I hate how much cell phone companies charge for service. It was manageable when service was only $25-$50, but lately, it seems like you just can’t get away from those high bills after they tack on all the “add-ons” and fees.
FreedomPop Free Mobile Phone Service
Technically, FreedomPop can call it free because they don’t charge a monthly subscription, per se. They do however require a $20 credit on the account if you’re going to go 100% free. They also charge the account $0.01 (one penny) every month to keep service active.
I guess you could say that it’s “FreedomPop 1¢ Mobile Phone Service”
Here’s the short scoop of the service:
First, you either need to have a subsidy unlocked GSM phone, or buy one of theirs. A subsidy unlocked phone is one that is not locked to any carrier – T-Mobile, ATT or another company. Most carriers will allow you to unlock your GSM phone if you’ve been with their service for over a certain period of time. Verizon, Sprint and MetroPCS are not compatible at the time of this article’s publication.
If you have to buy a phone, it’s going to run you $50 and up, but considering that you’ll have free phone service, who’s complaining?
The second caveat to this service is that it is VOIP based, not cellular. What that means is that you have to use an app on your phone to make the calls. The only thing that the actual phone does is connect to the internet, and then all your calls are routed through the Freedompop app.
The voice quality is horrible.
I really can’t recommend using FreedomPop for voice service because it’s just horrible. Many times, calls don’t go through, and if they do, you can’t hear or speak to the other party.
Other times, calls will go through fine, but of those, about 60% will drop if you lose your internet connection or the phone switches to Wi-Fi.
Best For Messaging and Internet
Freedompop service is best used for messaging and internet. The free plan gives you the following monthly allowances:
- 200 Voice Minutes
- 500 Text Messages
- 200MB data
You can sign up for monthly prepaid services, but I really don’t recommend it. The horrible voice quality for even these low prices just isn’t worth it.
I recommend using these sim cards for mobile phones that aren’t used very much, as a backup messaging device, or as a throw-away for Facebook or Twitter text message verification.
The latter is how I use them.
I purchase a FreedomPop SIM card and have it sent to my house. This is pretty straightforward and usually arrives in a week. You can also sometimes find the sim cards if you happen to be in a Best Buy.
When it arrives, I pop the sim card in my subsidy unlocked GSM Phone (Samsung Galaxy S4 or S8), and activate the SIM card.
Note: Freedompop requires you to sign up for their 30-day free trial of the 2GB plan. You will have to use a credit card to activate, but you will not be charged at this point, only after the 30 days.
Lastly, you’ll pick a phone number. Scroll through all the numbers for your desired area code. Often times, you’ll find really good ones. One of my phones ends in 6000 and the other ends in 4200!
After activation, go into your account and remove the free trials.
There are two of them on your account:
- The 30 day trial of the 2GB plan
- “Freedompop premium” service.
The premium service is snuck on to your account. Even if you remove the 30-day trial, you still have to remove premium services separately or you’ll be charged $30!.
After you’ve removed both, then you are all set for your $0.01 mobile service.
Again, best to use this service for activating your online accounts that require a text message verification, light texting, and internet browsing.
Just to give you an idea, some 10 minute YouTube videos will eat up 150MB of data, especially if you’re watching in 720P or 1080P resolution.
The other thing that FreedomPop could be used for is to give you directions through Google maps or WAZE.
In any case, FreedomPop is worth it IF you are careful to remove anything they could charge you for. You have to really sift through your account to turn off all the monthly items that they will charge you for after the free trials.
A HiGHly CaFFeiNaTED PeRsON