Tuesday, August 06, 2013

FreedomPop's free hotspot service hops onto Sprint's LTE network

FreedomPop, the (sort of) free mobile hotspot provider, has finally made the move to Sprint's LTE network, the company announced on Tuesday. Until now, the company has been relying on Clearwire (/ Sprint) and WiMax coverage, but Sprint's LTE is much faster -- where you can find it.

Of course, the problem was much the same with WiMax -- its coverage left a lot to be desired.

For now, FreedomPop is offering a single hotspot, the $150 FreedomSpot 5580. That is actually a Novatel Wireless device also sold as the Sprint MiFi 500 LTE and lasts up to 10 hours on a charge. FreedomPop claims its users will see average speeds of 6 to 8Mbps, with peak speeds reaching up to 25Mbps.

Of course, that is "when you can find" LTE. Sprint is building out its LTE network since deciding that WiMax isn't going to cut it as a 4G technology over the long haul, but it is far behind Verizon and AT&T in terms of coverage.

FreedomPop gives users 500MB of free data a month. Most of its users go the free route (60 percent), but it has managed to attract 100,000 customers, nevertheless.

How does FreedomPop make money? There are add-on services, such as a $1.99 plan that alerts you if you are about to go over your limit. It also has paid plans for those who want to use the device as a typical hotspot, rather than -- as many do -- an emergency hotspot for when they can't find wi-fi.

FreedomPop also said it has more LTE devices on the way, including a Freedom Phone service that should launch soon, the company said. The Freedom Phone will launch very soon —- right around the Labor Day timeframe," a rep said.

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