FreedomPop focuses on bare bones connectivity with a twist…
FreedomPop has announced a new SIM deal with an unlimited data allowance for Facebook’s WhatsApp messenger service. Customers will get zero-rated data usage for sending text messages, pictures, and videos and making calls on WhatsApp for no monthly cost,
FreedomPop also claimed that the deal will work across 31 mobile networks worldwide, including the US, Germany, France, Portugal, and Italy.
Does this offer adhere to the new net neutrality rules? Not clear yet. FreedomPop’s spokesperson said that “we don’t see any issues” with the deal, “as zero-rated WhatsApp is part of certain plans users can select, but not forced across our entire network.”
FreedomPop, markets itself as a “disruptive” alternative to the dominance of major mobile carriers, is selling the move as a massive break with tradition. It cited research from UK analyst house Ovum, which calculated that the decline in traditional text messaging in favor of services like WhatsApp would cost mobile operators $54 billion by the end of 2016. As an example, WhatsApp usage in the UK is soaring and mobile companies see it as a massive threat to take away from their voice and text revenues Now FreedomPop is making WhatsApp more accessible than ever to consumers.
The FreedomPop MVNO offers totally free global phone service and messaging to customers that bring an unlocked GSM phone. FreedomPop and WhatsApp together launched unlimited messaging and a small data quota per month.
FreedomPop unveiled its package of a free basic service plan that includes;
- 100 voice minutes,
- 100 text messages
- 200MB of 4G LTE data every month and the big plus-
- unlimited WhatsApp calls and messages.
- In 31 countries around the world for $13!
To sign up for the service, you’ll need an unlocked GSM smartphone or tablet and a FreedomPop SIM card, which costs $13 including tax and shipping.
Signing up to the service is done online, FreedomPop tries to push a free trial month of the WhatsApp 1GB plan, which costs $20.99 after the first month. (You can also opt in for a 2GB plan for $29.99.) WhatsApp Basic is the plan that offers the totally free option.
All three plans include “unlimited WhatsApp,” meaning you can use that app all you want without any impact on the data plan that was chosen (200MB, 1G, or 2G). Additional data costs 2 cents per megabyte.
FreedomPop online user journey includes up-sell of additional options along the way,
- a data-rollover plan ($3.99 per month),
- usage alerts ($1.99 per month)
- voicemail ($2.49 per month).
FreedomPop’s sim arrived already activated. After installing it in a relevant phone you install the FreedomPop messaging app.
Unless you sign up for the usage alerts, it’ll be up to you to monitor your consumption. 200MB of data probably won’t last long and you need to be aware. But when traveling, especially in a foreign country, the FreedomPop SIM card, with a different number (for your trip) will offer a super-affordable global service.
The benefit of free WhatsApp is huge! When you use WhatsApp, all calls and messages to and from other WhatsApp users are completely free, with no impact on your plan. With WhatsApp you can also send attachments like photos and documents. All this at no cost and with no quota.
FreedomPop isn’t all that competitive when it comes to larger data plans, but if you want to operate a phone or tablet for free (or as close to it as you can get), this is a truly compelling option.