FreedomPop launches Monday, offering free mobile data across the US to those who have WiMAX coverage and don't look too closely at the small print. The headline promise is clear enough: "100% free high speed internet - any device, anywhere", and the name of Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom lends the project credibility, but …
In an age where you can get a sim only tarrif for a £5 with 500mb+ on it, this seems like a pointless product. You could miss out all those hoops, just by spending what can be found down the back of a sofa.
Not in the USofA
Admittedly I only spend ten minutes or so looking, but apparently that sort of thing just isn't really available in the States. I would be very happy if someone would correct me on this, but it seems that you need to pay through the nose for a data plan or it's voice-and-text only!
Re: Not in the USofA
T-Mobile in the US offers data-only plans (contract and month-to-month) under their "mobile broadband" header.
Re: Not in the USofA
Thanks for the info - maybe not being from the USA makes it more difficult, but they don't seem to make it easy to find the details.
Also, the prices are a bit on the high side - I would probably need a ~1GB on a one month deal if I were to travel to the US, and that would be $25 for 1.5GB on T-Mobile. Here, GiffGaff do 1GB for £7.50.
Re: Not in the USofA
Here is septicland, you can buy a Virgin Mobile wireless hotspot box (CDMA, and won't work anywhere else or on any other carrier) for 40 bucks. And unlimited* 4G data is $35/month (no contract).
Good value for occasional use when traveling or as a backup plan as I have If you have occasional business in the US I would recommend it, or even if you and some mates were here on your hols for a couple of weeks. If you can get a bunch of these, you could do a killing on a rental business. Oh, wait a minute...
* They say unlimited in big letters. Smaller letters at the bottom of the page say 10 gigs of data at 4G, or 2 gigs at 3G.
Caveat Emptor Kids.
Wired or wireless...
In the world of broadband then words tend not to mean what you think they mean. In this case "free" is simply the new "unlimited"
Thanks to The Register!
I had pre-ordered one of these things a couple of months ago. Guess I am writing to cancel this. Right now.
Colonel Walter Hitchcock said it... "Freedom isn't free".
We have Wifi
One thing for everybody to consider: from what I understand, free WiFi is much more commonplace in the US than in the UK - not only do most hotels and motels now have no-additional-charge WiFi, but:
Wendy's (hamburger place)
Burger King (hamburger place)
McDonalds (alleged hamburger place)
Char^WStarbucks (alleged coffee place)
Most independent coffee houses.
iHop (pancake house)
Denny's (pancake and breakfast house)
Many Simon properties malls
If you need data only, you are very likely able to find a WiFi location to use.
Re: We have Wifi
And, while I was thinking about it:
Many rest stops on the Interstates (and some US highways as well)
Some gas stations and truck stops (although many of the truck stops are pay for use).
Casinos (there's a casino on I40 west of Albuquerque that puts out such a strong signal, it reaches across the interstate (which is what you Brits would call a dual carriageway) and to the highway department managed rest stop on the other side - http://maps.google.com/maps?q=acoma+sky+casino+nm&ll=35.073806,-107.554168&spn=0.008061,0.014935&hq=acoma+sky+casino&hnear=New+Mexico&t=h&z=17)
For the US this is a steal, since data here is a ripoff
The local Casino here... charges for Wifi! Yes, it's ON the gambling floor, where people are already shoving huge wads of cash into the machines as fast as possible, but they then want additional money to check E-Mail (the cell service inside is poor.)
Anyway.... VZW's minimum is 1GB a month for $20, AT&T's 300MB for $20. Overage? You don't want to go over -- although there even more expensive plans have $10/GB overage, *these* ones... well.. AT&T's is $68.20 a GB ($20 per 300MB) overage... VZW $15/300MB ($51.15/GB) overage. Damn! Oh, yeah... US Cellular also has 300MB for $20 (but their 2GB is $25). I wonder if anyone seriously tries to save that $5/month?
So, in comparison this is a steal. Actually, you can get MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) service through these very same carriers and get data for like half the cost. But it's still more than this costs.