Over the last few weeks there’s been a bit of a shakeup in the US mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) space.

With Sprint ant T-Mobile looking to merge, regulators have suggested Sprint get rid of its pre-paid subsidiary, Boost Mobile. A company called STS is interested in buying Boost… but before doing that, the company sold off its own MVNO, FreedomPop.

Now the new owner of FreedomPop has announced its plans for the service: “Free wireless service. On any phone. On any major network.”

Full details haven’t been announced yet, but here’s what you need to know:

  • FreedomPop’s business model has always consisted of providing a small amount of free wireless data per month and then charging customers if they need more.
  • Up until now FreedomPop customers could only use certain phones, and they could only connect to AT&T and Sprint’s wireless networks.
  • Red Pocket Mobile is a low-cost carrier that currently offers 4G LTE service on all four major US wireless networks, with prices ranging from $10 per month for 500MB of data to $65 per month for 20GB of data (or $60 if you sign up for auto-refill).

Things get a little trickier when you dive into the details — that $60/$65 plan only gets you 10GB of LTE data on CDMA networks (Sprint or Verizon), for example. But the important thing to note is that while most MVNOs only operate on one or two major networks, Red Pocket has access to all major the US wireless networks.

Since the company is planning to keep FreedomPop’s freemium business model intact, that means customers will now be able to use the service even in areas where AT&T or Sprint coverage might not be strong.

That said, I’ve had mixed results with FreedomPop in the past. I bought one of the company’s wireless hotspots years ago, used it for a while… even paid for service on a CES trip one year, and then noticed that I was getting charged a small monthly fee even after I had canceled my plan. It took a fair amount of work to end my relationship with the FreedomPop billing department.

Hopefully things are better these days. But as with anything free(mium), I’d advise proceeding with caution because sometimes you get what you pay for… and sometimes you pay for what you don’t get.

via Android Authority


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7 replies on “MVNO shuffle: Red Pocket Mobile acquires FreedomPop, former owner wants to buy Boost Mobile”

  1. I have used FreedomPop for 5 years or more. 1 really free service with WiFi on my tablet and 2 LTE SIM for phones with subscriptions. With AT&T network, FreedomPop became more reliable and faster. After FreedomPop increased subscription fee, I switched to “Premier service” w/o plan. They charged me $20 deposit (?) and $50(?) fee for 6 month w/ “roll over unused data”. It is not bad as a basic cellphone service!!!
    1. My birthday is my phone number
    2. 200 mins calls and 500 texts each month
    3. 100 mins international calls

    I’m using new but old model phones from ebay and work great! Of course, FreedomPop is tricky but ok as a private and backup phone lines.
    If RedPocket service is not good, my 2nd choice should be Mint mobile and 3rd could me Metro PCS.

  2. If you use Google Voice as your primary number and ignore or don’t install install the FreedomPop terrible app except to activate, the year prepaid 5gb FreedomPop plan is a good value. I got mine at ~$11 a month with an ebay 15% off coupon. The data is fast and reliable on AT&T and you don’t have to give them a card to use it. I definitely wouldn’t be upset if they gave me an native calling and messaging instead of the cruddy FreedomPop voip service.

  3. FreedomPop prior to Red Pocket was a scam.
    It kept imposing service charges of one kind or another,
    including inactivity fees. Customer service was impossible
    to get a hold of. Best to stay away as far as possible.

    1. Never had any charges with FreedomPop when I used it very infrequently 5 years ago. No inactivity charges, no service charges.

      1. Cory, they started charging monthy service fees on the free service about a year ago.

        1. How much are they charging? Ting charges me $3 a month to not “recycle” my phone number and deactivate my SIM which I think is fair. Keeps my SIM active so I don’t have to do anything special when I need to use it. I think of it as a “phone number maintenance fee”. I used to park my mobile numbers on T-Mobile prepaid but changing it from the bare minimum to a usable plan was a big PITA.

  4. Have tried freedompop, it’s a crap service. You do pay and get nothing in return.

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