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FreedomPop Carrier Voice Calling Is Now Available

The Premium Voice feature that Sprint MVNO FreedomPop announced April 9th went live today.

Up to now, FreedomPop has been a data-only service with an app that enables VOIP calling and XMPP messaging. VOIP is great when there's a fast, low-latency data connection, but performs poorly when data connectivity is less than ideal.

Premium Voice, which is built into the latest version of FreedomPop's Android app, aims to solve the call quality problem by routing calls through Sprint's voice network when the app detects that the data connection's quality is too low to support VOIP calling.

To use Premium Voice current FreedomPop customers need to update to the latest version (16.02.232.0527) of the FreedomPop Messaging Android app which is available now in the Play Store. The new app has an option to enable Premium Voice in its Available Services menu.

Premium Voice costs $3.99 for 200 minutes per month. It can be added to any FreedomPop voice plan including the free plan that includes 200 total minutes of calls, 500 texts and 500 MB of data.

Update 5/29: Freedom Pop users on the $20 unlimited talk, text and data plan or the $10.99 unlimited talk, text, 500 MB plan who add the $3.99 Premium Voice add-on get 500 Premium Voice minutes per month. Free plan users who add Premium Voice get 200 Premium Voice minutes per month.

There's almost no information about Premium Voice on the FreedomPop website but there is an active discussion about it on FreedomPop' user forum. Based on user and moderator comments on the forum this first release of Premium Voice has a few significant limitations:
  • Premium Voice currently only supports outgoing calls. Incoming calls always use VOIP.
  • There is no way for users to choose whether a call should use VOIP or carrier voice.
  • Even though Premium Voice is capable of making calls using the carrier voice platform, the app itself requires a data connection and will not make calls if both WiFi and mobile data are disabled or unavailable.
  • One user reports that Premium Voice doesn't seem to switch to carrier voice unless data speed is less than 400 Kbps and found call quality poor on some VOIP calls where the app did not switch to cellular voice.
Premium Voice sounds like an early Beta at this point. Hopefully, FreedomPop will tweak the service to deliver reliably voice quality and support incoming calls. I also feel that there should be an option to allow users to manually switch to cellular voice whenever they want to.

Source: FreedomPop User Forum

Related Posts:
FreedomPop Adding Cellular Voice Option
Prepaid Operator Profile: FreedomPop

10 comments:

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  1. Still waiting for a GSM version of FreedomPop. I'd be more willing to try it a second time if I didn't have to invest in a special phone.

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  2. Sounds like some meddling of the real deal (native voice).

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  3. Ring Plus voice quality and call reliability is the worst in the industry. Wonder if this is any improvement or the same.

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    1. I had trouble with 6 phones on RingPlus, including an iPhone 4S and Kyocera Android. Gave up on them until I bought a LG Tribute and wanted a cheap Spark test line. I have to admit that the Tribute is working fine. It connects every time and I don't get an echo or cutout on calls. So maybe they have improved their servers and digital links.

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    2. How did ou get the LG Tribute to work on Freedompop? I tried a brand new one but couldnt get it to activate due to the 12 month hold on MEID sprint imposes to keep their phones from MVNO's. Did you have it already for 12 mos?

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    3. "I had trouble with 6 phones on RingPlus, including an iPhone 4S and Kyocera Android. Gave up on them until I bought a LG Tribute and wanted a cheap Spark test line. I have to admit that the Tribute is working fine. It connects every time and I don't get an echo or cutout on calls. So maybe they have improved their servers and digital links."

      Or maybe the problem does not exist on a newer-phone using Spark-level code? If so, that is extremely interesting and I might use RingPlus after all. I realize that we are talking about voice, not data, but it is possible that when connected using the latest Sprint code/routing level that accompanies a Spark-capable handset, voice connections get higher priority also?

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    4. I think all RingPlus phones get the same Sprint priority. All calls get routed off the Sprint voice network over digital links through the RingPlus servers, then back to the Sprint voice network. I think the Tribute's faster processor might be a factor.

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  4. Jason in PortlandMay 29, 2015 at 10:38 AM

    Gave FreedomPop a serious try thanks to a good deal found through this site (certified-pre-owned ZTE Force for $25, free shipping, one-month free trial of their $19.99 unlimited talk/text/data, first 1GB unthrottled), which mitigated concerns about needing to buy another phone to try the service. My initial impressions of the order process are in a comment on the FreedomPop carrier review page.

    Although I loved the phone and the pricing is better than the other Sprint MVNO I have full service with, there were just too many software, technical, and network signal strength issues for me to totally switch. One of the issues surrounded the length of time between when this announcement was first made and "premium voice" going live just now.

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  5. Ali on FreedomPop Forum says the URL for the free trial is:

    http://www.freedompop.com/acct_service.htm?offerSku=OFFER-PREMIUM-VOICE-02-trial

    (https://forums.freedompop.com/discussion/9887/no-premium-voice-option#latest)

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  6. Looks like Freedompop isn't getting acquired after all:

    http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/mvno-freedompop-rejects-ma-offers-gets-30m-funding-and-plans-second-us-carr/2015-06-16

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