FreedomPop is now requiring the Sprint network phones they sell to be used on FreedomPop for six months before they can be used on another Sprint MVNO. Sprint MVNO phones can only be moved from one MVNO to another after they have been released by the operator they were last used on.
I suspect FreedomPop made this change because Sprint is now blocking Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Sprint Prepid phones from being activated on MVNOs until they have been used for 12 months on the brand they were sold for. Boost, Virgin and Sprint prepaid phones are sold at heavily subsidized prices and until Sprint started blocking them were popular with users activating phones on FreedomPop competitor RingPlus and other Sprint MVNOs. With that source of cheap Sprint MVNO phones gone, FreedomPop's inexpensive "certified preowned" Sprint phones would make an attractive alternative for use on FreedomPop competitors. I suspect FreedomPop adopted the six month rule to avoid becoming RingPlus' handset supplier and to prevent the FreedomPop customer support team from being swamped with phone release requests.
The new rule, which appeared on FreedomPop's support pages Wednesday, states that in addition to the six month usage requirement phones will not be released if the phone has been reported lost or stolen or associated with a fraudulent account or included in a chargeback dispute.
Boost, Virgin, Sprint Prepaid and now FreedomPop blocking their phones from immediately being used on other operators puts pressure other Sprint MVNOs to step up their handset sales game. That's especially true for RingPlus whose current device selection is rather old and a bit overpriced .
Just to be clear, FreedomPop releasing a Sprint network phone for use on other MVNOs is not the same as SIM unlocking. All Sprint network phones, including the ones sold by MVNOs like FreedomPop, are locked to the Sprint network. Releasing a phone, does not allow it to be used on non-Sprint based operators like Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile. That requires SIM unlocking. FreedomPop is not SIM unlocking phones after six months. Only Sprint and some pricey third party unlocking services can SIM unlock Sprint phones.
Source: FreedomPop via HowardForums