FreedomPop Review (2019 Update): Truly Free Cell Phone Service

 

I have younger kids, but I suspect I only have a couple of years before being pestered for cell phones. Though my intention is to keep my kids cell phone free until high school, this is probably not a fight I can win. I see kids only a little older than my own hooked to their phones, and it’s only a matter of time before they want one too.

Is there a free cell phone service that would be a good fit for families like mine? What if you don’t want to sign up for a long, expensive contract just to have a phone?

FreedomPop runs on the Sprint network and offers a totally free cell phone plan offers 500 MB of 4G data, 200 voice minutes, and 500 texts. You can upgrade to 500 MBs of data and unlimited text and talk for 13.99. Plans go up from there depending on how much data you use. 

FreedomPop is not the ideal service provider for everyone. But it offers both totally free and pretty darn cheap options to fit a number of different budgets. Here’s what you need to know about their offerings, their pricing model, and their customer service:

FreedomPop’s Services

Signing up with FreedomPop gives you a range of various types of cell phone services:

The Free Cell Phone Service

FreedomPop’s big claim to fame is their completely free cell phone service, which offers 500MB of 4G data in addition to 200 voice minutes and 500 texts. Keep in mind sending and receiving texts will eat up your data.

In addition to being completely free, FreedomPop does not require any contracts and there are no cancellation fees or any of the other don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out fees customers often have to bear with other mobile service providers. The company uses the Sprint network. Check out FreedomPop’s coverage area:

You’ll probably recognize that 500MB of data is pretty low for any regular data users–including anyone who likes to stream music from their phones or anyone who has a teenager under their roof. FreedomPop specifically states that their free service is meant for light users. Which means being able to check email and browse Facebook rather than watch YouTube videos in all of your downtime.

What happens if you go over your data allotment? That’s where things can go a little awry with your FreedomPop bill if you do not remain vigilant. Once you get to the final 100 MB of data usage in a given month, FreedomPop automatically charges you $20 to “top up” your plan. Users receive an email notifying them of the imminent charge. Allowing the opportunity to disallow the charge before it hits their account. You can also opt-out of the auto-charge entirely on the FreedomPop website.

Purchasing and Earning Additional Data

Users taking advantage of the free service can increase their data in three ways without having to use the top-up option:

  1. You can pay $0.02 per additional MB of data that you use. This option is potentially pricey. Your account will automatically be charged this amount if you go over your data usage once you have turned off the top-up option. You can receive email alerts that you are about to overspend your data, but those alerts cost an additional fee per month.
  2. You can invite friends to join FreedomPop through a program called Freedom Friends. For every friend who signs up and sticks with the service, you receive an additional 5 MB of data per month, per friend. Up to 10 friends (50MBs of data.)
  3. You can complete offers, take surveys, and download software in order to earn free data from FreedomPop. These offers, surveys, and downloads come from services like Netflix, FreeCreditReport.com, and online games and newsletters.

Learn more about Freedompop here.

Paid Cell Phone Service Options

Need more? FreedomPop offers several paid options.

$13.99 Per Month Unlimited Talk and Text Monthly with 500 MB of Data

With this plan, you get unlimited talk and text with 500 MB of Data. As with the free option, you will either have your data automatically topped up once you have used 400 MB of data or if you opt-out of the automatic top-up, you will pay $0.02/MB over your data limit. If you sign up for this option, you get the first 14 days free.

$22.99 Per Month Unlimited Talk and Text with 1GB of Data

For the low price of $22.99 a month, you get unlimited talk, text, and 1 GB of data. As with all the plans you will be subject to the $20 top-up charge if you get close to your data limit, or if you opt-out of the automatic top-up you will pay $.02 per MB over your limit.

Want Even More Data?

Freedompop offers several other plans that have unlimited talk and text with varying amounts of data.

  • $24.99 for unlimited talk, text, and 2GB of data
  • $29.99 for unlimited talk, text, and 3GB of data
  • $34.99 for unlimited talk, text, and 4GB of data

FreedomPop Price: Starts at $0/month Disrupting the mobile phone space means more than cutting the cost of service. There are also no lengthy contracts, generous 90-day warranties, and a completely free monthly service for people who prefer smaller plans. CHECK RATES FreedomPop We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Buy a Phone/Device from FreedomPop or BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

When you join FreedomPop, you can either buy a phone or device directly from them or bring your own Sprint-compatible device. FreedomPop offers a large array of phone, tablet, and device options. Some of these are refurbished name brands and some are FreedomPop proprietary devices.

No matter which way you go, it’s easy to navigate signing up on FreedomPop’s website. As you go through the process, you’ll need to check availability in your area. If you are using your own phone, it needs to be an unlocked device. FreedomPop will help verify your phone is eligible and set up properly to use with their services. You’ll also need to download the FreedomPop App as most of their services flow through it.

Customer Service

The FreedomPop website is not the most user-friendly site I have navigated. You might find yourself somewhat confused as to what your options are, particularly if you, like me, wouldn’t know the difference between 4G and LTE if they both bit you. Several reviewers have criticized FreedomPop’s site for being difficult to navigate and unclear when it comes to additional fees and costs. Unfortunately, you can only sign up for FreedomPop’s services via the website.

However, in addition to the site, there is a customer service line for current customers who are experiencing difficulties. As with many cell phone service providers, the customer service side may not be as good as the technology. But many reviewers maintain that patience pays off with FreedomPop’s customer service.

Related: How to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill

The Bottom Line

FreedomPop is a truly free mobile and data service, which is nothing to sneeze at. Their business model does require frugal users to keep careful track of their data usage in order to ensure that the service remains free–but honestly, that seems like a small price to pay for staying connected for zero dollars.

Considering the fact that FreedomPop requires no commitment or contract, and levies absolutely no cancellation fees, it is an excellent option for anyone looking to lower their cell phone costs. FreedomPop could be the answer you’ve been looking for when it comes to kids and teens wanting their own cell phones.

Get started with FreedomPop!

FreedomPop Review

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FreedomPop

9

Rating

9.0/10

Pros

  • Free mobile and Internet service
  • No contract
  • No cancellation fees

Cons

  • Website difficult to navigate
  • Free data limited to 500 MB
About Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is a former English teacher and respected personal finance blogger. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her engineer husband and two high-energy little boys. She has written four books: The Five Years Before You Retire, Choose Your Retirement, Making Social Security Work For You, and End Financial Stress Now. Emily's thoughts on parenting and life in general are found at The SAHMnambulist.

Comments

  1. Xyz from Financial Path. says

    amazing, who knew I could get that for free!