FreedomPop has broken the tablet service offerings mold. The company originally started offering mobile services for smartphones using network services from both Sprint and Clearwire. Their mobile service offerings for smartphones is pretty impressive and needs to be seen. However, they recently announced that they would be bringing this same service to the tablet market. I’m going to quickly tell you about the phone service they offer and follow that with an in-depth description of this mold-shattering new offering.
Four-Tier Phone Service
Let’s take a look at what they offer cellphone/smartphone customers before we look at their groundbreaking new service offering. There are four plans that you can choose from. The Basic plan is free. Yes, I said FREE. You pay for the phone, the price of which varies depending on what you choose. The Basic plan from FreedomPop offers 200 phone minutes, 500 text messages and 500 MB of data. On the other end of the spectrum is the approximately $20-per-month unlimited everything deal, which offers just that, everything unlimited.
FreedomPop’s Many Ways to Get Online at Home and On the Go
FreedomPop isn’t just a cellular carrier, that’s started offering voice and data services to tablet owners. Sure, they offer several top of the line smartphones, like a modified Samsung Galaxy S2 that’s been upgraded with VPN technology for secure communications. However, they also offer devices that allow you to create 4G hotspots. You can also get a USB stick that gives the connected computer 4G mobile data service.
Wait, Can’t I get Data Service for My Tablet from a Major Carrier?
Sure, you can. Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, they all offer data plans for tablets. However, that’s the catch. It’s only data. Unlike the provisioning for a cellphone, there is no phone number associated with the device or its SIM card. This means no phone-type activity. FreedomPop changes that.
How Do They Do It?
There are Internet-based services like Google Voice and Skype that give you much of the capability of true telephony services. However they have their shortcomings. Most of these services create VoIP services and these guys are no different.
SIM cards for their service are still provisioned the same way, with no phone number, but company engineers overcame this using iOS and Android apps that they created. Although the company rents network spectrum from other providers, they create their own dedicated VoIP network that communicates with their apps to bring true telephony services like voice and SMS (text) messaging to the tablet environment.
One Number for Two Devices
Apple i-Device owners have been able to receive FaceTime calls or iMessages on any of their devices that use the same AppleID. Take the call or message on a tablet, phone, or iPod. That’s pretty cool. Switch to FreedomPop and you can do that, too. If a call comes in that requires a bigger screen during the conversation, take it on the tablet. If you only need to take a quick peek at a calendar, take it on the phone.
The service even lets you pick your own number. As mentioned above, if you already have a phone on the service, you can use the same number for both tablet and phone. If you don’t want to use the same number for both devices, you can choose from a pool of available numbers, even numbers from other cities.
Works Like a Phone Even When Dialer App Isn’t Open
Tablets on the service will have a phone dialer app. However, if a phone call is received, the tablet will respond like a phone even if the app isn’t running. This is because the dialer app is similar to a “terminate and stay resident (TSR)” program in Windows. They launch and then run in the background, using minimal resources.
Users will get 200 minutes of voice calls, 500 text messages, and 500 MB of 4G LTE data per month. For free. Yes, you heard me correctly, I said for free. Zip. Zero. No charge. That’s the Basic plan. They also offer plans for twenty bucks that give unlimited everything.
This company looks like it’s going to go places. According to the CEO, Stephen Stokols, just about half of their customers use the free Basic plans, while the other half pay to get more options. Once people find out about them, I see them getting bigger and bigger. I mean, who wouldn’t love totally free phone service, especially when its on their tablet?