FreedomPop Launches 'LTE Alternative' Carrier-Independent WiFi Service, $5 Per Month

FreedomPop really, really wants to punch the mobile wireless industry in the neck. (Or turn it on its head, whichever seems less violent to you.) The company has offered startling wireless solutions for a while now, starting out with a plan that gave users 500 MB of data, 500 text messages and 200 voice minutes for free. Other low-cost and value-added offerings followed, including free 4G LTE data on tablets, and it has also begun making its own inexpensive tablets and smartphones instead of just buying out (almost all of) Sprint's refurb inventory. In November, FreedomPop also made it possible to call some 52 countries for free for 100 minutes per month.

The company's latest shot across the rest of the mobile industry's bow is a WiFi network that FreedomPop bills as an "LTE alternative," in that mobile users on any carrier can use a WiFi hotspot (one of 10 million in the U.S. alone) to call, text or use data.

It's unlimited, carrier-agnostic, and costs $5 per month. And the best part is that you can either ditch your current carrier and roll with FreedomPop or keep your current plan and use this offering as a way to keep your monthly data and text fees down.

Your device will automatically connect to a hotspot, and the handoff to another hotspot is designed to be seamless.

FreedomPop COO Steven Sesar described the unlimited WiFi plan as web-centric and software-focused, and he told us that there's no need to root your phone or anything of the sort. FreedomPop's service runs on top of whatever phone you have, and you manage it with the free FreedomPop WiFi app.

Of course, you can maintain a stable of trusted WiFi hotspots, but the app will find more for you anywhere you go, enabling you to stay connected wherever you are (or at least, whenever you're around a WiFi hotspot).

There's an intelligent WiFi Radio Manager feature in the app as well, which is designed to preserve your device's battery life by toggling the WiFi radio on or off when needed.

"As wireless carriers like Verizon and AT&T commit billions to build LTE networks, companies like Google and Comcast are investing in WiFi-based networks to deliver mobile data access to consumers at a lower cost," said Sesar in a press release.

He also told us earlier this month that the grand plan is to expand internationally, beginning with a rollout in Europe sometime in the first half of 2015, followed by Asia.

Seth Colaner is the News Director at Tom's Hardware. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @SethColaner. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • big_tiger
    Can I get a SIM card?
  • odiervr
    Tried this. My experience: Free, great data, HORRENDOUS voice. Voice is unusable and even worse - unreliable. Sometimes your call just does not go through / you just don't get the incomming call. Works on the Sprint network. You can get a Samsung Galaxy 3 (Sprint) for under $100 on ebay. If you need a phone for data and unreliable voice for free - this is your service. !!
  • tunaphish6
    I've tried FreedomPop in the past, and people were ranting and raving just as much as they are now, and it couldn't have been more of a scam.

    I got a wireless Hotspot through an online promotion, and not only did the wireless Hotspot fail to work since day one, but to change or cancel your subscription plan, you actually have to call in and talk to a representative, which for me, included sitting for over 4 hours on hold. For what was supposed to be a $40 hotspot and free wireless broadband, I ended up sinking another $30-something dollars under false-pretenses.

    ie. Be wary of this company and read the fine-print.
  • Hydrotricithline
    Sucks from the comments I'm reading.. if they tightened their belt and made the service some non-aol legit service (were cancelling wasn't a 2 hour high pressure ordeal) especially with modern times; the reputation (good or bad) spreads like wildfire. So these guys sound to be shooting themselves in the foot. Sad because it looks like an excellent idea; atleast as a suppliment to current carrier contracts; can't say I'd be ditching my current plan for something like this without some good history; and with high pressure (pain to cancel) I'll probably be avoiding it all together until they get their ducks in a line.