FreedomPop’s free cell phone plan works great… with some caveats… according to users and my own trials.
The free cell phone service launched in beta mode last fall. The free plan includes up to 200 minutes of talk time, 500 texts (and unlimited texting between FreedomPop subscribers), and 500 MB of free 3G/4G data.
FreedomPop also offers a plan with 500 minutes of talk time, unlimited texting, and 500MB of data for $7.99 per month.
A plan with unlimited talk time, unlimited texting, and 500MB of data is available for $10.99 per month.
Keeping in mind that FreedomPop’s free cell phone service is still in beta, how good is the service and call quality?
In my experience, very spotty.
The service is carried on Sprint’s 3G/4G service, basically as a VOIP call. The area I am in has a medium to strong 3G connection from Sprint, within occasional 4G connections.
When in 3G, sometimes calls can be made, sometimes not. Sometimes the person called can’t hear me, or the transmission is so choppy I can’t be understood and I can’t hear them. Texts work reliably, data connections are very slow.
When I can get a 4G signal – the service works great. Calls are clear, reliable, as good or better than regular paid cell phone service. Texts work great and data speed is reasonably quick.
Since my own experience with FreedomPop’s free cell phone service was limited to a weak 4G area, I contacted Mark Emanuel, a FreedomPop user and a regular in the FreedomPop forum.
Emanuel has experience using FreedomPop in a strong 4G area. He reported that “in a good 4G area the FP voice quality is excellent. Dynamite, even. The same applies to using it on a WiFi connection at home- I can’t tell any difference in sound quality between the two, nor do I have issues making or receiving calls.”
As for calls in 3G areas, Emanuel said “As of two months ago was there was a noticeable delay in voice calls on 3G with an occasional dropped call, but neither made the service unacceptable or unusable. FP came out with a software upgrade recently which really improved the delay issue and also, to me at least, improved voice quality on the 3G network.”
What would he tell to consumers considering FreedomPop’s free cell phone plan?
“I remind everyone that FP phone service is still in beta testing status, and to a lesser extent, you get what you pay for. With both of those in mind, I’m really impressed with the service so far. The benefit of having a phone with no monthly service fee and yet still be able to text, call, and check e-mail- even on a limited basis- is huge.”
“However, I will not dump my AT&T phone just yet for three reasons (all of which FP has indicated they are ‘working on’): 1) FP does not allow roaming off of Sprint network towers, so if you travel off of mainline interstate highways outside of populated areas, you lose all signal. 2) No capability on the FP phone to send or receive MMS texts. 3) The inability to “port” (transfer) current numbers to (FreedomPop).
“The consumer that stands to gain the most with an FP phone (in it’s current status) is one who lives in a metro area with good Sprint 4G or 3G coverage, is in need of a backup phone or doesn’t have a smartphone as their primary device, and who doesn’t mind being part of a social experiment. I think it’s still too early in development to rely fully on FP phone service as one for primary use- but they plan on getting there. If and when they do, they may very well have the legacy carriers running scared.”
Have you used FreedomPop’s free cell phone plan?
Tell us what you think of it below!