Light Reading

FreedomPop Sends a Free Gigabyte to the Home

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

The CEO of FreedomPop is eyeing Americans who don't use huge amounts of data as the target for a new wireless home broadband service.

FreedomPop is starting pre-orders for its new home broadband modem and Internet service Wednesday. The company will sell users an US$89 WiMax and Wi-Fi home router with a free gigabyte of data available per month and each further gigabyte priced at less than $10, according to CEO Stephen Stokols.

"We're going to go aggressively and earnestly after the home market," the ex-BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) man tells Light Reading Mobile.

It's another gadfly move from the company that developed a "free" wireless plan for the iPod Touch. With its home service, the company isn't going after the data "whales" -- as Stokols describes himself -- but is instead targeting the minnows. The median household in the U.S., Stokols points out, uses just over 5MB for data at home a month.

Stokols isn't saying exactly how much the extra gigabytes will cost customers yet but makes it clear he wants to get pricing as low as possible: "$9.99 or under."

FreedomPop also sweetens the deal by allowing customers the opportunity to earn more through promotions and by recruiting friends to the service.

Using the Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) WiMax network, the service will cover the top 80 U.S. metro areas, except Phoenix and San Diego -- "about 80 million Americans," Stokols says.

The home broadband service is expected to be up and running by the end of January.

FreedomPop, meanwhile, is making progress toward using Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in 2013. "We’re going to be ready as far as technical onboarding in Q1," Stokols says.

But the lack of available LTE devices for its services could push that into the second quarter, he says.

For more

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 4:00:11 AM
re: FreedomPop Sends a Free Gigabyte to the Home

Stokols is certainly bold by coming right out and identifying TW Cable, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast as ISPs that are "pillaging consumers."  If FreedomPop has any success it could push them to promote those lower-end, smaller margin starter tiers...but free's tough to compete with, at least when it comes to relatively light users. JB

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