MVNO Free Europe: FreedomPop Adds $50M, Thinks Global

FreedomPop has scored another $50 million in funding as it tries to expand further with a new free global roaming hotspot offering for US and UK users.

The startup indie operator, which runs its 4G service via the Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) network in the US, has now pulled in more than $109 million in funding since its inception in 2011. FreedomPop closed a $30 million round last June. The company's backers include Mangrove Capital, DCM, Partech, Intel Capital, Axiata and Skype Founder Niklas Zennstom's Atomico. (See FreedomPop Grabs $30M More in Funding.)

FreedomPop is now launching a $50 "global hotspot and SIM" that it says can be used with any smartphone to aggregate cellular data in the US and across a good part of Europe and provide the user with 200MB of free data downloads per month. An additional 500MB of "global data" can be purchased for $10.

The "Global SIM" in the hotspot enables the FreedomPop user to aggregate connections from multiple carriers. The company will also be able to add additional carrier connections over the air when it wants to update the hotspot. "These are not roaming rates we're getting, they're local rates," Stephen Stokols, CEO of FreedomPop, tells Light Reading.

The service is starting in 25 countries initially. FreedomPop wants to expand coverage to over 40 countries by the end of 2016, including parts of Asia and Latin America.

Stokols doesn't want to go into all the carriers involved yet because they're still working on deals. The MVNO is working with EE , Telefónica , and many more, though, the CEO says.

"In some of these cases, we're going to have multiple carriers in a single country," Stokols explains.

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Los Angeles-based FreedomPop has been focused on expanding its footprint beyond its initial US service in recent months. The MVNO has launched in the UK, Belgium, and is looking to expand further. (See Eurobites: FreedomPop Heads to Europe.)

The MVNO is also expecting to add to the networks it runs on in the US this year too, as well. "Sprint's going to be our primary partner for the foreseeable future," Stokols adds.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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