FreedomPop Phones It In (for Free)

Dan Jones
News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

For its next trick, FreedomPop is launching a free mobile phone service that runs voice over IP (VoIP) on Sprint's 4G network.

The Los Angeles startup has been readying the VoIP service for months now. The service will offer users a guaranteed 500 MB of data, 500 text messages, and 200 anytime voice minutes every month free for life. The company will also offer unlimited voice and texting for $10.99 per month with no contract. (See: FreedomPop Jumps on Sprint LTE.)

FreedomPop has been sourcing used High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) Evo handsets for the service. The company will charge $99 for the phones. Other Android phones will be available this year. (See: Next Up: FreedomPop Vox.)

"We have been accumulating handsets for months in anticipation of the launch," FreedomPop CEO and co-founder Stephen Stokols told us. "With that said, we will cap the beta at some point in order to ensure that the service is working as planned, then ramp back up again."

The VoIP aspect of the service is the crucial element if the company is to make money from the service, Stokols reveals. (See 5 Rules to Disrupt a $200B US Mobile Market.)

We will make money if users opt into unlimited talk and text for $10.99 or 500 minutes talk for $7.99. Because we are not using the mobile carrier's voice network, but instead leveraging proprietary VoIP technology to go over data, our cost structure is different than the rest of the industry.

The startup isn't hurting for venture capital cash. It raised another $5 million to help its Android push in July, bringing its VC haul so far to more than $16 million. (See: FreedomPop Grabs $5M to Support Android Push.)

Today is the first anniversary of FreedomPop offering free wireless data services. The company is a finalist in Light Reading's Leading Lights Awards. (See: 2013 Leading Lights Finalists: Most Innovative 4G Service.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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