Smart Money

FreedomPop Review: Is a Free Cell Phone Plan a Scam?

Overall Ranking

4.5/5

Overview

Cost

5/5

Phones

4/5

Service Coverage

4.5/5

You may have heard the rage about the new cell phone service provider that offers free talk, text, and data. It’s called FreedomPop. Is it too good to be true? Find out in our review below.

Editor's Note

You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

When it was first released, many news outlets covered the service from the angle of home users and domestic wireless users. Now, FreedomPop offers global cell phone service as well -- a unique feat for such a cheap provider.

Since it’s hard to beat free, I thought we’d take a look at how all the other features stack up.

What you Get

FreedomPop offers 500MB of data, 200 voice minutes, and 500 text messages in its free monthly plan. This unique feature may be enough to sell you on the service. But for many people, 500MB of data won’t be enough to satisfy their web surfing and video streaming needs. Additional data and service can be purchased for a fee, which we’ll go over in a bit.

You can bring your own compatible device to the FreedomPop network to save money, or purchase one of FreedomPop’s devices. FreedomPop’s selection of phones is limited and doesn’t currently include the newest Samsung Galaxy or iPhone. The phones they do offer, though, typically come at a highly discounted price.

FreedomPop’s coverage map is continually expanding. As of September 2016, FreedomPop phones are serviced in 25 countries. This is unlike any other discount cell phone provider on the market. In fact, most don’t offer international phone service at all! According to FreedomPop, the phone service should be expanding to even more countries in the future.

Additional features include visual voicemail (receive, manage, and store voicemails from a free app) and tethering (turn your phone into a hotspot and connect up to 8 devices wherever you go).

Pricing

As previously mentioned, the free plan won’t cut it for many people. That’s okay, though, because even the paid plans aren’t that pricey. Currently, FreedomPop offers two other paid options: Premium 1GB and Annual 1GB.

Premium 1GB offers unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, and 1GB of data, for only $19.99 per month. Additional data can be purchased at 1.5 cents per MB.

You can save even more money by opting for the Annual 1GB plan. It costs $79.99 per year, which comes out to about $7 per month.

Unused data for either plan rolls over. You can bank up to 20GB of data for use anytime.

*These prices are based on service in the Washington, DC area. Prices may vary depending on your service area.

Pros and Cons of FreedomPop

When considering a discount cell phone service provider, it’s important to compare what you’re getting with what you’re giving up. Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of FreedomPop service:

  • Free 500MB — The first tier of FreedomPop’s service is free. This plan comes with 500MG of data, 200 voice minutes, and 500 text messages. It’s a great option for people who only use their phone for basic necessities. It’s also a great option for a child’s first phone.

  • Low Plan Prices — Even if the free plan doesn’t cut it for you, FreedomPop’s paid plans are not expensive either. At just $19.99 per month or $79.99 per year, you can get 1GB of data, unlimited voice minutes, and unlimited messaging per month. Additional data is available at minimal cost: 1.5 cents per MB for the monthly plan and 2 cents per MB on the annual plan.

  • International Coverage — Unlike most discount cell phone service providers, FreedomPop allows you to use your phone overseas. It currently offers cell phone service in 25 countries and is expanding that coverage. This is a huge benefit for people who travel a lot.

  • Money Back Guarantee — If you aren’t satisfied with your service or FreedomPop cell phone, you can return it to FreedomPop free of charge. There is no cancellation fee. This is great if you want to give FreedomPop a try before you cancel your current cell phone plan.


  • Domestic Coverage Could Be Better — Although FreedomPop offers international coverage, its domestic coverage isn’t perfect.

FreedomPop currently runs on the Sprint network. In fact, many other discount cell phone service providers run on the same network, including Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile. Sprint has been consistently outperformed by other cellular networks, however, as found in various independent studies. Though they’ve improved in recent years, they are known for lagging behind the other carriers in domestic coverage.

Compare Other Options: Republic Wireless vs Straight Talk vs Virgin

Online Signup: Currently, you can only sign up for FreedomPop cell phone service online. This may be a drawback for people who prefer going into a physical store to look at the available phones and speak with someone in person about the services offered.

Customer Support: FreedomPop’s customer support phone line is currently serviced between 9 am and 5 pm PST. This may be inconvenient for people who are used to calling customer support during off-peak hours.

Wrapping Up

It seems that every couple of years, another discount cell phone service provider emerges to compete with the rest. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult to make an informed decision. FreedomPop should definitely be one you consider.

FreedomPop is the only discount cell phone service provider to offer a completely free plan. Although the talk, text, and data are limited, it’s a great option for people who don’t use their phone much or for a child’s first phone.

FreedomPop will work well if you’re tired of signing up for expensive two-year contracts. This discount cell phone provider offers a monthly plan and an annual plan. Both of these come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Related: Is A Prepaid Cell Phone Right For You?

As with most services out there, this review is meant to provide a general overview and not be a definitive endorsement. Its important to consider what you value most in a cell phone provider and make your decision accordingly.

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