Mobile phone users who are tired of paying for large amounts of data, text, and minutes they do not typically use will finally have an inexpensive mobile option in the summer of 2015. FreedomPop will be offering a freemium mobile phone service throughout the European Union and the United Kingdom, bringing its popular US service across the Atlantic. This new mobile provider option will target those mobile phone users who are utilitarian with their phone usage, and those who seek an extra phone line for emergencies without paying high rates.
How FreedomPop Works
A new subscriber to the service starts with 200 mobile minutes, 200 text messages, and 200 MB of available data use, absolutely free. This certainly is not a lot to start with for those who are on their mobile phones frequently throughout the day. However, it could be a good option for teenagers who need to check in with their parents, or job seekers who need to receive calls to come in for an interview.
In addition, the free service offers unlimited calls and texts between users, giving it additional flexibility while tapping into word of mouth marketing to spread its popularity. The option to call and text friends and family for free can satisfy many mobile users, releasing them from costly mobile service contracts with steep fees. The service also offers a free mobile app that provides free messaging service between users on any type of mobile device.
International calling is also available at no charge to over 60 countries, providing flexibility to those who want to remain in contact with friends they have made online. For travellers seeking to avoid costly roaming fees, they can pick up the JetSetter SIM card from FreedomPop, and gain access to 100 MB of free data.
How Does it make Money?
The features offered are attractive, but the company has to make its money somehow. They accomplish this by employing a freemium model of service, charging for more minutes, text, and data, offering better mobile handsets, and improved speeds. The operator intends to keep its mobile rates far below any of their competitors, making them a great match for the budget conscious who track every penny.
While FreedomPop believes that everyone has the right to free access to a mobile phone, they plan to charge for additional services. Currently they have at least a dozen add-on services available, with plans to extend that to twenty or more services. This a la carte approach is good for those who prefer to pick and choose what mobile services they need, to avoid paying for services they never use.
The company will extend its mobile service via Three’s existing mobile network, with 4G capabilities. It will work on any Android or iOS mobile device, including tablets, giving its service unexpected flexibility given its low-cost nature. This ease of use may make it easy for users to use more data, text, or minutes than first anticipated. Keep an eye out for any possible excess usage fees, as it is unclear if the UK service will allow overages or simply cut off once it is exhausted.
Who is FreedomPop For?
While FreedomPop is eager to start its nationwide mobile coverage across the UK, it is not the right choice for everyone. Daily mobile users will quickly work through the free allowance, and would have to rely on purchasing upgrades regularly. In the US, however, only 51% of FreedomPop users solely use the free mobile service, with the remaining 49% purchasing additional services. This could suggest that those who are unhappy with their current mobile carrier are willing to pay for a menu of mobile services, rather than be charged a single lump sum.
For people who do not use their mobiles frequently, the free service is a natural choice. With the secondary line, users enjoy independence from the major mobile carriers, while retaining their services for more frequently used mobile phones and tablets. And those struggling to keep up with increasing mobile fees benefit from the basic services, until they regain their financial footing.
While FreedomPop is not for everyone, it is a notable new competitor in the mobile service industry. The alluring freemium model draws in customers, and unlimited calls to other users helps promote new membership. Those requiring upgraded mobile services will find competitive rates, making FreedomPop a promising addition to the UK.