FreedomPop Review: Is It Worth It?

FreedomPop is a US-based cell phone and Internet service provider famous for its unique $0 per month plan available to all new clients. This package is the company’s biggest selling point and includes a total of two hundred voice call minutes, five hundred free text messages and five hundred megabytes of data for mobile Internet users.

Should the presented amount prove to be insufficient, FreedomPop also offers a broad variety of reasonably priced plans and add-ons tailored to the specific needs of their clients. Furthermore, the company’s premium packages are generally cheaper than the ones offered by its main competitors (such as Total Wireless).

Another important distinction of this brand is that FreedomPop provides its services using VoIP instead of the more commonly spread option of cellular networks. Even though this fact would have been a serious drawback a couple of years back, nowadays, the coverage and strength of 4G and 3G signals are efficient enough to support high call quality.

What We Dislike:

  • The amount of data and call minutes provided in the free package is likely to be insufficient for active Internet users that spend a lot of time on social media websites and Youtube.
  • The ability to perform voice calls via standard cellular voice networks (that tend to offer superior coverage and sound quality) is restricted to users that have signed up for the Premium Voice addition to their plan.
  • FreedomPop services can be ordered only through their official website, as the enterprise doesn’t have physical stores you can visit.
  • The customer support offered by the company is lacking both in terms of how quickly representatives respond to user inquiries and how well they manage to solve them.
  • Employees responsible for customer relations tend to actively persuade new users to order additional features and premium plans and can be too persistent in their attempts, annoying potential customers.
Note: As a client of FreedomPop, you will always have the option to downgrade your subscription to the free plan.

What We Like:

  • FreedomPop’s standard plan includes over three hours of voice calls, half a thousand texts, and 500MB of data per month for FREE!
  • The number of minutes and data included in the free package should be enough for the day-to-day needs of most adults.
  • The free plan can be used as a “trial period” by users who want to acquaint themselves with FreedomPop and the quality of their service.
  • The company offers a variety of premium plans, including ones that offer unlimited calls, texts, and up to 4GB of high-speed data.
  • FreedomPop provides the majority of its services through the Sprint LTE network while employing cellular phone networks and WiFi in situations when the Internet’s signal strength is insufficient.
  • The brand offers both GSM and Global SIM cards.
  • Users aren’t required to sign any contracts with FreedomPop and are free from any financial obligations.
  • The basic plan presented on the company’s website includes a free phone.
  • FreedomPop offers a free WiFi hotspot for clients who want to order their Internet services.
  • The company has developed a smartphone app that allows users to send texts and make calls via WiFi. Furthermore, this app is supported by most tablets, allowing people to use them instead of their phones.
  • Most premium plans offered by FreedomPop enable users to make free international calls to over fifty countries around the world.
  • FreedomPop can be used as a backup smartphone or a second card in a Dual-SIM phone.
  • The company offers a referral program, generates partner offers, and regularly hosts surveys and contests with free data and text messages being awarded as prizes.

Detailed Review

About FreedomPop

freedompop

FreedomPop is a California-based enterprise with its main office located in Los Angeles. The company was founded back in 2011 by S. Stokols and S. Sesar. Since its inception, FreedomPop has actively marketed its free plan option to gain the trust of new clients and incentivize them to sign up for additional services and features.

As of August 2017, roughly half the company’s customers are on its free phone service package while the other half is subscribed to one of FreedomPop’s premium plans. The company currently has nearly two million clients and has made over a hundred million dollars in venture capital. Furthermore, Freedom Pop is also represented in the United Kingdom and in Spain in the form of several subsidiary enterprises.

What Network Does FreedomPop Use?

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FreedomPop cooperates with two major US networks, Sprint and AT&T. Initially, the company’s exclusive partner was Sprint 4G. However, in 2016, FreedomPop decided to add another network into the mix to appeal to a broader audience. This move was dictated by the fact that even though Sprint offers impressive coverage across the country, it possesses the lowest LTE speed out of the biggest four network chains.

The addition of AT&T proved to be a wise move on the company’s part that helped bolster its financial success. This decision well-received by the public as AT&T SIM cards quickly became popular among FreedomPop users.

What Do Customers Say About FreedomPop?

The company typically receives above-average reviews from its clients. Thus, Better Business Bureau indicates a grade of 3.75 out of 5 stars with about 66% of 420 ratings being positive and the rest being left by users unsatisfied with the provided services. Another popular client-based review site, TrustPilot, shows an aggregate grade of 5.4 out of 10 with over 750 people leaving their feedback about the brand’s performance.

Users that left positive reviews generally focus on FreedomPop’s free plan and state that the provided amount of data, calls, and texts has proven to be sufficient for their needs. They also praise the speed of their Internet and availability of various extra features and premium plans. The fact that FreedomPop allows clients to switch between different packages easily depending on their current needs has also received a lot of positive feedback from customers.

People that have written negative reviews heavily criticize FreedomPop’s customer service and complain about incompetent company representatives that aren’t interested in helping them. Additionally, several users have reported the issue of unstable signal strength that tends to lower the voice quality, which can lead to abruptly ended calls and interrupted downloads.

Note: Several reviewers also mention the fact that FreedomPop’s SIM cards have been delivered to them in a pre-activated state, which might be an alarming sign for some.

Is It Really Free?

The free cell phone service plan is FreedomPop’s most popular offer, accounting for nearly 50% of the company’s total number of clients. Logically, potential users may be wondering how such a plan can be financially viable, and if there’s a catch they should watch out for.

First of all, rest assured that the free plan is actually real and if you do everything right, then you won’t have to pay any hidden fees for the call minutes, texts, and data you receive each month. That being said, there are several factors potential clients have to take into account before committing to this package:

  1. Since messages and calls are made through the VoIP system, they also use resources from the allocated 500MB monthly pool of data, making you reach the limit faster than you normally would.
    Note: Freedom Pop explicitly states that the free plan is primarily aimed at people who are light mobile data users. Thus, it’s most suitable for clients who limit their Internet activity to checking their email and having a quick chat with their Facebook friends. People that spend a lot of time on Youtube or Instagram should look towards some of the premium plans.
  2. The free plan is available only to new users as a FreedomPop’s client. Also, they can either choose one of their premium plans (with a larger data pool and extra features).
    Note: Unlike most cell phone service providers, FreedomPop doesn’t have any cancellation penalties, so nothing is forcing you to continue using their services.
  3. Users have to be careful in breaching the allocated data limit since once the 500MB mark has been reached, FreedomPop auto-issues a $10 bill for extending the monthly limit.
    Note: This can be prevented either by responding to the email notifying you of this fact or turning off the auto-charge function in your account settings on FreedomPop’s official site.

How to Acquire Additional Free Data?

Clients who have subscribed to the free plan have several ways of gaining extra data each month without paying the $10 fee:

  1. FreedomPop can charge you 2 cents for each MB you use after the allocated 500. Potentially, this method can end up being more costly than the $10 fee, so each user should carefully calculate how far he or she plans on going over the limit.
  2. You can take advantage of the company’s referral program and receive 10 MB each month for every friend that remains an active client of FreedomPop.
  3. The provider regularly generates various offers and surveys that grant users the opportunity to earn free data for participation.

FreedomPop Phone Plan Packages

Freedompop-Phone Plan Packages

If you definitely know that 500MB of data won’t be enough to support your phone activity, instead of paying $10 each month you breach the limit, you should consider ordering one of these premium plans:

  • Unlimited call minutes, text messages, and 500MB of data ($10.99 per month)

The features offered in this package are similar to those included in the free plan (and this is the package you’ll be recommended to switch to once the one-year free period is over) with the difference being there’s no limit to how much calls or texts you can make during a single month.

Note: If you subscribe to this plan, the first month of service will be free of charge!
  • Unlimited call minutes, text messages, and 1GB of data ($20 per month)

This package is the ultimate choice for FreedomPop users who spend each day actively browsing Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. For twenty dollars, you receive an unlimited voice calls and texts messages and a virtually endless supply of data!

Note: Once you’ve spent more than 1GB of data in a single month, you won’t have to pay for additional megabytes. Instead, your phone will merely switch from the 4G to 3G network, affecting the Internet speed in a minor way.
  • Unlimited call minutes, text messages, and 2GB of data ($25 per month).
  • Unlimited call minutes, text messages, and 3GB of data ($30 per month).
  • Unlimited call minutes, text messages, and 4GB of data ($35 per month).

The difference between these three plans and the $20 one is the amount of high-speed data you get to use before the 4G network becomes unavailable to you.

Note: The specific details of each plan listed above can change over time, so be sure to visit the company’s website to find up-to-date information before you make your choice.

FreedomPop’s Special Family Offers

It’s a known fact that family members are highly likely to use the same cell phone service provider. Catering to that audience, FreedomPop has devised several special plans for families. Thus, their basic package includes 1GB of LTE data for free per month (with a $5 per line fee attached). Additionally, the company grants users free 50MB per line to increase the data pool for larger families.

Note: A single family package can contain up to ten individual lines.
Other plans offered by Freedom Pop include:

  • 2GB for $15 per month.
  • 4GB for $35 per month.
  • 10GB for $75per month.
  • 25GB for $160 per month.
Note: All the options listed above offer an unlimited amount of voice calls and text messages.

FreedomPop Internet Plans

Even though FreedomPop’s priority has always been cell phone services, they also offer several wireless Internet packages to their clients. All you need to do is make a one-time refundable deposit for the hotspot and WiFi gadget. The company’s website lists several device options in the $40-$130 pricing range for you to choose from.

Once you’ve chosen a modem, you can sign up for any of the three primary Internet plans:

  • Basic 500MB

This plan is free of charge for the first year but is only supported in areas with 4G coverage. Whenever a user exceeds the half gigabyte limit, each additional MB will cost 2 cents.

  • Pro 500MB

This plan costs $3.99 for each month and offers a thirty-day free trial period. Additionally, it allows you to use both 3G and 4G technology to gain Internet access.

  • Premium 2GB

The premium package also includes a trial period, and it provides four times as much data for $19.99 per month, with each additional MB costing 1.5 cents.

Interesting Facts About FreedomPop’s Services

  • FreedomPop customers have the ability to change their plan or stop using the company’s services any time they want.
  • Unused texts and voice call minutes don’t roll over to the next month, unless a special add-on feature has been purchased.
  • If you tend to have a lot of unused data at the end of the month, you can purchase the Rollover package to save up data. The maximum amount of MB you can transfer to next month depends on the specific setting you choose, with the most popular option being an up to 500MB monthly carry-over with the total maximum of 20GB.

Additional Features Offered by FreedomPop

WiFi Voice Calls and Messages

Due to the ever-increasing coverage of WiFi hotspots (especially in metropolitan districts) this feature represents the perfect alternative for connecting to the Internet and conducting VoIP calls with your FreedomPop phone. Currently, there are over ten million WiFi spots situated across the United States, which is better coverage than any single cellular network can brag about. Because the quality and scope of the WiFi technology are improving each year, this feature is a must-have for most smartphone users.

The WiFi Calling add-on is especially useful for people subscribed to the free plan, who want to save their allocated 500MB for when WiFi isn’t available. Additionally, this feature can save your life in places where 4G coverage is absent.

Another group of users that can be heavily interested in this add-on are travelers who frequently find themselves abroad. Even though FreedomPop doesn’t offer its services outside the United States, you can still use its official app to contact or text your family members or significant other in any place that has a WiFi hotspot.

This feature costs only five dollars a month and can be used both by Android and iOS device owners, as FreedomPop has developed an app for each platform. As a bonus, the apps allow you to freely switch between the WiFi connection and a standard cellular network any time you want, even during a call.

Note: Even though WiFi Calling doesn’t use 4G, the free voice call minutes and messages will still be deducted from a user’s monthly limit. However, if you’re calling or texting a friend or relative that also uses the FreedomPop app, then your minute and text pool will remain untouched.

International Calls and Texting

FreedomPop offers multiple services to users who regularly make international calls. The primary feature aimed at catering to such clients is the Global Free 100. With its help, any United States-based user that wants to contact an individual residing abroad can use up to one hundred minutes a month to do so completely free of charge! If you need more time, you can upgrade this feature to one of the several options listed on the company’s website.

Note: As of December 2017, this add-on offers free voice calls to twenty-one country including Canada, India, Great Britain, and China through landline and mobile networks, and to thirty more countries through landline connections.
Alternatively, you can reach a relative or friend outside of the US by using the company’s app as long as they are also a FreedomPop client and you are both connected to a WiFi hotspot. This feature can help you save a lot of money on international calls.

Another great option offered by FreedomPop is that you can create a local, virtual number in any of the fifty included countries for $5 per month. Such a number can be assigned to family members or friends, and the receiver will have the ability to make calls as if he or she was residing in the same country as you are.

Regarding texting, as of right now, you can’t send messages abroad using the cellular or 4G network. The only real option is to make use of the app and text someone that way.

Worldwide SIM Card

Other than the options presented above, Freedom Pop also offers you the opportunity to purchase a designated Global SIM card that enables using networks located in other countries for roaming while you’re traveling or living abroad. With the help of this card, you can both call and text United States residents at reasonable prices.

This option has only been recently introduced. Previously, FreedomPop worked with Sprint exclusively, which operates on CDMA bands, while roaming works only on GSM technology now offered by AT&T. Thus, the addition of a new network made roaming a viable option for FreedomPop clients.

What Do You Need to Join FreedomPop?

Before you purchase any services from FreedomPop, you first have to find out whether this company operates in your local area. Despite its nationwide coverage, there still might be some regions in the United States that aren’t supported by FreedomPop. The verification process is simple and consists of two steps:

  • Visiting the company’s official site.
  • Typing in your ZIP code and relevant email address into the appropriate box.

Once you’ve confirmed that FreedomPop offers services in your region, you have to go through a registration procedure on their website and order a starter kit that includes a free phone, a SIM card, and activation instructions.

Note: As of January 2018, this set stood at the price of $29.99.

FreedomPop Store

If you want to use a high-end smartphone instead of the included free one (for instance, an Apple or Samsung product), you can go to FreedomPop’s store webpage and buy any of the models listed there. Alternatively, you can purchase a tablet that can be used instead of a phone with FreedomPop’s app.

Using Your Own Phone

In case you already own an untied GSM smartphone (or if it’s locked to either Sprint or AT&T) or are in the process of purchasing one, you have an option of buying FreedomPop’s SIM card without a phone to access their services.

Note: If you want to lock your own phone to FreedomPop, you’ll have to pay $20 for its activation and $10 more for transferring your number to the carrier.

What Phones Are Compatible with FreedomPop?

FreedomPop offers its clients the ability to use their SIM card with pretty much any smartphone model as long as it isn’t tied to an unsupported network. The brand’s shop offers both older phones such as Moto E or LG Tribute 2, and high-end devices like iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7, appealing to all kinds of demographics and price ranges.

Ordering Internet Services

If you want to order wireless Internet for your home from FreedomPop, the company will provide you with a free WiFi hotspot gadget and an appropriate service package all for the price of $20. Once you complete the registration process on FreedomPop’s website, you’ll be able to pick one out of several modems on the provider’s store page so it can be shipped to your doorstep.

Our Verdict

FreedomPop is able to stand out from the competition because of its free phone and wireless Internet service plans. This company offers nationwide coverage, and even though it employs VoIP technology, the presented voice call quality is on par with pricier competitors. It should also be noted that FreedomPop provides a broad variety of add-on features (WiFi calling, Premium Voice, Rollover, Family offers etc.), premium plans, and a Global SIM Card for making international calls.

Another nice feature of this brand is the possibility of using WiFi for making calls and sending texts. Furthermore, since you aren’t required to sign a contract with FreedomPop, you don’t need to use their services any longer than you see fit.

The benefits mentioned above serve nicely to balance out such drawbacks as mediocre customer service and low data limit and make this company a solid candidate for your new cell phone service provider. We especially recommend FreedomPop to those people who don’t actively browse the Web and can be satisfied with 500MB of data per month.