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FreedomPop joins the ranks of carriers offering limited “unlimited” data plans

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Since it launched two years ago, FreedomPop has been moving beyond its original freemium mobile broadband concept. It moved away from iPhone(s aapl) sleeves and mobile hotspots to start selling smartphones and voice services. Now FreedomPop is adopting what has become an old standby among budget mobile carriers: The unlimited data plan that really isn’t unlimited.

FreedomPop on Thursday launched a new $20-a-month smartphone plan called Unlimited Everything for its new line of LTE phones. It comes with all-you-can eat voice and text and 1 GB of LTE data. Once that gigabyte of 4G data is used up, speeds are throttled back to 3G levels for the remainder of the billing period. It’s a format many other smartphone driven mobile virtual network operators like Straight Talk and H20 Wireless and even major carriers like T-Mobile(s tmus) have adopted.

Photo: Flickr / Wesley Fryer
Photo: Flickr / Wesley Fryer

To FreedomPop’s credit, at $20 it’s selling its limited unlimited plan at a far cheaper price than most carriers. FreedomPop is also offering a feature that other carriers aren’t offering on their buffet plans: unrestricted tethering. You can use your phone as a mobile hotspot as much as you like with the plan, but tethered devices will also have their speed throttled once you hit your 4G data cap.

FreedomPop today also announced the first batch of LTE Android(s goog) phones it’s selling directly to customers: the Samsung Victory, Galaxy S3, and the Galaxy S4. Last month it began selling the iPhone 5 and supporting older iPhone models. FreedomPop also revealed that its over-the-top communications app – which allows you to access FreedomPop’s voice and messaging network on other carriers – is now available in Google Play for Android phones.

This post was updated at 9:30 AM to correct information on FreedomPop’s tethering policies for the new Everything Unlimited plan.


10 Responses to “FreedomPop joins the ranks of carriers offering limited “unlimited” data plans”

  1. I tried and called, I have a Sprint Samsung Galaxy S4 and they said I could not use it even tough they sell it. They said maybe some time but not now.

  2. Greg Haley

    doesn’t appear that the Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE phone can be activated on the BYOP program, even though they are offering the phone for sale. anyone encountered this?

  3. frank

    i wonder what speed they define as 3G, its not uncomon for 128kbps to be a throttle point for throttle down to ‘up to 3G speeds’

    alos is the talk via VOIP or sprint circuit switched? VOIP is not reliable on sprints network in the places i have tested.

    • Kevin Fitchard

      Hi frank,

      FreedomPop said it will restrict speeds to 512 kbps after the cap. Not sure if that’s an upper limit or just best effort over the EV-DO network, but it’s pretty good and definitely qualifies as 3G. Overall it’s pretty good plan if you use a lot of data but are willing to put up with sub-broadband speeds. My issue is with carriers using terms like unlimited. This might be great plan but if anything that says unlimited but comes with an asterisk, I’m going to make fun of.

      As for the voice component it is VoIP. FreedomPop is an all IP carrier and you can even access its network through an OTT app. It does however supply phones numbers and most of its phones replace the native 2G dialer.

      • frank

        512 kbps is much faster than any one else throttle point and would keep this quite usable(even for light tethering) after hitting the cap. this is a pretty big deal if the throttle is really that high.

        i doubt it could last though, since people are sure to run 10’s if not 100’s of GB a month through the connection.

    • I’m pretty sure voice is VOIP both before and after throttling. For 20 bucks, you would actually care? I know I don’t. If you care, you should pony up for a traditional plan.
      I have been using the freedom phone since last oct. The voice quality is as you expected, horrible. But I never had issue understanding what was said. It served it’s communication purpose, and it has been entirely free for the last half a year.