FreedomPop is offering something you won’t get from any other mobile network: free service. No, really - a FreedomPop SIM will get you 200 minutes, 200 texts, and 200MB of data to enjoy free of charge every month.
It began in the USA in 2011, and in 2015 it started expanding out worldwide. The folks at 'Pop HQ believe that mobile connectivity should be a universal right, and think it ought to be available to everyone for free - so they set about making that a reality.
Using FreedomPop requires downloading the app to let you make calls and send texts on its network. You'll find it available for iOS and Android, but not other kinds of mobile like Windows Phones, Blackberries, or feature phones. Going through an extra app is a bit of a faff, but it does mean you can use your phone number from any device - including tablets. It also means you can make calls by connecting to Wi-Fi when you don't have signal, though you can also get the Premium Voice add-on to make calls through the normal cellular network when signal is low.
What can I get from FreedomPop?
The Basic 200 SIM-only service - 200 minutes, 200 texts, 200MB data - is free. Plus, you can make unlimited calls and texts to other FreedomPop phones without eating into that allowance. There's a small cost for the postage and activation of your SIM, but that's not a lot to ask for considering you don't have to pay for much else.
If you need a higher allowance than that, there are premium tariffs too, which we're afraid will actually cost some money. Or, if your allowance just needs a bit of a boost for the month, FreedomPop lets you earn some by taking surveys, downloading coupons, getting free trials of services, and so on. Most may involve giving over some of your personal info - such as your email address - so pick and choose these carefully.
And there's a few more extras thrown into the pot. You can roll over up to 500MB of your unused data to the next month (though it costs a small fee to do so), sign up for usage alerts, and gift your data to family and friends who are also on FreedomPop.
The network is just SIM-only for now, but subsidised handsets could be on the way soon.
FreedomPop piggybacks on Three's network, so coverage is very good - but all its services operate through mobile data, so you'll need sufficient speeds to use it. Still, Three has 97% 3G coverage, which isn't bad at all, and there's 4G too.
What's good about FreedomPop?
- Actual, real life, free tariffs
- The costs that you do pay aren't bad
- Chance to earn more data allowance through third party marketing
- No need for a credit check
- Unlimited calls and texts to other FreedomPop numbers
- Can roll over your data to the next month, or share it with FreedomPop-using family and friends
- Can call and text from Wi-Fi when you don't have signal
- Lets you make calls and send texts from your tablet
What's bad about FreedomPop?
- Free service is restrictive - it's only really suitable for very light users
- Earning more data takes up time and may involve giving away some of your personal info
- No handsets available just yet - you'll need to buy or own a phone
- Requires the FreedomPop app, which isn't available for all mobiles, and is the only way to make calls or send texts unless you pay extra
- Coverage not as good as it could be since it requires data - though 97% 3G coverage is pretty good
- Can't keep your old phone number when you switch