Most cellular companies try to charge you for everything, but FreedomPop’s coverage expansion may be about to make the rest look greedy. The startup has already been offering SIM cards for free service on allegedly any phone after raising $30 million from investors such as Partech Ventures.
The bigger providers like AT&T and Verizon usually charge more for service, and it’s usually because the service is more consistent. Others like T-Mobile offer lower prices and more flexible options to save you money, but their signal might not work in some areas. It’s generally a choice between always having a signal or paying less for it, and thanks to deals with Apple products, people generally use the higher-end choice. Low-cost mobile signals probably won’t work with your iPhone or high-end Android.
FreedomPop appears to be on the verge of changing that. Their coverage expansion plans could open up the internet to everybody for only the price of starting it up, says TechCrunch. About $50 will get you the mobile hotspot with 200 megabytes of data, and you’ll allegedly never spend a dollar more unless you need more data. They will charge $10 a month for every additional 500 megabytes you need, according to VentureBeat, which in the end sounds a lot like Verizon’s hotspot data plan. The initial investment already made it possible for users to buy the ten dollar SIM card to make basic cell phone usage free. This second investment appears to be allowing FreedomPop to expand beyond basic coverage.
The second question is who the main investor is for this new cellular service. Tech Crunch says that FreedomPop is keeping the name of the investor a secret while they look for providers to cover the hotspot data plan. They have hinted that the investor behind it is a large company, though.
The basic phone plan sounds ideal for those who don’t talk or text much, and the hotspot plan could be good for those who only visit Facebook or social media sites on occasion and never watch videos. Even with the FreedomPop coverage expansion plans, it would not be recommended to watch Netflix or YouTube in high definition with it. You will crank up your bill quickly just trying.
For those who only plan on sharing photos with their friends, or using the occasional shopping application, the hotspot could be a good deal. If you know you’ll need more data, you can buy bulk data at a discount, such as $50 for 4GB, according to Engadget.
If you live in Europe or close to it, you might eventually find roaming charges are a thing of the past as FreedomPop takes off. By 2017, it is rumored that Europe is planning to eliminate the added cost of cellular communication across regions entirely.
Congrats @marktluszcz! – FreedomPop Raises Another $50M, Launches “Free” Global Data Hotspot And SIM https://t.co/hGSBnHWWvc
— Víctor Font (@victor_font) January 20, 2016
Add to this the fact that you’ll be able to use FreedomPop’s hotspot coverage expansion to make phone calls even if you don’t buy the mobile phone service. You will only need to buy a virtual phone number, much like Skype credit allows you to do when you make a call through the application.
FreedomPop looks to be only beginning their attempt to conquer the mobile market, but many budget-conscious consumers might be skeptical about their “free” mobile hotspot service. Until it shows it can at least compete with Verizon’s data plans, it might not be very popular among the frugal.
Offering only 200 megabytes free data isn’t much in an era when many of us probably use that up in a week of average internet usage. Plus, with 4K and 8K streaming possibly on the horizon, and PlayStation 4 and Xbox One internet demands, it will definitely not be for consumers looking for an inexpensive option on the maximum usage.
Are you excited about FreedomPop’s coverage expansion plans, or are you skeptical about what it might cost for what you really need?
[Image via FreedomPop]