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If you’ve ever been an AT&T(s 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.