“Free unlimited calling” is a phrase that’s fraught with caveats. Unscrupulous services on iOS and Android promise it, only to prompt for payment after the briefest of trial periods. Others require the caller and recipient to use the same app — an obvious inconvenience. So what, exactly, is a person on foreign shores to do when the need use his or her telephone arises? FreedomPop thinks it might have the answer.
Today, the wireless carrier is introducing two new options for globetrotting users of its Free Talk and Text app. The first, which features a free base tier of 100 minutes and paid country-specific and unlimited plans starting at $5 per month, offers international calling to about 30 countries – Mexico, the U.K., China, and India, to name a few. (The program will expand to around 100 markets in the near future.) The second program ingeniously allows subscribers to skirt around pricey rates by using local digits. For $9, a customer who lives in New York, for example, can save co-workers in India from paying international fees by providing a Mumbai forwarding number.
CEO Stephen Stokols told Digital Trends that both services are unique and anyone with FreedomPop’s app can use them. “They’re not tied to our phones,” he said. “We’re not limiting [the plans].”
Both rely on VoIP (and an Internet connection) to function, which Stokols said was unavoidable. But he maintained that FreedomPop’s method of provisioning international numbers was superior to competing services. Other companies use a “hacked version,” Stokols said. They set up an “alias,” not a “country-specific” number. “They’re not scalable, and […] our solution is significantly cheaper,” he said.
FreedomPop’s services extend beyond international calling. The carrier offers a plan that includes 500MB of data, 200 minutes of voice calls, and 500 texts at no charge. Subsequent, paid subscription tiers offer more; the company’s Unlimited Everything plan includes unlimited texts, calls, and 1GB of data at 4G LTE speeds (3G speeds thereafter) for $20 a month.