekend minutes
      Alabama
      Arkansas
      Louisiana
      Mississippi
      North Dakota (non-tribal)
      Virginia
      Washington
      Puerto Rico (or $7.24 lifeline unlimited wireless home phone)

      for those in California (or another state) wondering why AT&T doesn't have a lifeline cell plan for your state, my very limited guess as pure speculation is that AT&T may have possibly decided from a business standpoint that it was better for AT&T to continue to offer the GoPhone $25 plan (with 250 minutes and unlimited texts) as a sort of unofficial "lifeline" plan for people in states like California where AT&T doesn't provide an official lifeline cell phone service. AT&T probably thinks that's enough of a discount compared to its other plans.

      Delete
  5. > FreedomPop's service uses the Sprint network and the
    > voice service will be VOIP based, meaning it will use
    > the network's data transport rather than the voice
    > channel. VOIP doesn't work very well, if at all, on
    > Sprint's rather slow legacy 3G network. So I believe
    > that FreedomPop's free voice calling will be limited to
    > 4G (LTE or WiMAX) coverage areas. Based on
    > FreedomPop's freemium business model I suspect
    > there will be an extra cost add on that provides
    > traditional cellular service on the Sprint 3G network.

    so, the FreedomPop voip calls may probably suck for the most part with a lot of dropped calls if there is spotty 4G sprint coverage in my area? and if want anything better, then have to pay up to get regular cell calls?

    so, then why bother? well, if don't care about calls (or really if don't make very many calls) and if just want the free 500 megabytes of data, or the apparently more "unspecified amount of data" for $10, then this sounds like a great deal.

    seems like need a sprint android phone of some sort to make the voip calls appear to be more seamless.

    cannot help but want to compare this to republic.

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  6. How is it that people still find a way to complain about "FREE" cell phone service. Personally I think if you want a cell phone you should have to pay for it like everyone else or you can just take this service for what it's worth and quit complaining that a company has found a smart way to make a profit by offering something for free.

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    Replies
    1. Here we are in the middle of Sept, almost 3 months later, and the service does not even exist yet. Their iPhone 4 sleeve is more than a year late. Their CS is really slow. People should know these things before they provide their credit card number and pay for their device.
      People should also know that if you take advantage of the return policy, you pay original shipping, return shipping and $9 for wear and tear whether there is any or not.
      Their metering system burped and they charged me for 300mb I did not use. They credited it back to my balance, but I had to ask for the overage charge to be refunded. Took 3 days, but I got it. Watch your usage.

      Delete
  7. Its free wtf else do you want !!bitch bitch bi tch bitch

    ReplyDelete
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