Free wireless Internet provider FreedomPop has announced that its “100 percent free” mobile service will hit the U.S. this summer. Upon signing up, customers are promised 500MB of free, mobile 4G (WiMAX) data a month, unlimited texting, 200 free anytime voice minutes and unlimited calls to other FreedomPop users.
Customers will get to choose from “several popular Android devices later this summer,” but FreedomPop has yet to reveal which. Regardless, the company boasts that these phones will break new ground as the first “all-data devices running 100 percent VoIP over cellular networks,” according to the release.
Engadget reports that the service will piggyback on Sprint’s WiMAX network, which covers 68 U.S. cities. However, FreedomPop also told the website that LTE will not be available at launch, though the company may eventually introduce it. For now 4G means Mobile WiMax via Clearwire, Sprint’s older network. This all sounds fine, if not for two more major caveats.
Users will reportedly eat $9.99 for going over 200 minutes in a month and between $10 and $20 per gigabtye for going over the 500MB monthly limit in overage fees. In other words, FreedomPop is designed for light talkers and data users rather than early adopters. Check out the FreedomPop website for a breakdown of available plans.
FreedomPop will compete with another value-oriented wireless provider in Republic Wireless. That company charges $19 per month for unlimited data, talk and text. Republic Wireless assumes you’ll use Wi-Fi most of the time, but it also rides on Sprint’s 3G network for cellular coverage.