A new mobile broadband service is about to be publicly tested courtesy of FreedomPop, the startup that launched its manifesto last year promising free wireless broadband for all.
The beta version provides 500MB of free data each month, with revenue coming from a range of other additional services. These include a $2.99-per-month upgrade to premium support, which will provide device replacement and five-star customer care.
So what’s new about FreedomPop?
Any inquiring business development associate, product manager and chief technology officer will no doubt be asking what makes FreedomPop stand out from the crowd. For one thing, it’ll be offering a free data stick and a free mobile hotspot. Users will be asked to make a refundable “deposit” of $49 for the data stick and $89 for the mobile hotspot.
Those who need more than 500MB of data a month can get access to extra at rates appreciably lower than those currently on offer from traditional carriers. A monthly fee of just $10 will bump capacity to 1 GB and $34.99 will secure a thumping 5GB.
FreedomPop’s beta comes at a time when mobile platforms are attracting growing interest from small and medium sized businesses seeking innovative new advertising formats. We recently reported that 72 percent of SMBs are planning to maintain or increase their spend on mobile advertising in the coming year, and the Association of Online Publishers is urging ad agencies to take mobile much more seriously if they want to generate more revenue.
More to come
Commenting on the launch, FreedomPop CEO Stephen Sokols said, “It’s a true beta. We approach it as a Web company. We are going to work out the kinks.”
A little further down the road, the carrier has plans for add-on sleeves that will lend the iPod Touch mobile broadband capabilities as well as providing a mobile hotspot for the iPhone. That little package will cost $99, and is expected to make its debut within the next month to six weeks.
In 2013, the company has plans to move into LTE service via the Sprint network and provide a new dongle giving Android tablets and iPads broadband capabilities (at present, they’re mainly sold with WiFi capabilities only).
FreedomPop may be an acorn just now, but with its versatility it has ambitions to become an impressive oak.