FreedomPop takes its name quite literally, offering a wireless plan where you won’t have to pay a thing each month for talk, text and data. The trade-off for this freedom, though, is a pretty low ceiling on just how much you can talk, text and surf from your phone.
What other trade-offs do you make when turning to FreedomPop for your wireless service? Here’s a closer look at what the carrier offers potential customers.
What network does FreedomPop use?
As a mobile virtual network operator, FreedomPop uses another carrier’s towers to provide its cellular service. In FreedomPop’s case, that’s two carriers. After relying on Sprint’s network for years, FreedomPop added AT&T in late 2016.
While Sprint has worked to improve its network, it has the slowest LTE speeds of the Big Four carriers, according to our testing, so it’s good that AT&T is now part of the mix. When you sign up with FreedomPop, you get to pick a SIM card or phone that works on either carrier’s network.
What phones can you use with FreedomPop?
FreedomPop now sells some additional phones — mostly older, cheaper models like the second-generation Moto E, the LG G4, LG Tribute 2 and Kyocera Hydro Icon. Its selection of refurbished phones is more extensive and includes some more recent flagships like the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7, both available at discounted rates.
You’ll have to pay the full price of the phone when you buy from FreedomPop, however, as there are no installment plans.
FreedomPop has added family plans to its arsenal, with families drawing from one pool of data.
You can bring your own phone to use on FreedomPop — either a Sprint locked phone (meaning that it hasn’t been used on any other network) or any unlocked GSM phone. FreedomPop charges $20 to activate your phone, and you’ll pay another $10 to move your phone number over to the carrier. (There’s a list of supported carriers for transferring your phone number, but it includes all of the major players.)
A SIM card normally costs $9.99 if you use FreedomPop’s SIM-only phone service, though the carrier runs promotions that heavily discount the card.
What are the best FreedomPop plans?
FreedomPop’s plans start with a free option, though it’s pretty limited. You get 200 minutes of talk, 500 text messages and 500MB of data. Monthly rates kick in once you opt for unlimited talk and text, with the monthly bill increasing as you add more data. Plans start at $10.99 for 500MB of data and scale up to $34.99 for a 4GB data plan. To put that in context, Cricket charges $40 a month for its 4GB plan (you can reduce that to $35 by using autopay with Cricket), while MetroPCS’ 3GB plan also costs $40.
|Basic 500||200 minutes||500 texts||500MB||Free|
There’s also an “unlimited” plan at FreedomPop — but it isn’t truly unlimited. You get 2GB of LTE data each month under this $29.99 plan. Go over that amount and your speed is merely throttled to 2G speeds. On other FreedomPop plans, you’re charged $0.01 per MB if you go over, though you can also upgrade to a bigger plan during your billing cycle.
Confusingly, FreedomPop also offers data-only plans, with no talk and text features. Here, the free option offers just 200MB of data, while the 500MB plan costs $7.99 a month. Adding to the confusion, FreedomPop’s data-only 1GB ($13.99) and 2GB ($19.99) plans cost less than their counterparts with talk and text, while the data-only 3GB and 4GB data-only plans cost more.
Buy a SIM card from FreedomPop and the carrier will give you 2GB of free 4G LTE data for a month; after that, you’re charged $32.98 each month for the SIM service. You have to log in to your FreedomPop account to select the free option (and its low data allotment) if you want to avoid that charge. (The data-only SIM service also offers 2GB of free LTE data for the first month, with the rate changing to $29.99 after that 30-day trial period, unless you adjust your account.)
FreedomPop has added family plans to its arsenal, with families drawing from one pool of data. The base plan offers 1GB of LTE data, and FreedomPop bills it as a free option, though you will have to pay $5 per line. As a nice bonus, FreedomPop currently throws in a free 500MB of data per line, which helps grow the pool of data for larger families. Other data tiers include 2GB for $14.99, 4GB for $44.99, 10GB for $82.99 and 25GB for $174.99, with unlimited talk and text. You can have up to 10 lines on a FreedomPop family plan.
What special features does FreedomPop offer?
FreedomPop supports Wi-Fi Calling, a feature that allows you to make calls and send texts over Wi-Fi. It’s handy if you’re using the carrier’s free service with its caps on texts and talk time, as you’ll be able to use Wi-Fi for a lot of your calling and texting needs.
Other special features include mobile hotspot support. FreedomPop also features rollover data, in which up to 500MB per month of unused data can carry over to the next month. (It costs you $0.01 per MB to roll over data in most plans; subscribers on the free plan pay $0.02 per MB.) Your unused data doesn’t expire, though you are capped at 20GB. You can also earn data by referring friends to FreedomPop.
What do customers say about FreedomPop?
FreedomPop has a B rating from the Better Business Bureau, receiving 3.63 out of 5 stars. Roughly two-thirds of the 236 user reviews posted there are positive, while a third are negative. The percentage is similar on TrustPilot, where FreedomPop averages a 6.7 out of 10 from 449 user reviewers.
User reviews praise the free plan FreedomPop provides and generally applaud the responsiveness of customer service. There are some complaints about call quality, and a few users have taken issue about FreedomPop’s SIM cards arriving preactivated.
FreedomPop’s plans start with a free option, though it’s pretty limited.
A review posted on The Motley Fool in 2015 painted a mixed picture for FreedomPop. The carrier’s low prices and customer service both earned kudos, but the reviewer eventually dropped FreedomPop due to dropped calls and data connections, along with issues getting an iPhone running on the service.
If your wireless needs are very limited — a few calls and texts here and some light data use there — you can save serious cash each month by turning to FreedomPop. The addition of family plans increases the service’s appeal. But there are limitations involving which devices you can use, and if Sprint’s or AT&T’s networks don’t serve your needs, you may want to turn to another carrier.
Credit: Freedom Pop