FreedomPop, a telecommunications company that was founded last year, has launched a wireless Internet service that delivers 4G to the masses — for free. FreedomPop claims to guarantee a minimum of 500MG of 4G data access per month, and the service treats data like a commodity, allowing users who share the network to borrow and lend bandwidth from other users. Users can also earn more data access by adding friends to the network or taking part in “partner promotions” — which roughly translates to watching ads in exchange for more data.
Stephen Stokols, CEO of FreedomPop, said that the service allows users to “get connected on their own terms,” free of contracts and expensive bundling packages. The service is available anywhere in nationwide telecom company Clearwire’s 4G wireless network areas.
"Disruptive market entrants like FreedomPop drive growth, introduce new ideas and help expand consumers' access to 4G products and services," said Dan Stroberg, a senior vice president at Clearwire. He added that Clearwire is poised to enable growth of companies like FreedomPop by offering resources and coverage areas that would otherwise pose a huge cost of entry into the telecommunications market.
FreedomPop doesn’t come completely free, however. The service requires either a Photon wireless hotspot (costing a $89 deposit) or a Bolt USB modem (costing a $49 deposit). FreedomPop also offers paid plans for users who want more data. Those plans run $10 per month for 1GB of data and $35 per month for 5GB, which are still 20 to 40 percent below the rates of other carriers.
Eventually, the company plans to roll out free iPod and iPhone cases called Freedom Sleeves, which will pick up its wireless signal. FreedomPop COO Stephen Sesar says those are still a month or two away.