Free 4G LTE internet is coming to Wi-Fi-only tablets thanks to FreedomPop.
Forbes reports that FreedomPop is gearing up to release a device that adds 4G LTE connectivity to Wi-Fi-only tablets. The service will be provided by Sprint Nextel's network, but the gadget itself isn't expected to arrive until the second half of 2013.
According to the report, around 90-percent of the tablets owned by consumers is Wi-Fi only. This is a huge market for FreedomPop, as its currently unannounced LTE Clip will provide 500 MB of free 4G LTE connectivity to those devices – customers merely need to pay for the peripheral itself. The gadget will weigh around 2.5-ounces and feature a battery – built into the hinge – promising up to six hours of juice.
FreedomPop already offers a $99 peripheral for the iPod Touch which adds 4G LTE connectivity, Wi-Fi calling via TextPlus, and 6+ hours of battery life. In addition to the free 500 MB monthly plan, users can also receive free data by referring friends to the service and completing offers. There's also the upcoming Home Hub with plans including 10 GB for $10 per month and pay-as-you-go for $0.005 per MB ($5/GB).
The company's new clip will reportedly be compatible with most tablets including the iPad, iPad Mini, the Galaxy Tabs and most Android smartphones. Up to eight devices will be able to connect to the Clip via Wi-Fi connectivity for Internet access. That said, it will have hotspot capabilities while still attached to the parent tablet device.
Previously FreedomPop said it plans to introduce a new "open Wi-Fi" local sharing feature through a software update for its devices. This will allow them to share their broadband access to other local gadgets using two SSIDs. That means anyone nearby can log onto that broadband device through one of the two provided SSIDs, Forbes said.
Also in the works is a 4G USB dongle for laptops.