FreedomPop launches free smartphone talk and data service (and a $100 HTC Evo)

freedompop phone launch htc evo design 4g

Have you heard of FreedomPop? About a year ago, it became the first free cellular service provider, offering 500MB of data to anyone who buys its 3G and 4G Wi-Fi hotspots. To celebrate its anniversary, the *carrier will start selling its first smartphone, the HTC Evo Design 4G, and free service with it.

The HTC Evo Design 4G is a two-year-old Android phone, but not terrible when you consider its $100 price (without a contract). It has a single-core processor, 768MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, and a 4-inch 960 x 540 pixel LCD screen. Most new smartphones retail for $600 and up.

So what’s the catch, you may wonder? Well, there isn’t one, exactly, but there are limits to what you get for free. FreedomPop offers 200 minutes, 500 texts, and 500MB of data for free each month. If you exceed this limit, you’ll have to pay $11 to upgrade to unlimited service. We covered FreedomPop’s service and pricing here.

We spoke with FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols who told us that he’s been waiting to launch a phone since FreedomPop first opened its doors. He believes that his company is proving that free and incredibly cheap wireless prices are possible.

“We needed a disruptive business model,” he told us. “The prospect had to be too good to be true. … we are giving away 200 free minutes, 500MB of free data, 500 free texts, and we can deliver unlimited everything for $10.99. That’s 92 percent cheaper than AT&T.”

And he is right about one thing: Carriers like Verizon and AT&T are overcharging users. U.S. phone owners pay more for service than almost anyone else in the world.

Since launching, FreedomPop’s user base has grown consistently by about 25 percent a month, according to Stokol. He wouldn’t share precise user numbers, but says that the carrier’s business model is working. To operate, it needed 30-40 percent of users to pay it something, and right now about 45 percent of those on the service are opting to pay a small premium to exceed the strict limits of the free service.

Still, “more than half of our user base doesn’t pay us a penny” said Stokol, and that’s how he wants it, telling us more than once that the “Internet is a right, not a privilege,” a saying that is echoed on FreedomPop’s website. He said that even as FreedomPop offers more expensive phones, it will always have a $100 option.

*FreedomPop, like many other small cellular providers, runs off of Sprint’s 3G and 4G LTE network. Soon, other Sprint phones will work on FreedomPop’s network.

Mobile

The Asus ROG Phone 2 may launch as the most powerful phone in the world

Asus will launch the ROG Phone 2 (that stands for Republic of Gamers, for those new to the company's gaming brand) on July 23, and rumors of its specification and more have been leaking for a while.
Deals

Boost Mobile takes on Amazon with Apple iPhone deals during Prime Day 2019

Boost Mobile's two-day sale has discounts on both Android and Apple smartphones, and we rounded up the best iPhone deals right here. You'll have to act fast, though, as this online sales event lasts for Monday and Tuesday only.
Deals

The powerful Razer Phone 2 costs just $400 thanks to Amazon Prime Day 2019

The Razer Phone 2, a follow-up to the original Razer Phone, has a ton going for it, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and a 120Hz screen refresh rate. For Prime Day 2019, the phone is available for a massive 50 percent off.
Mobile

Miss physical keyboards? Unihertz is creating a rugged phone that has one

Recently, only BlackBerry's phones have offered a physical keyboard. Not any more. Chinese manufacturer Unihertz is preparing to launch the Unihertz Titan -- a rugged phone with a built-in physical keyboard.
Apple

At just $169, Amazon Prime Day now has the best deal on the Apple Watch Series 3

Amazon Prime Day comes once a year, and with it, you'll find the best deals on your favorite Apple products. Right now, the Apple Watch Series 3 is just $169. Get yours while supplies last.
Deals

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 gets a 35% price cut for Prime Day

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is currently the latest model in the Galaxy Note range that normally lists for $1,000, but this is no ordinary day. You can get the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 for just $650 with Amazon's Prime Day deal.
Mobile

Visible is giving away the iPhone 7 for $100 and Moto G7 Power for $50

Visible has announced a few awesome new deals on some great phones, including the Apple iPhone 7 and the Motorola Moto G7 Power. Both phones are available for $100 off, bringing the iPhone 7 down to $100, and the G7 Power to $50.
Mobile

Get ahead of the game with one of the best prepaid cell phone plans

By paying in advance you can make sure that you know exactly what your monthly bills are going to be. Find your ideal prepaid cell phone plan right here, as we run through the top options and highlight what they have to offer.
Deals

These eco-friendly Pela phone cases are up to 25% off for Prime Day only

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly phone case, then you owe it to the environment to check out Pela. This unique brand makes its cases from compostable bioplastic, and for Prime Day, you can take up to 25% off the entire…
Deals

Prime Day brings out the best deals on Amazon’s Kindle and Fire tablets

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is here, and it brings with it some of the best deals on all kinds of tech products. Notably, Amazon's Kindle and Fire tablet range of devices have gotten some pretty major discounts,.
Wearables

The Best Prime Day smartwatch deals: Fitbit, Samsung, and Apple Watch discounts

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is around the corner, and while there are likely to be deals on TVs, gaming consoles, and more, there will also likely be some great deals on smartwatches. Here's what we know about all the smartwatch deals.
Deals

Amazon cuts 33% off on the HP Sprocket Photo Printer for Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day sale is officially live. The HP Sprocket Plus Instant Photo Printer normally sells for $150, but Amazon cuts $50 off from its original price making it now available for a discounted price of only $100.
Deals

Best Prime Day smartwatch deals: Apple Watch, Fitbit Versa, and Samsung Galaxy

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is finally here, bringing with it a number of great smartwatch deals. Whether you're into Apple's Apple Watch, or prefer a smartwatch that has Google's Wear OS wearable operating system, there should be a something for…
Cars

Waze now tells you the cost of toll roads along your route

Navigation app Waze now tells you how much you'll be paying for toll roads, should you decide to take them. Enter your route and the app will display the various tolls you'll be paying on that particular trip.