FreedomPop, the wireless service provider offering free and cheap no-contract plans on Sprint’s network, today announced it’s now allowing customers to bring their old Sprint phones to activate on its $0/month wireless plans. We’ve confirmed with the company that will also soon include iPhones.
The company has been around since 2011 with various hotspot products and recently launched its first smartphone direct to customers alongside the world’s first completely free mobile service. A guaranteed 500 MBs of data, 500 text messages, and 200 anytime voice minutes for free each month would sound enticing to anyone, but previously customers would have to pay $99 for an almost two-year old HTC Evo Design to get it. Despite that, FreedomPop says it “immediately sold out” of stock when it launched last month.
That’s about to change today as FreedomPop will now let Sprint customers bring their own device to activate on its free and cheap plans. Although there is no mention of it in the carrier’s press release and some are reporting iPhones aren’t supported, we’ve confirmed FreedomPop will support the iPhone 4 and 4S as well as 20 other Sprint devices initially. Stephen Stokols, FreedomPop’s CEO, tells us it will be another few weeks before the iPhone is compatible, and eventually all Sprint smartphones will be supported. Around 600 devices, including iPhones, will be supported by the end of the month.
While T-Mobile’s new Uncarrier strategy has been getting a lot of attention as a more transparent way of offering wireless service to consumers, FreedomPop is truly attempting to change the face of the industry by offering 100% free mobile and internet services. The strategy isn’t completely lost on the big carriers– T-Mobile just started offering 200MB of free data for iPad and tablet users. That compares to 500MB, 500 texts, and 200 voice minutes Freedompop offers for all of its users. The problem up until now has been lack of devices, but it will be interesting to see how many customers it can attract when it starts supporting the iPhone and Sprint’s line up of Android devices. We also confirmed earlier this year it will soon be supporting iPads via an LTE accessory for tablets.
FreedomPop will also start offering the HTC Evo 4G for $99 off contract today, an even older device than the Evo Design it first launched, but the real news here is clearly the bring your own device support for Sprint phones. A deal with another carrier partner in the future could give FreedomPop the ability to offer the BYOD option for devices other than Sprint smartphones.
FreedomPop claims its free plan will save consumers around $1,000 a year, while those that step up to its paid plans will save 80 to 90 percent compared to other carriers on average.
A list of compatible devices starting today include:
The Apple Online Store has just come back online after about two hours of downtime in preparation for the iPad Air launch in the United States. All four major carriers are also offering the fifth-generation iPad on their own stores.
The iPad Air is the newest version of Apple’s iconic tablet. The latest model features the same 64-bit A7 processor found in the new iPhone 5s, improved cameras, and a new form factor that’s thinner and lighter than the previous generation. It ships with Apple’s new iOS 7 software. Pricing starts at $499 for the Wi-Fi model with 16 GB of storage and goes up to $929 for the 128 GB LTE-equipped model.
Unlike the iPhone 5s, which faced supply constraints at launch, Apple is expected to be able to meet demand for the new iPad and is taking steps to ensure that every customer has a chance to get one at their convenience. You should be able to grab one from the Apple Online Store, or through the AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile websites, or certain region carriers.
If you’d rather get one today instead of waiting for it to arrive, you can try your local Apple Store or the carrier outlet of your choice. Bear in mind that even though people have been standing in line at many stores since last night, Apple will hold some of each model for customers later in the day.
J.D. Power released its second Wireless Smartphone Satisfaction Study for the year and continues to find Apple leading the charts.
While Apple has topped this chart ten consecutive times in the last five years, AT&T has proved it can maintain its lead in overall carrier customer satisfaction we reported earlier this year. Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless trail AT&T in customer satisfaction overall, but among iPhone users specifically Verizon is most prized.
When you break down customer satisfaction by carrier, Apple leads ahead of its competition on AT&T and Verizon while Samsung scores higher among Sprint and T-Mobile subscribers. Both Apple and Samsung score about the carrier average on each respective carrier they topped.
J.D. power notes that its study found Spring subscribers were more likely to purchase a smartphone based on its features, while T-Mobile customers favored device cost in making their decision.
We knew Virgin Mobile was launching the iPhone 5s and 5c today, but we weren’t expecting a $100-off starting price. That’s what’s on offer today from the Sprint subsidiary (Sprint will also knock off $100 the subsidized plans if you are a new customer – so much for loyalty benefits).
Virgin’s plans are the least expensive out there, especially considering they include unlimited data and start at $30/month.
Another Sprint pre-paid subsidy, Boost mobile is likely going to offer the iPhone in coming days/weeks/months.
Over the weekend, Verizon, which famously executed unlimited data plans last year, had a software glitch that allowed customers to upgrade their phone and keep their grandfathered unlimited data plans. Most of us probably didn’t take advantage. Which means you’ll have to shell out full, unsubsidized prices for your next phone to stay unlimited on Big Red. And since the iPhone 5S just came out, we’re wondering what you folks did. Did you pay up to keep your unlimited data plans or did you hand over that bountiful perk back to Verizon?