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Summary:

Mobile data MVNO FreedomPop is exploring the notion of a broadband piggy bank, which stores your unused data every month. It’s a concept ideal for the casual user of mobile broadband.

If you’ve ever been an AT&T Mobility customer you’re probably familiar with the concept of rollover: you can take a portion of unused voice minutes one month and add it to next month’s talk bucket. Mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) FreedomPop this week jumped on the rollover bandwagon, but instead of applying it to voice, it’s doing it with data.

For a $3.49 a month, you can store up to 500 MB of unused data in a kind of rainy-day fund, which grow to a maximum size of 20 GB. The feature is available to all of its USB dongle and mobile hotspot customers, whether they pay for subscription tiers or indulge in FreedomPop’s free 500 MB plan (though if you enroll in the rollover plan, the service is obviously no longer free). Using FreedomPop’s social networking features, customers can also give portions of that banked bandwidth away.

FreedomPop notified its existing customers of the service on Wednesday, and in 24 hours 30 percent of its free customers had enrolled in the service, a FreedomPop spokesperson said.

Why the interest? Well, if you think about it, there’s not too much too you can do with 500 MB a month if you’re regularly using a mobile broadband service. But there are many people who only need mobile broadband on occasion. I count myself as one of them – I really only need a mobile hotspot service when traveling.

While I’m completely unwilling to pay $30 a month for a hotspot I use only every few months. I would be willing to pay a few bucks a month for a hotspot that I would allow me to consume hefty amounts of gigabytes at specific times without incurring massive overage fees. It’s a concept that FreedomPop competitor Karma is also latching onto, selling a gigabyte of data that never expires for $14.

The subscription model only works if you’re a regular user of a service. In the case of mobile broadband there is a huge potential for casual users who don’t want to be locked into pricey monthly plans. It’s good to see that companies like Karma and FreedomPop are starting to tailor their pricing to target just such users.

  1. Matt Thompson Thursday, March 14, 2013

    Great idea, AT&T should pay attenton

  2. ******ATTENTION****** PLEASE READ. To whomever is considering buying this product, beware! This is a scam!

    I am a young single mother living on a budget. In this day in time having internet is a must so I came across Freedom Pop and thought that they might be an affordable alternative to getting internet in my home. I order the Casual 2GB package @ $17.00 a month. Upon arrival I was very excited to use my device, hooked it up, watched a movie the device worked perfect then went to bed. The next day I went onto the website to see how much data I had used and to my surprise I had used the entire data plan! I thought that was a little strange but I went ahead and upgraded to biggest plan they offer 10GB. The next time the device was used my nephew came over and played his playstation online. The next day I started getting email after email “Freedom Pop has added $10 to your account” over and over again. I thought that was strange since I had already upgraded to the biggest package. When I looked at my bank statement Freedom Pop had charged me $131.59 in overage fee’s over a 6 day period, $70 in one day! And continued charging my account until I had insufficient funds. So let me reiterate people… I paid $100 for the actual device, $60 for the biggest plan, and now on top of that $130… FOR USING THE DEVICE 2 TIMES! I called the company and asked what the reasoning was for all these charges. They said that much data had been used because I “had a good connection”. The best they could do was refund me $40. Needless to say I will never recommend this product to anyone. You’ve been warned!

    1. Hey Jessica. I don’t work for freedompop or anything, but as a programmer and engineer student, you should know that streaming/downloading a movie, songs, torrents, and certain online gaming does actually hog up that much data. Honestly…from what I’m hearing about your bills, freedompop doesn’t sound THAT bad, as the AT&T version would definitely spike you up to $200 or more. This is why I’m personally against online streaming, cloud networks and all (and prefer physical copies of things). I’m a freedompop user myself, and freedompop (as well as other mobile networks) are not capable of such high demands (hence the cost); they are meant for light gaming, checking email, a few rare youtube videos and such. I believe freedompop is building on something designed for home network with cheaper plans. Although I agree that Freedompop has lame policies (and their reps are nice, but can’t help you much), they charge a fair price for what they offer. For the amount of data you use, i honestly would recommend Verizon or a cable internet company with no data limit (make sure to ask for company discounts, student discounts, etc).

    2. As a new Burst Hub home Freedompop user, I noticed that their website’s usage logs lags by about at least 2 hrs, sometimes up to 24 hrs. It would be like driving with a speedometer that lags by a few hours. The concept of USAGE based internet is still new, and most people don’t realize how much streaming videos take up. Also downloading games takes up lots of data too. But actual playing of games uses only about 20 MB/hr (I’ve verified this recently).

  3. Freedompop isn’t really for playing games online and watching movies. Its for casual browsing and email

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