Light Reading

FreedomPop Might Offer Cheap 4G for iPod

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

Ready to dump your mobile service provider and start paying for wireless data with no contact weighing you down?

Consider what may be in the works from FreedomPop , the firm formed by Skype Ltd. founder Niklas Zennström. The company is offering a $99 Freedom Sleeve on pre-order to enable Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone users to largely ignore their service provider and get a fast free data connection over the Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) network in many major cities around the country.

The radio sleeve slips over a user's iPhone 4 or 4S, links to the phone via Wi-Fi and connects to the Clearwire network via a WiMax radio in the casing. The catch? The iPhone user would have to be out of contract -- or break his or her agreement, incurring penalties -- to take full advantage of the service FreedomPop is offering, which is free for the first 500MB a month and costs $10 per extra GB of data.

So what's new here? FreedomPop is considering the iPod Touch for the same sort of cheap mobile data anywhere deal, with fewer complications than dealing with an iPhone.

The company's terms of use cover the iPod Touch. Soon it may be offering a WiMax hook-up for the $190 model of the video-capable MP3 player that would allow the user to surf the Web, video chat and more, for free -- or close to it -- on a unsubsidized data device that isn't linked to any other carriers.

What users get with the Sleeve
Using the Freedom Sleeve, users can move among the 71 cities in the Clear WiMax network. FreedomPop says that users can also now use FaceTime video chat wherever they go and use the sleeve as a Wi-Fi conduit for up to eight devices while the new casing boosts battery life by up to six hours.

FreedomPop claims that the WiMax connection will be "up to 15x faster than 3G" with the sleeve. This seems optimistic, however, as the Clearwire network offers data download speeds of 3 to 6 Mbit/s on average. (See What We Mean When We Say '4G'.)

Why this matters
FreedomPop stands as an interesting experiment in offering a cheap data service in the U.S. but is still linked to the apron strings of the carriers that initially subsidized the iPhone purchase. If FreedomPop can 4G-enable the iPod Touch with its radio sleeve, however, the data plan model becomes a much more radical proposition as it would allow users to truly roam free with a no-contract device.

Much like Skype, the FreedomPop model is unlikely to initially appeal to a business-focused user base. For a younger -- or cheaper -- audience, however, the service might provide an appealingly inexpensive way to get mobile and wirelessly chat with friends.

For more

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:31:23 PM
re: FreedomPop Might Offer Cheap 4G for iPod

I think this could be a pretty interesting twist from FreedomPop. If you're a kid with an older iPhone 4 -- or potentially an iPod Touch -- its a way to get online for cheap, just like BBM or Skype itself.

From The Founder
The comms industry is rallying to the cause of open, independent interoperability testing.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Tail-f, Cisco & What the Future Holds

10|9|15   |   8:17   |   (0) comments

Steve Saunders meets with Tail-f's Director of Technology, Carl Moberg, in Stockholm to discuss becoming part of Cisco, ETSI MANO, virtualization and the need to combine science and business in order to create opportunities for service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Broadband Forum Embraces SDN & NFV

10|9|15   |   02:42   |   (0) comments

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Robin Mersh and Kevin Foster from the Broadband Forum explain how the industry body is adapting to meet the SDN, NFV and cloud needs of the access network sector.
LRTV Interviews
Top Tips for FTTH Operators

10|8|15   |   02:26   |   (0) comments

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Ventura Team co-founder Richard Jones talks about some of the key business case considerations for FTTH network operators.
LRTV Interviews
M-net Calls for FTTx Unity

10|8|15   |   03:45   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe event, Jörn Schoof from M-net, the Munich city network operator, calls for industry collaboration on fiber broadband access rollouts.
LRTV Documentaries
The Business Case Challenge for NFV

10|7|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Virtual CPE is one of the early success stories for network functions virtualization, as service providers are finding flexible, programmable CPE solves a lot of logistics problems and reduces their cost. But even here, Masergy Communications faced a business case challenge, says CTO Tim Naramore.
LRTV Interviews
JT Offers Some Gigabit Lessons

10|7|15   |   4:08   |   (1) comment

Barna Kutvolgyi, managing director, Global Consumer, at JT, the incumbent operator on the island of Jersey, talks about how other service providers can learn from his company's gigabit broadband rollout experiences.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Chiosi on the Potential of Open Source

10|6|15   |   06:27   |   (0) comments

AT&T Distinguished Network Architect Margaret T. Chiosi talks to Light Reading's Carol Wilson about the potential for open source technology to liberate communications service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Network Security in a Gigabit World

10|6|15   |   05:52   |   (0) comments

Masergy's James Harrison talks about some of the network security and data center issues network operators need to consider as they expand their broadband services portfolios.
LRTV Documentaries
Telefónica: In Search of Virtual Simplicity

10|5|15   |   07:30   |   (0) comments

Francisco-Javier Ramon Salguero, head of Telefónica's NFV initiative, admits virtualization initially means greater complexity, but with the right abstraction layer, it is possible to create a services-driven network architecture. He explains how Telefónica's current trials and initiatives are aimed at doing that, and what his company and other carriers need to ...
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe Takeaways

10|5|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Participants from the inaugural Gigabit Europe event in Munich share their key takeaways from the conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Intel Urges Women to Take Advantage of Their Seat at the Table

10|5|15   |   4:27   |   (1) comment

Have inclusive and constructive conversations, attach a bigger meaning to your work and get involved in the cause, Intel's Monique Hayward advises women in comms.
LRTV Interviews
BT Updates on Plans

10|2|15   |   03:16   |   (2) comments

Peter Bell, CIO at Openreach, the access network division at UK incumbent BT, provides an update on the operator's trials and how Openreach is planning to deploy the broadband technology in its street cabinets.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Network appliances have a strong value proposition in today's networks and will continue to do so in the NFV and SDN-enabled networks of tomorrow.
Hot Topics
M&A Speculation Swirls Around Juniper
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/6/2015
Cisco's Chambers Rules Out Political Bid
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/6/2015
Cord Cutting? 'Fraid so.
Brett Sappington, 10/7/2015
Infinera Fleshes Out Its Metro 100G Story
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/7/2015
AT&T Gets Green Light for VoWiFi
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 10/7/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
"What?! I'm on with Finisar about their stock price tanking" Click Here