FreedomPop is a free wireless internet and mobile phone service provider based in California, selling mobile phones, tablets and broadband devices for use with their service. The company has been considered a threat to US carriers and its latest endeavor in this direction shows best just how dangerous it could prove to be to the oligarchy of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and others.
FreedomPop has added free international calling to its list of mobile services, which makes its service even more enticing. FreedomPop’s free plan brings 200 local call minutes, 500 text messages, and 500 MB of data for LTE-enabled devices. Phone calls and text messages are sent through the FreedomPop app, which operates over a WiFi or 4G LTE connection. The same goes for the new feature that adds free international calls.
By using the FreedomPop Free Voice and Text app for iOS and Android devices, those in the US can make use of 100 minutes free each month. Users can call to landlines in more than 50 countries and to mobile phones in 14 countries. FreedomPop says it hopes to expand its service to 170 countries over the coming weeks, which is really impressive. Users can make use of paid plans to add additional calling minutes and data. FreedomPop even claims that its rates are even lower than veteran VoIP providers such as Skype.
Users also have the option to tie an international phone number to their phone for $4.99 per month. So, for example, you live in New York, you can opt to tie a German phone number to your account for $4.99 a month, and German citizens will be able to call that number without any additional charges. This is a really useful service for those who have relatives, friends and business contacts abroad with whom they need to communicate quite often.
Hopefully, the world will move to all VoIP-based calling, which will remove international roaming costs. Of course, that’s not going to happen anytime soon, because providers are operating on an antiquated system for the sake of making money, but FreedomPop appears to be well ahead of the curve. Ideally, we’d only pay for a data plan, and all phone calls would happen over VoIP, where any data used simply gets taken out of our monthly data bundle.
Steven Sesar, FreedomPop’s COO, said the following:
“FreedomPop’s mission has always been about ensuring that everyone has access to affordable and essential communication services. Free international calling is the next step in giving consumers true freedom to connect with friends, family and colleagues across the world. We know there is high demand for international calling, especially around the holidays, and what better holiday gift than to provide a free international calling service to any smartphone user.”
Of course, we all hope that such services as FreedomPop will flourish and grow and that more will appear. This would allow users to pay just for data which would enable a VoIP-based calling, without any international roaming costs. But this means that carriers will lose a lot of money, so it probably won’t happen anytime soon.
Actually, a report today from the USA Today publication says that Sprint is interested in acquiring FreedomPop. However, FreedomPop has declined the information and for the sake of consumers, let’s hope it stays like this.