What Is FreedomPop, and Is It Worth It?

FreedomPop takes its name quite literally, offering a wireless plan where you won't have to pay a thing each month for talk, text and data. The trade-off for this freedom, though, is a pretty low ceiling on just how much you can talk, text and surf from your phone.

What other trade-offs do you make when turning to FreedomPop for your wireless service? Here's a closer look at what the carrier offers potential customers.

What network does FreedomPop use?

As a mobile virtual network operator, FreedomPop uses another carrier's towers to provide its cellular service. In FreedomPop's case, that's two carriers. After relying on Sprint's network for years, FreedomPop added AT&T in late 2016.

While Sprint has worked to improve its network, it has the slowest LTE speeds of the Big Four carriers, according to our testing, so it's good that AT&T is part of the mix. When you sign up with FreedomPop, you get to pick a SIM card or phone that works on either carrier's network.

What phones can you use with FreedomPop?

FreedomPop now sells some additional phones — mostly older, cheaper models like the second-generation Moto E, the LG G4, LG Tribute 2 and Kyocera Hydro Icon. Its selection of refurbished phones is more extensive and includes some 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.

FreedomPop has added family plans to its arsenal, with families drawing from one pool of data.

You can bring your own phone to use on FreedomPop — either a Sprint locked phone (meaning that it hasn't been used on any other network) or any unlocked GSM phone. FreedomPop charges $20 to activate your phone, and you'll pay another $10 to move your phone number over to the carrier. (There's a list of supported carriers for transferring your phone number, but it includes all of the major players.)

A SIM card normally costs $9.99 if you use FreedomPop's SIM-only phone service, though the carrier runs promotions that heavily discount the card.

What are the best FreedomPop plans?

FreedomPop's plans start with a free option, though it's pretty limited. You get 200 minutes of talk, 500 text messages and 500MB of data. Monthly rates kick in once you opt for unlimited talk and text, with the monthly bill increasing as you add more data. However, the price differs depending on whether you use one of FreedomPop's phones, or bring your own GSM device.

For BYOD customers, plans start at $12.99 for 1GB of data and scale up to $26.99 for a 3GB data plan. To put that in context, 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.

Plan
Talk
Text
Data
Monthly Cost
Basic 500
200 minutes
500 texts
500MB
Free
Premium GSM 1GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
1GB
$12.99
Premium GSM 2GB
Unlimited
Unlimited2GB
$19.99
Premium GSM 3GB
Unlimited
Unlimited3GB
$26.99

Strangely, if you opt for one of the carrier's own phones, you'll end up paying a little more every month – though you'll also have the option to buy a 4GB plan, which isn't available to other customers.

Plan
Talk
Text
Data
Monthly Cost
Basic 500
200 minutes
500 texts
500MB
Free
Premium 1GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
1GB
$19.99
Premium 2GB
Unlimited
Unlimited2GB
$24.99
Premium 3GB
Unlimited
Unlimited3GB
$29.99
Premium 4GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
4GB
$34.99

Confusingly, FreedomPop also offers data-only plans, with no talk and text features. Here, the free option offers just 500MB of data and access to the carrier's 4G LTE network exclusively. Spend $3.99 a month, and you'll get the Pro 500MB plan, which adds support for FreedomPop's 3G network. After that, rates increase to $28.99 per month for 3GB, $34.99 for 4GB, $39.99 for 5GB, and $74.99 for 10GB. Curiously, these plans cost more on average than their counterparts with talk and text.

Buy a SIM card from FreedomPop and the carrier will give you 2GB of free 4G LTE data for the first month; after that, you'll be bumped up to a paid plan for the SIM service. You have to log in to your FreedomPop account to select the free option (and its low data allotment) if you want to avoid charges.

FreedomPop also offers family plans, with each member of the family drawing from one pool of data. The base plan offers 1GB of LTE data, and FreedomPop bills it as a free option, though you will have to pay $5 per line. As a little bonus, FreedomPop currently throws in a free 50MB of data per line, which helps grow the pool of data for larger families. Other data tiers include 2GB for $14.99, 4GB for $34.99, 10GB for $74.99 and 25GB for $159.99, with unlimited talk and text. You can have up to 10 lines on a FreedomPop family plan.

If you go over your allotted data, it'll cost $0.015 per MB in most plans. Subscribers on the free plan, meanwhile, pay $0.02 per MB. 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, and whatever excess charges you incur will be taken from that credit.

What special features does FreedomPop offer?

FreedomPop supports Wi-Fi Calling, a feature that allows you to make calls and send texts over Wi-Fi. It's handy if you're using the carrier's free service with its caps on texts and talk time, as you'll be able to use Wi-Fi for a lot of your calling and texting needs.

Other special features include mobile hotspot support. FreedomPop also features rollover data, in which up to 500MB per month of unused data can carry over to the next month. Rollover costs $3.99 per month, but another option, Rollover Plus, costs $6.99 and lets you carry over up to 1GB of data. Your unused data doesn't expire, though you are capped at storing 20GB for the standard Rollover plan and 40GB for Rollover Plus. You can also earn data by referring friends to FreedomPop.

What do customers say about FreedomPop?

FreedomPop has a B rating from the Better Business Bureau, receiving 3.74 out of 5 stars. Roughly two-thirds of the 419 user reviews posted there are positive, while a third are negative. FreedomPop's rating is lower at TrustPilot, where it averages a 5.3 out of 10 from 760 user reviewers.

User reviews praise the free plan FreedomPop provides and generally applaud the responsiveness of customer service, though FreedomPop's customer service also gets its share of pans. There are some complaints about call quality, and a few users have taken issue about FreedomPop's SIM cards arriving preactivated.

FreedomPop's plans start with a free option, though it's pretty limited.

A review posted on The Motley Fool in 2015 painted a mixed picture for FreedomPop. The carrier's low prices and customer service both earned kudos, but the reviewer eventually dropped FreedomPop due to dropped calls and data connections, along with issues getting an iPhone running on the service.

Bottom Line

If your wireless needs are very limited — a few calls and texts here and some light data use there — you can save serious cash each month by turning to FreedomPop. The availability of family plans increases the service's appeal, though navigating through FreedomPop's multiple pricing options can be a bit frustrating. There are also limitations involving which devices you can use, and if Sprint's or AT&T’s networks don't serve your needs, you may want to turn to another carrier.

Credit: Freedom Pop

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  • zzr600s
    It seems like a great deal, but beware! Phone service gets repeatedly disconnected (my experience in NYC) and you get charged for services even if you cancel the plan. The CEO Stephen Stokols even responded to me that they are aware of the many complaints and they want to change towards more transparency, but I have been billed again for a service that I had cancelled before. This is the worst service I have experienced in my 40+ years.
  • fubarfizz
    FreedomPop has HORRIBLE customer service and they will not refund you anything, even for accidental double orders. I accidentally ordered a phone twice because their website wans't refreshing. They wouldn't cancel the order and said I needed to refuse the 2nd phone when it ships, then I would get a refund. Well, while I did have 2 tracking numbers, only 1 phone showed up. I never refused the 2nd phone because it didn't come at all! So I disputed the 2nd charge with my bank and they reversed it. In response, FreedomPop canceled my account and banned me from ever opening one with them again. So I am being punished for their lack of communication and lack of proper customer service (I work in customer service management). I have reported them to the BBB, also.

    Steer clear of this company. While the service is OK when it works, their customer service and their TOS both need some work to cater to the customer's needs. The fact that you have to pay an extra $5.99 should be a BIG RED FLAG. Customer service should be free to all.
  • stt0616sjs
    Are you you serious of giving FreedomPop a good review?? You all had never tried calling their numbers to get all staffs asking if you 'Is your calling for an existing account or to activate a services' and no matter what you tell them if it's slightly different from the question, they'll auto transfer you to the "Support or tech line" which asked you 1. press 1 if you're an existing account or 2. if you don't have an existing account. If you pressed 2, it will end the call after an auto response. I got hang up/transfer 10 times with the staffs automatically when I called them no matter what I said if it doesn't relates to having an account with them. Serious the worst company customer services I had talked to. They top At&T with the worst. I couldn't even get past the first stage; yet, have the chance to get to any of your stages mentioned.