FreedomPop is launching a free, home wireless broadband service. It was announced last December and the FreedomPop Hub Burst wireless router is now shipping.
The 4G router sells for $89, but once you’ve cleared that hurdle, you can get 4G speeds with support for up to 10 simultaneous connections for free.
Yes, of course there is a catch. There are actually a couple.
You are limited to 1GB of free data each month. If that isn’t enough data for you, additional data plans are available starting at $10 a month. Users can also earn unlimited data by adding friends to their network via email and social media networks, and engaging in partner promotions. Users receive 50 MB more data per month per user they refer.
According to FreedomPop CEO, Stephen Stokols, the average American household uses under 5.5 GB per month and spends over $50 for Internet service. Stokols wants his company to be a part of the “sharing economy.” In the same way we share meals with friends, FreedomPop will make it possible to share unused broadband data:
“Today, users pay a big fee each month for a fixed data plan. The hidden secret in the wireless industry is that 80 percent of users consume less than the amount they are paying for each month and the rest goes to waste or AT&T’s bottom line. If I need more data this month while my friend doesn’t, I should be able to share it and vice versa.”
The other catch is that FreedomPop runs on ClearWire’s 4G network for now. If you live somewhere that ClearWire provides 4G access, you’re ready for free data. The ClearWire network isn’t widespread yet. It’s strongest in major cities on the east and west costs, and in Texas.
To see if service is available where you live, visit the FreedomPop website, and the first thing you’ll see is a tool to check your location by Zip Code.
Later this spring, FreedomPop’s free wireless broadband will be more widely available after they add service through the Sprint 4G network.