FreedomPop Review: Free 4G Wireless Internet Access Can Help You Save On Your Cell Phone Bill

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post talking about a couple of ways that people could reduce their spending on their wireless phone bill, or on their mobile data usage.   I talked about a couple of services that I had considered signing up for that were both potentially free. One was a cell service provider that when you shared the service with friends and they signed up, you would get money off on your bill for as long as your friends used the service.   Potentially you could end up making money as well.

The other service that I mentioned was a 3G/4G wireless data provider called FreedomPop.  Basically with FreedomPop you are able to get 500MB of free 4G data every month, all you have to do is sign up for the service and put down a refundable deposit on one of their wireless hotspots.

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After writing about the service I was pretty intrigued, and when my month of service with my Virgin Mobile hotspot ran out, I jumped in and signed up for FreedomPop.

So today I thought I would give a quick review of FreedomPop, talking about what the service is, why it’s such a great deal and how it could potentially save you a lot of money.

FreedomPop – What It Is

freedompop FreedomPop is a startup high speed wireless internet company that aims to give free fast internet to everyone.   Here’s from their about page:

FreedomPop’s mission is to deliver free, fast, wireless internet to all.

Through our innovative model, FreedomPop is able to offer customers 500MB of free high speed internet per month — this at a time when wireless internet providers are increasing prices, throttling speeds, and adding additional fees for access. The FreedomPop solution offers consumers a free alternative, which we believe will help to restore balance to the wireless data industry and will help to ensure that no American is left off the digital grid.

FreedomPop’s high speed wireless internet service runs on Clearwire’s 4G WiMax network. The service will expand to include Sprint’s 4G LTE network in 2013.

While their free service is the thing everyone trumpets, you can also sign up for premium packages with FreedomPop, which are all at rates much lower than their competitors.

Signing Up For FreedomPop

Signing up for FreedomPop was extremely easy.  You just go to their site, enter your zip code and email address, and then it will tell you if they have service in your area. Luckily for me they had it available in the Twin Cities.

From there you’ll be taken to a page where you choose what plan you’d like to sign up for. All of their plans are month to month, and you can cancel at any time.  The free option, which I signed up for, offers you 500MB of free data every month, but honestly, you can get much more free data than that if you engage on their site. More about that later.  So here are their available plans, although only the free plan, the 2GB and 4GB plans are offered when you sign up:

freedompop plans

When you choose the free plan you’ll also be offered a $2.99/month “FreedomPop Speed Plus” option, that will guarantee no speed throttling and consistent upload/download speeds.  If you want a truly free service, you can skip this.

After choosing your service you pick your device.  They have 7 of them available when you sign up.

  • Freedom Stick – Bolt: A USB stick that you plugin to your laptop or other device. Can be used on one device at a time. There is a $39 refundable deposit for this device.
  • Freedom Spot – Photon: This is a 4G wireless hotspot, a hockey puck type hotspot. Can be used with up to 8 Wi-Fi devices at a time, and there is a $89 refundable deposit.
  • Freedom Sleeve Rocket: This is an Ipod Touch 4 sleeve, that slips onto the back of your Ipod Touch and basically turns it into an Iphone. Also acts as a hotspot for up to 8 devices.  There is a $99 price tag for this device.
  • Freedom Hub Burst: This is a home internet hub that is launching soon.  It gives you a 4G modem and wireless router. Connect up to 10 devices and it will give you 1GB of free 4G internet every month.
  • Freedom Spot – Overdrive Pro: Another hotspot that was just launched with both 3G and 4G. It’s the same one used by Virgin Mobile when I used their mobile data, but currently only $49.99 versus $99.99 when i bought it at Virgin!  The 3G service was just launched as of Spring 2013 on the Sprint network, and they anticipate having LTE later in 2013. If you want 3G service it will cost you $3.99/month for the Pro 500MB plan with both 3G and 4G.
  • Freedom Spot MiFi 4082: 3G/4G coverage as well in this hotspot, and you can get one for only $34.99 right now through this link: MiFi 4082
  • Freedom Spot MiFi 500 LTE: FreedomPop’s first LTE hotspot, currently listed at $149.

So you have several options of what kind of 4G connection you can get, 2 of them with refundable deposits, and one with a $99 price tag.  The Overdrive Pro has both 3G/4G connections, and a low price of only $49.99, although that may be for a limited time.  Their first LTE hotspot, the MiFi 500 LTE, offers a fast LTE connection, although it costs quite a bit more to start at $149.

UPDATE: As of October 2013, you can also sign up for the new FreedomPop Freedom Phone Cell Service as well – a  cell phone with no monthly cost!

After choosing your device you’ll enter your credit card and shipping  information and you’re done. The device you choose will be shipped out by FedEx.

NOTE: By default your new account will be set to auto charge your linked credit card once you get within 100MB of your alloted data amount. You can disable that feature if you want in your billing settings. I did.

Unboxing My Mobile Hotspot Device

I received my mobile hotspot about 4 days after I placed my order. I was excited to give it a try, here’s a quick video showing the unboxing of my Photon hotspot.


As you can see from the video the hotspot comes in a nice box that includes the hotspot, a quick start guide, a USB cable and a AC adapter for charging. It’s a tiny little device, so small that I forget that I have it in my pocket at times.

FreedomPop Photon hotspot

The Service So Far

I’ve been using my device for a week or so, and so far the results have been mixed.  I live in an outer ring suburb of Minneapolis, and according to their site I should have 4G coverage in my neighborhood.  So far I haven’t been able to get a signal there, however. Once I get just a couple miles closer to the inner ring suburbs, however, I get a nice clear 4G signal.  The closer to Minneapolis/St. Paul I get, the better the signal is.

I’m fine with that because the place I’d be most likely to use this device is when I’m at work, and driving to and from work.  In those places I get a nice clear signal, and good upload/download speeds. Here’s a test I ran from Speedtest.net, although speeds have been even faster at times:

Download: 6898 kbps
Upload: 1625 kbps
Ping: 96 ms

So all in all the speeds are pretty good. They’re comparable to the speeds I was getting on the Virgin Mobile 4G hotspot, and since my home DSL connection stinks, it’s actually faster than that connection.

The bottom line is this.  When I get a 4G signal, the hotspot works great! Not bad for a free service!

Getting Extra Free Data

When you signup for the free plan you only get 500MB of free data. For a low user of mobile data like myself – someone who mainly checks email and my sites when I’m on the go – that may be enough data for the month. If you like doing other things though, like streaming audio and video, that may not be enough data.  While you can purchase extra data for .02 cents/MB when you’re on the free plan, there is another way to get more data without paying.

Connecting With Friends

When you sign up for the service they’ll give you the option to connect with friends and people you know, they call it Freedom Friends.  You can login to your email and have it check your contacts to see if anyone else you know is using the service as well. If they are, you can connect with them, and each of you will get an extra 10MB of data a month.  If people aren’t, you can invite them.

I’ve connected with a bunch of other people and get an extra 500MB of data every month because of it.

NOTE: Want to connect with me and get free data?  Send me an email through the contact page with your FreedomPop email, and I’ll send you an invite to connect and we can both get free data!

Completing Offers For Data

You can also get free data for your account by completing offers, taking surveys, downloading software and more on the FreedomPop site.   The offers range from pay for services like Netflix and FreeCreditReport.com, to free email newsletters and games. If you’re going to do this I suggest signing up for a free email account from Gmail or Hotmail to use on the offers.

I’ve gone in and actually completed enough of the free offers at this point to earn an extra 391MB of data for my first month on the service. So that means my first month I’ll have over 900MB of data for free!

earn more data

FreedomPop: A Great Way To Save On Wireless Bills

I’ve been using the FreedomPop service only for a short time, but so far I’ve been impressed. When I’m in a 4G area the speeds for both uploads and downloads are very good, and you can’t beat the price. Not only can you get 500MB of free data, but if you connect with friends and complete offers you can end up with tons of extra data every month.  Now that they’ve added 3G service as a backup for only $3.99/month, it’s even better.

Using their service can be a great way for people to cut back on their monthly wireless cell phone bills. Why pay for extra data with your plan when you can supplement your cell plan with FreedomPop?  Scale down to a cheaper plan, and use a hotspot for surfing while you’re on the go.  Better yet, get a pre-paid cell phone with no data, and use this as your data plan like I do!  Or you can buy a non-activated Android phone and use a free voice calls solution using Google Voice + GrooVeIP + free Wi-Fi and 4G data from FreedomPop ! It will end up saving you hundreds of dollars in the long run, possibly even in the short term if your plan is expensive enough!

Get More Details About FreedomPop – Click Here

Have you tried FreedomPop, or have questions about the service? Tell us in the comments!

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Last Edited: 24th March 2014

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Comments

    Share Your Thoughts:

  1. says

    I’ve had FreedomPop now for about a week (btw, email me and we can connect on FP for more data!). I am also finding holes in my service as I get close to home. It appears to be 4G *only* and will not pick up 3G. That’s fine, I just turn it off while at home (and even in the office) as I have WiFi in those locations. Really great to turn an old iPhone 3G without SIM card into a really useful device on the go. I also have a couple of old Android phones that are going to be without cell service. With google voice and GrooVe IP app, they become phones in the FreedomPop network. Pretty cool.

    • says

      I sent a Freedom Friend request to your email – sent it to both, not sure which you’re using.

      Yeah, since the hotspot is 4G only, that does mean no 3G service – which is something my Virgin hotspot had as a failover. That is a downside, but since most of the areas I use it in are 4G, it’s not a huge one.

      I’d like to hear more about how you use the GrooVe IP app to get the phone service. I’m sure it’s similar to what I’m doing through the linked page above, but would be interested to hear.

      • says

        Peter, We’re now connected.

        Sipdroid just looked too confusing to set up. GrooVe IP uses Google Talk to do the voip. You just log into your Google Account in the App, and you can make and receive calls.

        I have two 8 year old boys that would love to have a phone. I would not love to pay for them having a phone. We are getting free phones (no contract, really free phones) to replace our old Android phones, which will then be disabled on the cell network. We are going to give them to our boys. They can use them as phones anywhere there is WiFi, including FreedomPop.

  2. says

    This is great Peter. I will definitely check it out. This will allow me to take my data plan on Verizon down to the minimum. And it will be nice not to have to worry about finding a hot spot for my iPad or Laptop. There seems to be no reason not to get it.

  3. Evol Me says

    I wish I known about this before I sign up with sprint for two year contract. I have 4g and pay $70.00 a month. I wonder if it will be cheaper if I cancel? I may lose my deposit

  4. Steve says

    Bought this from freedompop directly. Charged $95.99. After purchasing I noticed the hidden charges in fine print and decided to return. Returned the unopened package. Refunded only $80.75. If anybody is looking for cheap internet for occasional use without any hidden charges and better coverage through Sprint network try ‘Internet on the go’ available through walmart.

    • says

      I’m not sure what hidden charges you’re referring to? I’ve been using FreedomPop for several months now and I’ve never paid more than the initial purchase price for the hotspot? Also, that “internet on the go” product you mention is still a pay-for service, with 1GB of data on a 30 day plan costing $10, versus free for me on FreedomPop after adding friends. That’s not going to blow the budget, but still not free like FreedomPop.

  5. Steve Garrett says

    Just got my Freedom Stick and it works fine. Lets both get some more data!
    Thanks for the review…..

  6. nancy silva says

    this thing i have 3 computers they wont work on nothing its slow as a mouse i need to send it back

  7. bob says

    Do they have a fee for not using the device for one month?
    Has anyone been charged ongoing fees for the basic free service?
    Do you get to keep your 10mb/friend every month, or just the month you connected with them? If you keep the extra Mb every subsequent month, what is the max?
    Any reviews for the freedompop EVO phone? Any 911 fees? Please review this phone service!

    • says

      I believe if you don’t use the device there is an inactivity fee of some sort. I haven’t been charged because I use my device every month. It’s all included in the terms when you sign up. I have not paid any ongoing fees for the free service. Only time I have paid is when I had a month where I used over my alloted free data amount. You get the 10MB per friend every month. I was able to get 500MB extra, for a total of 1GB data for free.

      I just did a basic review of the FreedomPop Freedom PHone this past week here: FreedomPop Phone.

      I’m still trying to see if I can get a review phone from FreedomPop as I know my readers would love to hear how the service works. Thanks!

  8. tina jacobs says

    What happens if you order this and I don’t work? Can I return for a full refund? Is there a trial period to make sure its going to work?

  9. Lou says

    I am thinking of getting freedompop spot 4g/3g mifi i live in maine do you know if reception is ok or not i know it is 3g and how much data per month

    • says

      I don’t have the MiFi myself, but if you go to the FreedomPop site and click on the “coverage” link at the bottom of the page, you can see what kind of coverage they have in your neck of the woods out in Maine. I believe the data plan will be the same 500MB free, and then paid plans from there. Good luck!

  10. Chris says

    500 mb is a very very small amount of data. That’s less than half a gigabyte. You wouldn’t be able to stream anything at all or you’d waste all that data is minutes. This does not seem suitable for a lot of peoples needs.

    • says

      I personally do not stream a lot of movies or video while I’m on the go. I usually do that when I’m at home on my regular wi-fi. So if you’re a high user of online video, it probably won’t be enough for you. They do have plans, however, that you can add additional data to your service if you need to. Also, don’t forget to get extra data by connecting with other users..

    • says

      I use it during my commute to offset data charges (since I’m mostly around wifi when not commuting). I’ve also referred enough people to get 1GB.

    • Marlene says

      You get 1 GB of data free when using the hub burst, stick and mifi. The mobile cell phones get 500 mb free and 200 talk and unlimited text. Im having trouble figuring out whether the stick uses up data faster than the hub burst does. I went through 1.5 GB in 4 days just reading news and emails and my son watches an hours worth of youtube videos each day. If it helps to know my computer only gets a 3G signal. The data goes really fast with the stick/bolt. Does anyone know if the hub burst takes up the same data with a 3G signal?

      • says

        Your son watching an hours worth of YouTube videos a day is likely what is causing the data to add up so quick, not reading news and emails. Video is data intensive, so no matter which device you’re using, the data usage will likely be about the same. It’s about the content you’re consuming that’s taking up so much data – not the device. Good luck!

  11. J.Michelle Phillips says

    I’m sorry to inform you that Freedom Pop isn’t all that It seems to be. I was having problems with T-Mobile and went online to find another company. I pulled up (low income programs in Georgia cellphones / internet). See I receive SSI ($733.00 a month), Medicaid, Section 8 and was getting Food Stamps ($70.00 but I lost them because all this), so you can see I can’t afford very much and sent my car broke down I depend a lot on the internet even more that the governments programs are all done online these days. Anyways, Sept. 30, 2014 about 8:30pm. I came across Freedom Pop and called them up. I told the lady how I came across their website by way of low income programs website along with what happen with T-Mobile. She was very nice and helped me set up my order that cost me $39.99 with a free Hotspot. Well it arrived Oct. 17 and couldn’t get it turned on until Oct. 20. I thought everything was fine until I went online on Oct. 31 to see if my check was posted yet. It was but there was $140.00 missing. Freedom Pop told me while we where setting up everything Sept. 30 that my first 30 days was going to be free. Remember the Hotspot was turned on Oct. 20. So on Sept. 30, 2014 Freedom Pop took $39.99 Sept. 30-Oct. 30 monthly service, Oct 25 $10.00 top-up, Oct. 26 $10.00 top-up, Oct. 27 $10.00 top-up, Oct. 29 $10.00 top-up, Oct. 30-Nov. 30 $29.98 monthly service. It took me a few days to get a hold of someone from Freedom Pop, by this time Freedom Pop had charged my account $40.00 in top-ups ( your only aloud 3 top-ups every 30 days not 4) and $29.98 for service with no pro-rates. Now I didn’t get my free 30 days that I was told. So at this time Freedom Pop took a total of $109.88 ( this isn’t counting $80.00 in bank fees). On Nov. 10, I got a ride to my bank to ask them about Freedom Pop they told me to close the account down. I came home and did so along with taking the battery back out of the Hotspot that I couldn’t get support to help me with. The last time I was using the Hotspot was Nov. 7 and the account was closed Nov. 10, 2014. Freedom Pop and I talked on Nov. 10 and I told them that I had gone to my bank and informed them that Freedom Pop didn’t have any rights to enter into my account and showed the bank manager the website and was told to take legal action against Freedom Pop if they don’t return the extra money that was removed. I just found out not only did Freedom Pop remove more money from my account but the account I closed down on Nov. 10, 2014, but it was open back up with my debit card information. Freedom Pop took Nov. 30- Dec.30 $29.89 monthly service, Nov. 30 $1.99 top-up and Dec. 30- Jan. 30 $29.98. Like I said I closed the account Nov. 10, 2014. From Sept. 30, 2014 to Jan.7, 2015 Freedom Pop got a total of $171.74. Like Freedom Pop say when they do answer their phone ( Internet is a right not a privilege). I will be taking legal action and turning over all my account information over to the Better Business Bureau. I have always worked hard labor jobs and was in the upper middle class till I got hurt and then fell sick. It is hard enough to go from that life style to getting on government assisted and having companies take what little I have left.

  12. Ernest Warner says

    I purchased the Freedom ‘hub’ for about $100.00 w/shipping. I unpacked it and traded it for my AT&T router with ‘Uverse’. I had AT&T’s fastest speed, so I was thinking I wonder how slow the Freedompop (using Sprint) will be? After having it for four months now I can say it is every bit as fast and I have never experienced any outages or any problems with it whatsoever. I have great Sprint coverage where I live as the hub has 5 lights for strength and all five are always lit. The cost was $18.99/mo, which they just increased to $21.99/mo. The only downside is it is for 10GB of data. After that you are done. You can buy more but it is very costly, I believe 5GB more is about $17.

  13. Joy says

    Hi Peter,

    I realize you posted this nearly three years ago so I’m wondering if you’re still using FreedomPop. If so, has it improved? If not, why not and what service did you change to?

    I’m with the dreaded Comcast/Xfinity and I would love to “cut the cord” but I’m need to know I’m replacing it with at least level quality and, hopefully, a lower price.

    Thoughts?

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