post on their blog today, freemium Sprint MVNO FreedomPop "Premium Voice" which will allow FreedomPop Android phones to seamlessly switch calls from VOIP to cellular voice when the data connection is too slow support VOIP reliably. This is pretty big deal as VOIP calling is unusable on 2G connections and often leaves a lot to be desired on 3G connections. The new service will be available soon to new and existing FreedomPop customers. Existing customers will receive it as an update to the FreedomPop Messaging app in Google Play.
The blog post didn't reveal pricing for the new service but in an interview with FierceWireless, FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols said Premium Voice will be free to customers on the $20/month unlimited plan. Customers on the free plan will get the first month of Premium Voice for free but after the first month it will cost $2.99/month. Stokols said that Premium Voice for iOS would be available later this year.
In the FierceWireless interview Stokols also said that FreedomPop is still negotiating with an unnamed company that's interested in acquiring or merging with FreedomPop. He expects to know in four to six weeks, but possibly longer, whether a deal is possible. If M&A deal falls though FreedomPop has lined up another significant round of venture capital funding.
Stokols also said FreedomPop is growing by 10% or more each month and should hit one million customers in the third quarter of this year. The company still plans to begin offering service in at least one European country early in the second quarter with eventual expansion into five European countries including Spain, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium. Stokols didn't say which country it would launch in first but that it would be in larger market than Belgium.
FreedomPop, which launched in October, 2012, offers free data-only service for phones, tablets and mobile broadband devices. The company's free plan for phones includes 500MB of data, 200 minutes of VOIP calling and 500 messages. There's also $20/month plan with limited calls, messaging and data (throttled to "3G" speeds after 1GB/month).
Update 5/22/15: The launch of Premium Voice seems to have been delayed. Users activating new FreedomPop devices are reporting that there is no Premium Voice option in their FreedomPop app.
Update 5/28: Premiun Voice is now available to all FreedomPop Android using a new version of the FreedomPop Messaging Andriod app which is available now in the Play Store and enable the Premium Voice in the app's Available Services menu. Premium Voice costs $3.99 for all users rather than the free for unlimited plan customers and $2.99 for others pricing that FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols told FierceWireless last month.
Related: Prepaid Operator Profile: FreedomPop