FreedomPop Review: Free Mobile Phone & 4G Internet Service

We recently returned from a long vacation to England, where we were able to stay with old college friends and enjoy “living like locals.” This included driving on the opposite side on their country tiny roads! (the narrow roadways were more challenging than driving on the left, to be honest)

For our trip, we purchased an Amazon BLU phone because it was unlocked, cheap (~$60), and powerful enough to do anything we needed.

One of the surprising aspects of the mobile market outside the United States is how insanely cheap everything is.

In the US, we pay $150 a month for two phones, 4GB of data and some number of minutes we never come close to using. There are cheaper options such as Republic Wireless, we've reviewed Republic Wireless before, but they're not nearly as well known as the major carriers.

What if I told you there was a service out there that gave you free internet?

It exists and it's not a gimmick.

What is FreedomPop?

Freedompop is a California mobile phone company that offers cheap cell phone plans (including free!) for low use customers. Read all about their plans, their phones, and whether I think it's worth checking out.Based out of California, FreedomPop is a mobile services company that was started in 2012.

In the beginning, they gave away 500MB of free 4G data every month via a wireless hotspot. You just had to send a refundable deposit for the hotspot device. You could pay more to get more data (or refer friends, complete offers, etc), yada yada.

But who wants to carry a hotspot? No one.

But who wants free cell phone service? Everyone.

So they added mobile phones. Kept the free tier. Cash money.

FreedomPop Phones

FreedomPop doesn't make any phones but they do have a marketplace of Samsung, Apple, LG and other brands of phone you can check out. They have over a hundred phones in the marketplace.

You can also bring your own phone as long as it's unlocked. If you buy a phone or get one from a network, as part of a contract, it's probably locked by that network. A Verizon phone can only work on the Verizon network, a T-Mobile phone can only work on the T-Mobile network, etc.

If you bought a phone separate from any contract, it be unlocked. You can use many of those unlocked phones with FreedomPop's Bring Your Own Device plan. You need to confirm with FreedomPop that your phone works.

Fortunately, since there's no contract (and there's a free plan), even if you sign up and find out it doesn't work, you can cancel it.

FreedomPop Plans

What makes FreedomPop different than other similar providers, like Republic Wireless, is that they have a free plan. The download speeds and upload speeds do not vary from package to package, just the data allowance and monthly fee.

There are three plan groups – one for if you use their phones, one if you use their SIM cards, and one for internet devices like hotspots:

For the Phone Plans:

  • Basic 200 – $0/month – 200 minutes, 500 text messages, 500 MB data
  • Premium 1GB – $19.99/month – unlimited minutes/messages, 1 GB data
  • Premium 2GB – $24.99/month – unlimited minutes/messages, 2 GB data
  • Premiere 3GB – $28.99/month – unlimited minutes/messages, 3 GB data
  • Premiere 4GB – $34.99/month – unlimited minutes/messages, 4 GB data

For the SIM card plans:

  • Basic – $0/month – 200 minutes, 500 text messages, 200 MB data
  • WhatsApp 1GB – $20.99/month – unlimited minutes/messages, 1 GB data, unlimited WhatsApp use
  • Global 2GB – $27.99/month – unlimited minutes/messages, 2 GB data
  • WhatsApp 2GB – $29.99/month – unlimited minutes/messages, 2 GB data, unlimited WhatsApp use
  • Global 3GB – $39.99/month – unlimited minutes/messages, 3 GB data
  • Global 4GB – $44.99/month – unlimited minutes/messages, 4 GB data

For the SIM card plans:

  • Basic 500MB – $0/month – 500 MB data, access to 4G network only
  • Pro 500MB (4G/3G) – $3.99/month – 500 MB data, access to 4G & 3G network
  • Premium 3GB (4G/3G) – $28.99/month – 3 GB data, access to 4G & 3G network
  • Premium 4GB (4G/3G) – $34.99/month – 4 GB data, access to 4G & 3G network
  • Premium 5GB (4G/3G) – $39.99/month – 5 GB data, access to 4G & 3G network
  • Premium 10GB (4G/3G) – $74.99/month – 10 GB data, access to 4G & 3G network

In each case, overages are either $0.02 per MB (on any of the 500 MB plans) or $0.015 (the higher data plans). Whenever you go over the data, you're billed a Top Up Charge of $15 and credit to your account. The overage fees are deducted against that.

Note: There is no unlimited package.

FreedomPop Coverage Map

They have a pretty solid coverage map because in the United States they use the Sprint network plus AT&T LTE. Internationally, they use a mix of other networks. In the UK, it's Three with Fogg Mobile Roaming Services.

Is FreedomPop a scam?

How are they able give away free service?

Simple – they're able to do this the same way so many phone apps are free. It's called the freemium model.

You get the basic service for free but if you want upgrades, you pay a little more.

In games, your farm is free but you can pay if you want things to be built faster. Upgrade your barn capacity for 99 cents. Make more ogres for 49 cents. You get the idea.

With FreedomPop, bring your own phone and you get 200 minutes, 500 text messages, and 200 MB data for free. The free tier isn't a lot of minutes, text messages or data. An hour of high definition video content is about a 11 GB.

(25 Mbit/s * 3,600 s/hr = 3.125 MB/s * 3,600 s/hr = 11,250 MB/hr ≈ 11 GB/hr)

But if you need more data, just pay a little more.

Is it a scam? Ha, no. They ask for nothing upfront – how could it be? You don't have to buy a phone, you don't sign a contract, and you aren't obligated to do anything.

What to watch out for?

There has to be a catch right? Kind of – you need to keep an eye on your data usage.

When you go over, you pay. Data overages are $0.02/mb for the lower plans (500MB data limits) and it's just $0.015/mb on the other plans. They're not exorbitant rates but at two cents a megabyte, a gigabyte of data will run you $20. Many a budget has been busted because of overage charges.

We plan to look at this whenever our kids need phones (they're still a wee bit young) because it's important they can call us but we don't want them doing too much on the phones. Having a throttle will be helpful in our case!

Have you tried FreedomPop? Good experiences, bad experiences?

FreedomPop Free Phone & Internet

8.5

Overall

8.5/10

Strengths

  • Free service plan
  • Bring your own device
  • No contract, no cancellation fees

Weaknesses

  • Only 200MB data on free tier

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a thirty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and a farm in Illinois via AcreTrader.

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These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  1. Matt says

    I first heard about FreedomPop on Clark Howard’s radio show. I think he recommended it because it was sooo cheap. I’m still on the ole’ ATT 2-phone plan and pay about $110 a month for 5GB and unlimited talk and text. I plan to look into alternatives in the future.

  2. MikeM says

    Do you know if it is possible to transfer an existing phone number from my AT&T iphone to FreedomPop service? If I’m not being clear, if my current AT&T number is 123456789, can I have that number on FreedomPop?

  3. Richard Undlin says

    Worst ever – AVOID THEM – TOTAL SCAM AND FRAUD!
    Worst ever – never use Paypal with them. Horrible “No Person ever” CS, you can literally NEVER talk to a person. Worst web site, obscure and impossible to navigate to get what you want, all set up to “upgrade you” from whatever you have. and if you want out – port your number – they block it. The FREE is not available, unless you trust them to charge you $20 on your account. I had to call Paypal and block them from charges, and then I had to dispute charges they made when I called them. NEVER GIVE THEM any way to charge you… Thiefs!

  4. David Null says

    David Null Whatever you do, DON’T fall for this scam. You’ll never get a free account and you’ll discover unexpected charges on your account frequently. The customer service is AWFUL. I can’t decide whether they don’t understand enough English to do their jobs or they are trained to be as unhelpful and obstinate as possible. Don’t fall into their trap. Not convinced? Go to “Victims of FreedomPop” on Facebook.

  5. W C says

    I recently used freedompop for about a year and a half. Part of that time was unlimited/2GB, and then I downgraded to Free for the balance of the time. Never had a problem with them. I would do it again if I need to.

  6. Jay says

    I’ve used FreedomPop for about 3 years. It’s legit, you just gotta stay on top of things. Getting a new sim card is always a struggle (I’ve gone through about 10) & often takes weeks & sometimes months to get up & running. Hey nothing’s free right? Believe me, you will have to work for your free access. But once your up & running, your set.
    My only major issue is that unless my phone is on WI-FI constantly, I will not get phone calls or text messages unless I look at my phone, by taking it out of idle mode. So somebody calling or texting me 80% of the time will NOT be able to reach me unless I’m using the phone at that time.
    Again about 80% of the time I want to call out I can. Lately I’ve been thinking “what good is a cell phone when people can’t reach you at the time of into contact”.

  7. David Wright says

    As a tech savy pensioner buying internet wifi with my TV and hardly receiving any calls, I have added Google Voice for calls in America and withmy older FP sim cards I have 100 minutes of free calling back to the UK. I manage with the free programme easily but I did fall for the data Rollover option which of course builds up for that time you’re away from your wifi. It is not transferable to another phone and like the $20 Top-Up credit it remains in your account until you cancel service and then it’s theirs. My advice is to read the options carefully, go with the free service until it doesn’t fit your needs anymore. Incidentally I think Red Pocket now owns FP and they have a 500calls/500texts/500MB option for $10 on BYOD unlocked AT&T gsm phones. That said I thought Spectrum with their $14/GB was good until I found BYOD was very limited to very recent phones of certain makes.
    Do your research is my advice and just get what you need.

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