FreedomPop racks up 100K users, adds Sprint LTE to its mobile data arsenal

FreedomPop Overdrive Pro 3

Since it launched its freemium mobile broadband service last year, FreedomPop has managed to attract 100,000 customers, more than half of which don’t pay a dime for access. But on Tuesday it hopes to appeal to even broader user base – at least in some markets – by adding Sprint’s LTE network to its connection options.

The mobile virtual network operator is introducing a new mobile hotspot, the FreedomSpot 5580, that support’s Sprint’s LTE network, which is now available in 151 U.S. markets. So far, FreedomPop has depended on Sprint’s WiMAX network, originally built by Clearwire, for its 4G services. Right now Sprint’s LTE coverage is about on par with its WiMAX service, but it plans to cover 200 million people with its LTE umbrella by year-end.

FreedomPop said that more than 55 percent are signed up for a free plan, adding to their monthly 500 MB allotments through the MVNO’s unique bandwidth sharing and earning features. More than 40 percent of its users are either signed up for a paid monthly plan or are using a combination of free and paid megabytes.

The company is already overturning entrenched notions in the mobile industry, but it plans to make an even bigger impact later this summer when it launches its Freedom Phone program. The company will sell all-VoIP Android handsets, giving away a set amount of free voice each month along with free data. FreedomPop, however, missed its chance to be first to market with an all-IP mobile phone. Virtual operator rival TextNow launched its VoIP phone today.

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