FreedomPop is now offering the iPhone under its free service plan, offering 200 voice minutes, 500 text messages and 500 MBs of data to customers gratis with the option of upgrading to bigger bucket plans starting at $ 5 month. The mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) on Sprint’s network is not only offering a refurbished iPhone 5 directly to customers for $ 349, but also inviting them to bring old off-contract Sprint iPhones (the 4, 4S and 5) to its growing community.
FreedomPop is also launching its own over-the-top (OTT) iOS app, which allows customers on other carriers to maintain a virtual phone on top of their existing service plans.
While the service is similar to over-the-top calling and messaging apps like WhatsApp and Viber, which are already freely available in the app stores, FreedomPop is assigning every user a new phone number. According to CEO Stephen Stokols, FreedomPop is using the app as Trojan horse in hopes that users will eventually abandon their carriers and sign up for service directly with FreedomPop in the future.
The move to the iPhone, though, marks a big step for FreedomPop since it opens up its service to the other half of the potential smartphone market in the U.S. after launching its free phone service in October on older refurbed Android phones. The iPhone 5 will also be its first LTE device, which promises to deliver better voice quality for VoIP service.
Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:
Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.
- What happened in mobile in the fourth-quarter 2013
- Gigaom Research predictions for 2014
- Sponsored Research: How empowering workers enhances business communication