FreedomPop wants to replace your cable modem with free(ish) WiMAX service

A few months ago FreedomPop started offering a free WiMAX service that lets iPod touch customers connect to the internet on the go for just the 1-time price of a $99 accessory. While the free plan only includes 500MB of data, you can pay for extra — or get your friends to sign up in order to receive more free bandwidth.

Now FreedomPop is bringing a similar model to the home internet space with the FreedomPop Hub Burst.

FreedomPop Hub Burst

Here’s how it works. FreedomPop works on Clearwire‘s 4G WiMAX network. So if you’re in an area that’s covered, you just buy an $89 Hub Burst, plug it into the wall, and it will connect to the network automatically.

The Hub Burst is also a router, so you can connect your computers or mobile devices to it using WiFi or an Ethernet cable. You can connect up to 10 devices at once.

FreedomPop offers home users 1GB of data for free. You’ll get credit for more data for every new user you refer. And if you need more space, monthly service plans start at $10 for 10GB of data.

That might not sound like a lot if you stream a lot of videos, download a lot of files from BitTorrent, or find yourself regularly burning through more than a gigabyte in a day. But for light internet users, $10 per month is an awful lot less than most companies charge for mobile broadband.

On the other hand, relying on WiMAX for service inside your house is a bit of a hit-or-miss prospect. A few years ago I tried out a CLEAR home modem for a few months, but the service was spotty at best, and no faster than the DSL we had been using up until that point. While I still use a CLEAR USB dongle for my laptop from time to time, the signal in my house wasn’t strong enough to justify using it as my primary mobile broadband service for home and work use.

The FreedomPop Hub Burst is available for pre-order for $89. It’s expected to ship starting in January.

via GigaOm

  • Bill Smith

    I have a FreedomPop wireless hub. It’s about half the size of my cell phone, its battery-powered, and I get 500Mb of free bandwidth. I live in a city with Wimax coverage, and the hub is great for when I want to use my iPad somewhere that doesn’t have a public Wifi. The hub cost a $90 “deposit”, which is refundable as long as I remember to return the hub within a year.

    The new offering described in the article makes less sense to me. It’s bigger and you have to plug it into the wall, which means you’re probably using it at home rather than lugging it around with you. At home I’m going to use a lot more than 1Gb per month, and Wimax is pretty slow compared to a cable modem or the fiber optic connection at my house.

    I suppose this could be useful for uploading some kind of sensor data to the Internet. If I had a weather station located somewhere near an A/C plug but not near my cable modem, I might use this FreedomPop device to upload the data to a Weather Underground server.

  • buzz86us

    I am deeply interested in this once it uses sprint towers in addition to clear… right now it would only work when I am traveling…

  • KM

    I also have the current mobile hub, which required a $89 refundable deposit with no time limit. I notice that the home unit also requires the deposit but it is only refundable for 1 year. My guess is that they don’t expect to deploy LTE for a year, and don’t want to replace the new WIMAX modems for free.