FreedomPop starts alpha test of free mobile service in the UK

freedompop global expansion free service version 1431486309
FreedomPop turned the mobile world on its head when it introduced its freemium service. Now, the freemium wireless carrier is going global with its free talk, text, and data service. Following its partnership with Dutch carrier, KPN, the company will also expand to include the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and several countries in the Pacific Rim.

Updated on 09-15-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in news the alpha test of FreedomPop’s service has begun in the UK, plus details of the plans.

FreedomPop’s alpha test begins in the UK

FreedomPop announced it would launch its free mobile phone service in the UK this summer, and in mid-September, it began contacting those who had signed up for more details. It describes the current stage as an alpha test to collect feedback from early users, in preparation for its official launch later in the year.

Now the alpha test is open, FreedomPop has revealed its subscriber plans. The free plan, for which it’s famous in America, comes with 200 minutes, 200 SMS, and 200MB of data. There are two further plans which require a monthly payment. The Premium 1GB plan is £9 ($13) per month (but is available as a free, one-month trial for alpha testers) comes with 1000 messages and SMS, 1GB of data, and free voicemail. The Premium 2GB is £12 ($18) per month and has unlimited calls, SMS, and 2GB of data.

It’s not clear whether this is a 4G LTE service during the alpha test. FreedomPop doesn’t charge a penalty for going over the data allowance, and instead charges 1p per MB excess. Additionally, for £2 ($3) per month up to 500MB of unused data is rolled over and 20GB in total can be stored, or even shared with friends also connected to FreedomPop.

If you sign up for the alpha test, there’s a £2 ($3) fee for shipping, and the option to pay another £2 ($3) for what it calls Premium Voice, which sounds like HD Voice — a service which is usually free. Interestingly, alpha testers also get to choose their telephone number from a small selection.

Jetsetter, and UK network agreements

There’s no information on the Jetsetter SIM card for travelers yet, which is said to provide 100MB of data for free, that can be used in France and Spain (along with the UK). Fifteen more countries in Europe are expected to be added to the list within the next 12 months.

According to The Telegraph, FreedomPop has teamed up with the Three network in the UK, but is in talks to add a second network in the near future. Also, the option to buy phones and tablets through FreedomPop should also come to the UK by the end of the year.

No final launch date has been given for FreedomPop’s service. Those interested in being one of the first to try out the network can sign-up on the company’s website here.

CEO says more international markets will follow

Digital Trends spoke to FreedomPop’s Co-Founder and COO Steven Sesar in July 2014, and he told us FreedomPop used the Netherlands as a test case to see how well its service works outside the United States. Once it worked out the kinks, FreedomPop aims to bring free and low-cost mobile phone service to everyone around the world.

FreedomPop’s free service is an incredible deal for those who don’t use their smartphones too much.

“Our success triggered interest among international carriers,” Sesar told us, adding that FreedomPop’s service is very competitive and can absolutely work in a “global context.”

“That’s why we’re taking our free service across the globe,” Sesar said. “We want to disrupt current pricing. We’ve already proved that the freemium model can work for everyone.”

FreedomPop aims to expand into eight new markets in the next few years. It won’t sell smartphones in all other countries, but it will still offer the same great freemium plans that it has in the United States. Americans who use the service will also be able to take advantage of the network in FreedomPop’s new markets whenever they travel.

Targeting a million U.S. subscribers, and five more European countries

FreedomPop’s free service is an incredible deal for those who don’t use their smartphones too much, but simply want to text, check email, and make a phone call here and there. Users in America get 200 minutes of voice calls, 500 texts, and 500MB of data each month for free.

Of course, these limits won’t work for the average mobile user, but even so, FreedomPop’s pricing is hard to beat. Once you’ve exceeded your limit, you just have to subscribe to one of FreedomPop’s low-cost plans. The company’s Unlimited Everything plan offers unlimited texts, calls, and data for just $20 a month. However, after you’ve used 1GB of high-speed 4G LTE in a month, your data will scale back to 3G speeds. Even so, FreedomPop will cost you a whole lot less than most carriers, including T-Mobile, which prides itself on its low pricing and fair deals.

The network has attracted 600,000 subscribers, which it wants to increase to a million before the end of the year. It wants to achieve a similar figure in the UK within the next year to 18 months.

It will be interesting to see just how far FreedomPop goes with its global expansion plans, which apparently stalled at the end of 2014, when talks of a $450 million Sprint acquisition began. With everything back in motion, FreedomPop is targeting a launch in five other European countries soon.

Article originally published on 07-10-2014

Mobile

OpenSignal names T-Mobile the best mobile network in almost all categories

According to the latest OpenSignal report, T-Mobile takes first place for fastest 4G download speed. In comparison to its competitors, the carrier also snagged the top spots in almost all other categories.
Mobile

T-Mobile expands Simple Global plan, offers $5 international day pass for LTE

T-Mobile offers a number of plans for both you and your family, but how do you know which one is best for you and your situation? Here, we break down the specifics of each plan to help you decide.
Mobile

Samsung patent shows 'hidden display' on Galaxy X foldable smartphone

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display technology for a few years now and a folding smartphone might finally become a reality. The Galaxy X may be the company's first example, and here's everything we know about it.
Mobile

Apple fixes its battery drain issue with iOS 11.4.1 update

Apple's iOS 11 is the latest version of the company's mobile operating system, but it still has some issues to be worked out. We've searched the internet to find the biggest iOS 11 problems, along with some potential solutions.
Mobile

The world can be your oyster with a little help from the best travel apps around

Traveling doesn't need to be a time-consuming nuisance. Our handpicked selection of the best travel apps will keep things simple, whether you need cost comparisons for hotels or directions to renowned eateries.
Home Theater

Get a $30 discount on the brand-new, top-rated Amazon Fire TV Cube on Prime Day

Amazon has slashed the price of its best streaming device for Prime Day, offering viewers the ability to talk to their TV with its Alexa-powered Fire TV Cube for $30 less than normal.
Mobile

Only Google should be mad about having to change Android

Google has been hit with a massive fine in a landmark antitrust case in Europe, and has been told to change the way it manages its Android operating system, or face a heavier financial hit.
Wearables

Techy and trendy? That’s the new Emporio Armani Connected smartwatch

Emporio Armani is back with a new smartwatch, and it has the tech to match its trendy style. The 2018 EA Connected smartwatch has features to rival the Apple Watch, with a style that's reminiscent of Armani's traditional watches.
Smart Home

Ring and National Night Out partner to make Neighbors app more effective

Your home is only as safe as your neighborhood, and no one understands this better than Ring. To continue on its mission of enhancing safety for everyone, the company launched the Neighbors app, partnering with National Night Out.
Music

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Mobile

Apple's third iOS 12 beta may help you save a lot of data

At this year's Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple unveiled its latest operating system, iOS 12. From app updates to group FaceTime, ARKit 2.0, and more, here are all the new features in iOS 12.
Movies & TV

Two of the last Blockbusters just closed in Alaska, leaving but one survivor

Blockbuster's inevitable march toward extinction has taken what might be its penultimate step. With the closure of two movie rental stores in Alaska, there is now but one lone Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon.
Mobile

Tech Armor says its new screen protector improves iPhone performance. We tested it

Tech Armor has a new screen protector for the iPhone, the Enhance, that can redirect harmful radiation, while improving cell signal and battery life. Skeptical? So were we, so we put it to the test.
Mobile

Google’s $5.1 billion antitrust fine could mean the end of free Android

The European Commission has fined Google a record breaking $5.1 billion. The EU is accusing the company of severe antitrust infractions related to the search engine giant's handling of the Android ecosystem.
Mobile

Best iOS app deals of the day! 6 paid iPhone apps are free for a limited time

Everyone likes apps, but sometimes the best ones are a bit expensive. Developers put paid apps on sale for a limited time, but you have to snatch them up fast. Here are the latest and greatest iOS app deals offered in the iOS App Store.
Emerging Tech

Bright idea: Keep your gadgets juiced up with these stellar solar chargers

Looking for a gizmo that can help you charge your phone while on the go? Here, we've outlined the best solar chargers on the market, whether you're looking to charge your phone once, twice, or three times over.
Mobile

Garmin’s latest fitness wearables get a workout boost from Gold’s Gym

Owners of Garmin's latest fitness wearables get a workout boost thanks to a new partnership with Gold's Gym that merges Garmin's fitness tracking with the coaching and music of Gold's AMP app.
Mobile

Here’s how to turn off camera shutter sound on your Android phone

That clicking shutter sound on your Android phone can get annoying if you like to take lots of pictures. Fortunately, you can disable it. We will walk you through how to turn off the camera shutter sound on your Android phone.
Outdoors

The AllTrails app gets even better, adds more details in new map layer

AllTrails updated its app with an all-new map layer that is easier to read, more clearly defines state and national parks around the world, and offers more points of interest for hikers.
Mobile

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2018

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.
Mobile

Android Q will likely make its way to the Essential Phone in 2019

The Essential Phone (PH-1) was one of the best-reviewed phones of 2017, and it comes from Andy Rubin, the co-creator of Android itself. It has a striking design with a bezel-less display and the price is now down to $500.