FreedomPop: A Free Cellular Service Provider?

FreedomPop is a carrier promising customers fast, cheap, and very reliable cellular services in the USA. It holds the distinction of being the first mobile provider to offer free cellular service. Yes, you read that right! They have a completely free plan available for use to anyone. I currently own multiple FreedomPop SIMs on the free plan and they work great, without any monthly charges.

In this article, we will look at the benefits as well as negatives of this peculiar carrier, ultimately guiding you to the choice of switching or steering clear.

What network does FreedomPop use?

FreedomPop is an MVNO, a mobile virtual network operator. An MVNO is a carrier that uses another carrier’s towers to provide its cellular service. Currently, FreedomPop provides service with the Sprint and AT&T towers. After relying on Sprint’s network for years, they added AT&T in late 2016. 

Freedompop Coverage - AT&T 4G LTE Network Map
AT&T 4G LTE Network Map
Freedompop Coverage - Sprint 4G LTE Network Map
Sprint 4G LTE Network Map

Although Sprint has worked hard in the past few years to improve its network and coverage, it still has the slowest LTE speeds when compared to the other Big 3 carriers: AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. When signing up with FreedomPop, you have the choice to pick a SIM card or phone that works on either carrier’s network. We strongly recommend that you go with a FreedomPop plan reliant on AT&T, unless Sprint has better coverage in your area.

What phones can be used with FreedomPop?

FreedomPop sells a wide variety of phones, ranging from the Samsung Galaxy Series to the iPhones. They also sell older and cheaper models like the second-generation Moto E, the LG G4, LG Tribute 2, and Kyocera Hydro Icon. FreedomPop’s selection of refurbished phones is much more extensive and includes more recent flagships like the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7, both available at discounted rates.

You’ll have to pay the full price of the phone when you buy from FreedomPop, however, as there are no installment plans.

Bringing your own phone for use on FreedomPop is also possible, and recommended — either an unlocked GSM phone (for the AT&T GSM SIM) or a Sprint-locked phone (for the Sprint Global SIM). You will be charged $20 for phone activation, and another $10 to move your phone number over to the carrier (if you do not want to register for a new line). Here’s a list of supported carriers for transferring your phone number.

SIM card kits from FreedomPop and retailers normally cost $9.99 for the SIM-only phone service, though the carrier regularly runs promotions, discounting the overall prices.

What are the best FreedomPop plans?

With the free plan, by default, you get 200 minutes of talk, 500 text messages, and 200MB of data, which is not bad for a light user. Monthly rates kick in once you opt for unlimited talk and text, with the monthly bill increasing as you add more data.

For BYOD customers, plans start at $19.99 for 500MB of data and scale up to $34.99 for a 4GB data plan. Although the paid plans are not as competitive as other MVNOs such as RedPocket and Mint Mobile, it is at a better value when compared with the Big 3 carriers. Cricket charges $40 a month for its 5GB plan (you can reduce that to $35 by using AutoPay with Cricket), while MetroPCS’ 5GB plan also costs $40.

PlanTalkTextDataMonthly Cost
Basic 200200 minutes500 texts200MBFree
Premium GSM 1GBUnlimitedUnlimited1GB$22.99
Premium GSM 2GBUnlimitedUnlimited2GB$29.99
Special Offer: Premium GSM 3GBUnlimitedUnlimited3GB$29.99
Current plan prices as of 3/2/2021

If you go over your allotted data, it’ll cost $0.010 per MB in most paid plans and $0.025 per MB for subscribers on the free plan. However, free users will not be able to add any minutes or texts if they hit their cap – they’ll have to upgrade to paid service. When you get close to your data limit, FreedomPop will automatically charge you $15 as a top-up credit, and whatever excess charges you incur will be taken from that credit.

Wrapping Up

FreedomPop should definitely be a carrier that you consider. If your wireless needs are very limited, you can save serious cash each month by turning to FreedomPop. FreedomPop is also a great option for those traveling to the USA, since the free plan can stay dormant for long periods, it can be used whenever in the USA, without needing any charges to reactivate. However, if Sprint’s or AT&T’s networks don’t serve you well, you may want to turn to another carrier.

Want to make the switch? Visit the official FreedomPop website to sign-up.

As with most services out there, this review is meant to provide a general overview and not be a definitive endorsement. It’s important to consider what you value most in a cell phone provider and make your final decision accordingly.

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  1. I just created an account with FreedomPop after reading some reviews. Firstly, according to FreedomPop, the Auto Top-Up feature turns on when you’re halfway through your data. So if you sign up for the free plan, you’ll get charged $15 when you reach 100MB of data. So, really, only the first 99MB are free, yet FreedPop promotes the plan as providing 200MB of free data.

    There’s also no longer a free way to turn off Auto Top-Up. You can only turn it off by enrolling in FreedomPop’s Safety Mode for $6.99/month. It’s a bait and switch! I think it’s illegal what they’re doing. I’ve reported them to the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission.

    I’m also trying to close my account but their website is giving me an error saying “Failure. Cancellation Unsuccessful. Please try again later.” They are unscrupulous company!

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