Light Reading

FreedomPop Might Offer Cheap 4G for iPod

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
6/1/2012
50%
50%
Repost This

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
joset01
50%
50%
joset01,
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.

Flash Poll
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (6) comments


Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
LRTV Custom TV
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at Mobile World Congress

4|1|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks to Heavy Reading about the value of virtualization spanning from the data center to service provider networks to mobile devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Analysts' Impressions of Huawei SoftCOM at ONS 2014

4|1|14   |   1:11   |   (0) comments


After visiting the Huawei booth at ONS, Lee Doyle of Doyle Research gives his appraisal of Huawei's SoftCOM solution.
Hot Topics
BlackBerry Invests in Healthcare IT Startup
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/15/2014
Cisco, Juniper Treating Gear Against Potential Heartbleed
Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, 4/11/2014
Cisco & VMware Are Apple & Google of SDN
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/14/2014
Volvo: AT&T HSPA+ Can Drive My Car
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/16/2014
T-Mobile Petitions Operators to Kill Overages
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/14/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed