Home - , , - Freedompop Now Throttling Sprint Free Plans to 1 Mbs, Charging $5/mo for Faster Data

Freedompop Now Throttling Sprint Free Plans to 1 Mbs, Charging $5/mo for Faster Data

On Monday, several FreedomPop users on the Sprint network posted on the Nthcircle online forum that their download speeds appear to have been throttled to about 1 mbps. I ran a speedtest on my own FreedomPop Sprint network phone and my speeds also topped out at 1 mbps. I used to typically get speeds of about 10 mbps with the same phone.

The slower speeds may be related to the recent launch of a new FreedomPop $5/month Speed Boost paid service. PrepaidPhoneNews reader and Twitter user @rpguy found a description of Speed Boost on the FreedomPop Help pages. According to FreedomPop;

"Speed Boost is a value added service. It is available alone or as a part of the Premier Service bundle. Speeds for free plans reach up to 3 mbps, while speeds for paid plans reach up to 5 mbps. Speed Boost can improve and increase your data plan speeds to up to 25 mbps (depending on your signal strength)."

Although FreedomPop says free plan users can expect speeds up to 3 mps without Speed Boost, my speed tests only briefly exceeded 1 mbps at the start but immediately dropped back to 1 mps and stayed there for the rest of the test. That suggests that FreedomPop has set the throttle to 1 mbps not 3. I haven't seen any reports from paid plan users yet, I wonder if they get any more than 1 mbps?

The FreedomPop help article says that Speed Boost does not apply to FreedomPop SIM users. I believe they mean GSM SIM users. An nthcircle forum user tested speeds on his GSM LTE and Global SIM account and achieved normal speeds.

It will be interesting to see how usable 1 mbps data will be. In brief testing I found web page loads somewhat slower, but still usable. I believe that the 1 mbps throttled speed should to be fast enough for on-phone web browsing, email, MMS, social media status updates, music streaming and VoIP calls. But the slower speeds will likely be very noticeable with video streaming, large downloads, online gaming and hotspot usage.

I can understand throttling free plan users under the "you get what you pay for" principle. But throttling paid plans seems counterintuitive. FreedomPop's paid plan prices are nothing special and this change makes them $5/month higher if you want the same speeds as FreedomPop's competitors. With throttling, FreedomPop is decreasing the value of their paid options, which seems like a dumb move for a freemium service. It makes it look like FreedomPop has given up on selling paid plans to free plan users.

With the throttling limited to the Sprint side, this change makes FreedomPop's GSM LTE SIMs even more attractive than ever. I routinely get 15 mbps with my FreedomPop LTE SIM on the free plan. Of course there's nothing to stop FreedomPop from throttling GSM account too, but currently GSM is the way to go.

For more about FreedomPop see our FreedomPop operator profile. To see how FreedomPop paid plans compare with other prepaid mobile broadband operators see this post.

45 comments:

Comment Page :
  1. What does this mean for voice latency, don't they solely rely on VoIP?
    Zach

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Throttling should not affect latency as long as they don't mess with ping times.

      Delete
  2. What speeds are necxessary for VOIP, like hangout?

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    Replies
    1. VoIP is not very speed dependent. As Long as latency and dropped packets are low, 512 kbps should be sufficient.

      Delete
    2. The original digital telephone system was mono, 8 bit, 8kHz PCM, which is 64kbps. Early cell phone codecs (such as full rate GSM) compress such audio into 13kbps. ITunes AAC codec transparently reproduces CD quality audio (44.1kHz 16 bit stereo ~= 1.5Mbps) at 256kbps. If VoIP requires 512kbps for a half-duplex mono audio stream, something is terribly wrong.

      Delete
    3. I have no trouble with VOIP at 128kbps. I have not tried it at 64kbps yet, but it should work. Perhaps voice quality might be reduced. This is using a low latency TMO connection. Unfortunately, Sprint latency might not be as good.

      Delete
    4. I've had my kid using Hangouts on Tello throttled at 64kbps - it was a bit laggy and sound quality wasn't great, but it was definitely usable.

      Delete
  3. I have trouble completing a call on Hangouts via the FP at&t SIM on hspa+, most of the time it completely times out, and if it does connect it's like talking next to a tornado, but on LTE it's fine. I don't know where Google gets the idea that 3g speeds are sufficient for a voice call via Hangouts, even simple sms using Hangouts gv on hspa+ are slow, takes about 30 seconds to send the msg.

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    Replies
    1. As stated above, I've used Hangouts at 64kbps throttle and it worked fine - not great quality, but it worked well enough.

      Delete
  4. FreedomPop will go the way of RingPlus. They are burning through startup capital and haven't pulled in enough paid users. I wish the FTC would investigate them for their "cramming" practices and hidden fees. People need to contact their State Attorney General about these scammers.

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    Replies
    1. I have been very happy with FreedomPop. I hope they stay in business as long as possible.

      Delete
    2. Now that the Ting credits are nearly all exhausted, I wonder if there has been an analysis of where RingPlus customers landed. My guess is that 30% terminated, 20% to FreedomPop, 20% to Tello, 10% to MintSim, 5% still with Ting, and the remaining 15% to all others. Those 20% now at FreedomPop might be starting to have an effect.

      Delete
    3. Went with MintSIM myself - 3x 2GB lines @ about $46/mo after taxes can't be beat. Set up the old Sprint phones on CellNUVO and been building up credit for extra data when needed since they'll freely turn on hotspot if you email them and ask. Granted it's an extra device to carry, but that's not really a big deal - keep it in airplane mode when not in use and the battery lasts a long time (even better, turn it off if you're really an infrequent user). Plus, with Google Voice I can effectively get the same coverage as Project Fi w/o paying nearly as much.

      Delete
    4. "...Plus, with Google Voice I can effectively get the same coverage as Project Fi w/o paying nearly as much."

      You have native access to U.S. Cellular? And postpaid style roaming on AT&T and Verizon? And international data roaming at domestic data prices? I'm impressed! Please share your methods.

      Delete
  5. I had an old Sprint device sitting around unused so I recently activated it on FP free plan. This is not great news. I had hoped to be able to use it in moderation without restriction.

    Just thinking out loud. I wonder if you exceed the free data allotment and are charged for extra data via top-up, is that "paid" data and at higher speeds?

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  6. I just cancelled my FreePop hotspot and LTE sim rollover payment. Am saving $12/month. I don't need these anymore since I am paying $3.27/month on the Sprint postpaid Unlimited Bring Your Phone plan with 10GB high speed hotspot. Hotspot is unlimited but throttled after 10GB/month.

    BTW, when you port out your FreePop (Google Voice) phone number, they don't cancel your account or plan. The next time you log into your mobile app, they offer you a new phone number at no cost. I have the AT&T LTE SIM.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which Sprint plan costs only $3.27/mo?

      Delete
    2. Sprint "Free" Unlimited Bring Your Phone plan:
      https://www.sprint.com/en/shop/offers/free-unlimited.html?ECID=vanity:1yearfree

      This plan is only good through end July. See the Sunday phone sale post for a list of phones you can bring to Sprint for this plan. $3.27/line is my total for the $1.99 admin fee and state tax. Yours may be different.

      Delete
    3. Does the Sprint unlimited bring your phone also require porting a phone number from another carrier or is that optional?

      Delete
  7. there is nothing wrong with trying free services and being disappointed with it when things go south such as with FP. People either deal with it or move on to other service. It is a normal human reaction. No need to sound all preachy.

    BTW-Im not a Freedom Pop subscriber.

    ReplyDelete
  8. getting only 1.4mb and 1.3mb on two phones with FP GSM Sim cards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Must be your location. Just tested a phone with FreedomPop LTE SIM and got 8 Mbps.

      Delete
    2. Are you sure that the phones are actually LTE capable? I have a BLU phone that's non-LTE (though it claims HSPA+ 4G) and it tops out at about 2Mbps.

      Delete
  9. Everyone will make their own decision as to whether the benefits outweigh the shortcomings.

    Once you figure out how everything works (base data, friends data, shared data, trial offers, canceling auto top up, etc.) it's pretty smooth sailing.

    I've been with them for quite some time and I can live with this latest change.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have not ever gotten near those speeds on sprint in my area without throttling so nothing changed for me

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  11. FreedomPop rating to nickel and dime you for everything just like the other provider before the bit the dust.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon, I have no problem with FreedomPop "nickeling and diming" if they were to become and honest carrier, and actually provide the service you signed up for on their web site. Instead of constantly lying and trying to trick you into signing up for a much higher priced service which isn't a bargain at all.

      Delete
  12. In 1 year It will look like this FreedomPop ()

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  13. Confirmed throttling for San Jose, CA for cdma but not GSM. We paid for premium voice but the number got so many spam calls so we canceled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you register the phone number at the Do Not Call Registry? I have four FreedomPop SIMS and I immediately registered the numbers after receiving the FreedomPop confirmation. I had a few SPAM calls on one number, but that ended after the first month.

      Delete

  14. @Dennis the Hat Tip has to go to agalvan on HoFo who provided the link to the description of Speed Boost on the FreedomPop Help pages.
    http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1898046-FreedomPop-account-renewal-snag?p=16872555#post16872555

    ReplyDelete
  15. It's more like a value subtracted service, since they removed full speed LTE just so they could charge for it.

    This isn't even close to broadband tier speeds from over a decade ago, when 5mbps was the bronze standard.

    If this isn't a red flag for the eventual shuttering of Freedompop, then I don't know what is.

    "BUT ANONYMOUS, THEY'RE ONLY THROTTLING SPRINT!"

    For now, until everyone moves over to GSM and they start throttling that too.

    We've all seen this trainwreck before, and it's name was RingPlus.

    FYI, the people who'll be crying about how FP is different will be the same band who were playing on the Ringtanic until the very end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Freedom Pop was around long before Ring Plus first offered phone service, they go back to the WiMax days. FP has always had far more customers than RP ever did, those RP refugees probably aren't even a blip. And their finances and business model is significantly different. There have been other free services, too, like Solavi.

      Freedom Pop, like any other free service, is bound to end, eventually, but the detractors that have been predicting it every time they make any changes or there is any blip in the service, have been wrong hundreds of times before, and are likely wrong this time, too. Personally, I have zero problem with this change. If they want to extend it to global and LTE SIMs that's fine with me. It's still plenty fast enough for video streaming, and it remains free. Those who don't like it are free to leave, but without other free services, that means they'll actually have to pay up, to get anything better.

      Delete
  16. "The slower speeds may be related to the recent launch of a new FreedomPop $5/month Speed Boost"

    Curious that FreedomPop would name this program after another carrier, and one such as Boost, which has nothing to do with "speed" and averages out to be one of the slowest carriers in the US due to most places having no speed at all.

    "Speed Boost" is an oxymoron, like "Customer Service Tracfone" and "Stable Ringplus".

    ReplyDelete
  17. FP is made up mostly of X-Ring Plus users. Nthcircle forum as mentioned above is made up of all the biggest whiners from R+ & those people would complain about anything that's free.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks Dennis,was wondering why my hotspot suddenly crawled...guess they'll sign up new customers automatically for speed boost service. Another thing to cancel if you want totally free. Lol, it's just matter of time until RIP fpop

    ReplyDelete
  19. My freedompop's gsm sim is not working. The site keeps saying "loading." It has been a few hours. Not good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your account probably got deactivated. You should be able to re-activate it at my.freedompop.com

      Freedompop deactivated a bunch of LTE SIM accounts for "non-use" today. It happened to me even though I used the SIM yesterday for data. I was able to reactivate the account at my.freedompop.com It took about an hour after I reactivated before data started working again.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Dennis. That is a new site for me. All this time, I have used the old one!

      Delete
  20. Most of you complaining is missing the point. Freedompop needs to make money to stay alive. They offer the carrot of a free, slow speed plan to hook you in. Now for a better service they offer more data and faster speed etc. Many cheap or poor people can benefit from this service.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Many cheap or poor people can benefit from this service."

      They CAN benefit if FreedomPop provides the advertised service and is ethical.

      Except they will get ripped off when FP advertises a free service but when you sign up they are charging you $24.99 for it, and they lie and cheat and trick to make it hard for you to get the actual service you signed up for.

      Then you check back the next day, and they tampered with your account that you set back to free so it is back to $24.99 a month again.

      Freedompop DOES need to make money to stay alive. They DON'T have to engage in fraud in order to do so.

      Delete
    2. Money is made by providing a satisfactory product that people are willing to pay for.

      However, they're not providing a "better service" so much as they are charging for the same service that was previously free.

      "Many cheap or poor people" were actually the ones taking it on the chin, and they don't benefit from a carrier steadily degrading the quality of their already trash-tier service.

      Delete
  21. If they had an simple easy free plan, even if it only gave 50MB/month, and let you use paypal to buy more data when you need it I would use them. With all the tricks they have now, it is not worth my time and I would rather pay someone else.

    ReplyDelete
  22. FreedomPop terminated my $24.99 per month "Unlimited 1GB 4G LTE" Plan on July 7, 2017.
    This plan had throttled data after the initial 1GB was used.
    The current plan plan billing cycle was/is Jun 16 to July 16, 2017.
    A $6.40 charge to PayPal appeared July 7, 2017 and since FreedomPop does not identify which account
    a charge is related to, I assumed the charge was for our one of two accounts which have a monthly cost of $6.48. But, when logging into the account that had the "Unlimited 1GB 4G LTE" plan, I found a $6.40 charge on Jul 7, 2017, for "Premium 1GB" plan was shown as Paid. I had no knowledge of any plan change for this account being requested.

    So, I logged into the E-Mail account related to this FreedomPop account.
    There I found the following in an E-Mail with subject, "Important Information Regarding Your Current Plan", dated 7/7/2017 6:25 PM: "Adjustments to our contract with our
    network provider have forced us to grandfather out your current plan at the end of your
    next billing cycle." "Your current plan has been migrated into the next
    comparable available plan." "As a showing of our appreciation we will add 2GB of Bonus Data to your account."

    When I logged into my FreedomPop account on July 7 2017, to see which plan was in effect, I found "MY VOICE AND DATA PLAN" was "Premium 1GB" at "Price: $19.99/Month". I assume that the $6.40 charge is for 10 days usage of this plan starting July 7, 2017 and ending at the end of the billing cycle which ends July 16, 2017. I already paid $24.99 for a full month's usage of the terminated plan and now I have also been charged an additional $6.40 for usage of another plan for the last 10 days of the same month.
    Why was $8.10, for 10 days usage of the old plan which can/will not be used, not refunded?


    I also pay $10.99/month for "FreedomPop Phone Premier" services which includes Data Rollover. It remains to be seen how much of the "showing of our appreciation ... 2GB of Bonus Data to your account" will be rolled over to the next billing cycle starting July 16, 2017. The user of this account will most likely have no need for this 2GB of Bonus Data before the end of the current billing cycle.

    ReplyDelete
  23. the worst company ive ever dealt with,,makes at&t and the EPA look efficient..

    ReplyDelete
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