FreedomPop brings its free mobile tariff to the UK
Californian company FreedomPop provides entry-level bundles of text, voice and data at no cost
FreedomPop has launched its free mobile service in the UK.
The company's "Basic 200" SIM-only plan provides 200 minutes, 200 texts and 200MB of 4G mobile data per month, completely free of charge.
After a one-off 7 fee for activation and delivery, users can use the FreedomPop app to make calls, send texts and share pictures absolutely free (within the confines of the allowance).
This freemium' model relies on methods of revenue generation outside of traditional subscriptions, such as users purchasing increased allowances, buying additional services such as a second phone number for their phone, or incurring charges by exceeding their allowance.
The service, which has already seen success in tech-savvy regions of the US, will be operating as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator and piggybacking on Three's masts, following a deal signed in May this year.
Another notable aspect of the service is that it's entirely internet-based. All of the voice and text data is transmitted using 3G and 4G networks, and then routed through the FreedomPop app.
The app is only available for Android and iOS, so prospective customers using Windows Phone and BlackBerry platforms will be unable to use the service.
The company has been operational in the US for more than four and a half years, and says that it only needs 30 per cent of its roughly one million users to purchase paid-for add-ons in order to turn a profit.
The service is principally aiming at PAYG mobile plans, as well as low-cost bottom-tier contracts. It claims that even its more extensive tariffs are "priced well below the market". Its device-agnostic services are also available on tablets.
"The UK has had many mobile providers and services enter the market, but none of them offer a completely new business model enabling free service, guaranteed for life," said Stephen Stokols, FreedomPop CEO and co-founder. "We believe everyone should have access to mobile services, and we're going to make that a reality in the UK."
The UK will be the first country outside of America to receive the service, but the company says it has plans to expand to seven other countries within the next year, and over 20 by 2017.
FreedomPop's totally free tier is an eye-catching deal, but according to Devicescape CEO Dave Fraser, "price is not FreedomPop's only point of differentiation".
"FreedomPop is part of the 'Wi-Fi First' movement, a group of MVNOs which position Wi-Fi at the heart of their connectivity offerings. This gives them cost advantages which enable continued investment in innovation, and also aligns them closely with existing smartphone user behaviour."
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