FreedomPop Launches In The UK With Free Mobile Plan

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

FreedomPop Launches Free Mobile Service In U.K..

FreedomPop has been operating in the US for three years, with almost one million customers, and 250,000 people in the UK have been using a beta version of the service since May. FreedomPop, the startup that is stirring up the world of mobile carriers with free phone services, is announcing two new advances that will help the company spread its brand to new demographics and new geographies.

LOS ANGELES, CA & LONDON, U.K. – FreedomPop today unveiled new iPhone-Only plans to bring unprecedented value to iPhone 6 users and embolden the impact of Apple’s new financing program.The company, which hit the U.S. market in 2012, is offering U.K. subscribers a package of 200 minutes, 200 texts and 200 MBs of data completely free of charge, though package upgrades can be obtained for a minimal cost.FreedomPop was one of the original Freemium mobile service providers, where a low but free allowance of calls, texts and data is the hook, and premium services are (hopefully) piled on top afterwards.

Two and a half GB of data is enough to send 51,200 text-only emails, surf the web without watching videos for 17 hours, watch 67 five minute YouTube clips or Skype for 127 hours. ‘The U.K. has had many mobile providers and services enter the market, but none of them offer a completely new business model enabling free service, guaranteed for life,’ Stephen Stokols, FreedomPop chief executive and co-founder said. United Kingdom customers going through the signup process will notice a couple of ways in which FreedomPop tries to steer you towards paying for something.

Stokols says that it is talking with another carrier to add its network into the mix, along with a likely tie-up to offload data to WiFi-based broadband connectivity as well. The UK is the first market outside the US to get FreedomPop, which is set to launch in seven other countries in the next 12 months, and cover 20 by 2017. Of course you won’t be able to watch the entire Netflix catalogue with it, as the free tier is targeted at people that use very little data when away from a Wi-Fi network, only using it for sending messages, checking emails and casual browsing.

In addition, FreedomPop will offer a heavier iPhone-Only plan with unlimited talk and text plus 1GB of data for just $19 per month, with the first month 100 percent free. We believe everyone should have access to mobile services, and we’re going to make that a reality in the U.K.” According to a report from MobileWorldLive, the provider’s unique model racked up nearly a quarter million subscribers during the beta launch of its U.K. service in May.

For those who are not familiar with FreedomPop, the carrier does not use its own network, but instead partners with others to pick up capacity, using an innovative platform to buy and use connectivity on demand instead of in bulk like regular ‘virtual’ operators. For now, the free SIM-only plan is FreedomPop’spièce de résistance, but the provider hopes to begin selling subsidized handsets before the end of the year, and bring more “compelling plans and services” to the United Kingdom in due course. This represents a huge discount on the typical price for an iPhone plan in the USA , which typically can cost between $40 and $60 for the lowest-cost services.

The calculation was that many users would eventually relax into the “low-cost overages” and/or opt for a premium $11 per month unlimited calls and texts plan, thus creating the necessary premium for the freemium. This “freemium” model relies on methods of revenue generation outside of traditional subscriptions, such as users purchasing increased allowances, buying additional services such as a second phone number for their phone, or incurring charges by exceeding their allowance. “Right now the iPhone is under 20% on the network”, Stokols says, “which is pretty low and is part of the reason why we’re excited to see Apple moving in a more agnostic direction with respect to how its targeting a wider range of users with financing services”. FreedomPop calls this creating a democratic community of users, where users are free to decide how much they really want to use and what to do with the excess that they have, like sharing it with others. It’s been suggested that relatively low UK mobile pricing is on the way out with the imminent consolidation of O2 and 3, which might make a great opportunity for FreedomPop. But that eventuality is now in greater doubt following the EC competition authorities’ tough stance on the mooted TeliaSonera/Telenor merger in Denmark.

FreedomPop provides disruptive mobile services so that no one is left off the “connected grid.” Founded in 2011, FreedomPop is rewriting the rules of the global telecoms industry and is backed by Mangrove Capital, DCM, Partech Ventures and Skype Founder Niklas Zennstom’s Atomico. While these plans are for people bringing their own phones to the network, FreedomPop is also going to start selling the iPhone 6S to users in October.

The company offers a suite of devices, services, and innovative social sharing and incentive benefits, providing consumers access to free high-speed Internet and mobile phone services worldwide. And it will also have an “offerwall”, where FreedomPop will list various promotions that will “gift” users extra airtime or data in exchange for different actions, like watching ads or downloading apps. FreedomPop has some other ways to monetize its offer – users can hoard unused data allowance, up to 20GB, for when they really need it for £1.49 a month.

There are other low cost deals out there which seem to come in at about the same price without any of the obfuscatory nonsense – giffgaff (O2’s own MVNO) being a good case in point.

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