FreedomPop, Intel to launch "WiFi first" smartphone
(Image Credit: alexsl)
Budget MVNO FreedomPop will continue to disrupt traditional operators' billing model with the launch of a "WiFi first" smartphone in collaboration with Intel. FreedomPop provides a free sim to its customers with 200 minutes, 200 texts and 200MB of 4G data each month, with fair charges for going over this amount.
Few people use a large amount of their minutes and texts on their current plans, and instead opt to use OTT services like WhatsApp and Skype which use data instead. For this reason, a large amount of people would go over the free 200MB available in FreedomPop's basic package.
With the increasing amount of free WiFi spots available, some users could get their usage within this amount. FreedomPop is collaborating with Intel to release a phone in 2016 which prioritises the use of WiFi hotspots wherever possible, and enable a seamless transition over to cellular where required.
Furthermore, reports claim the user will not incur extra charges when the phone switches over from WiFi to cellular.
Although the device will be exclusive to FreedomPop in markets which the MVNO operates, it will also be sold in other countries
This begs the question where FreedomPop plans to make its money. In the US, FreedomPop has partnered with Sprint and offers unlimited access to its hotspots for $5 per month. A nominal fee compared to what people cough-up for their current mobile packages, but FreedomPop won't have a large amount of overheads if it hijacks WiFi for the majority of its traffic.
In the UK, another market which FreedomPop has begun operating, the MVNO has partnered with Three for use of their mobile network. The Hutchison-owned provider has been upping its own WiFi capabilities in recent months; including the launch of inTouch which allows the customer to use their package to make calls and messages.
FreedomPop is said to have received funding provided by Intel's capital investment arm, Intel Capital, to use an unnamed device manufacturer to create the smartphone. Although the device will be exclusive to FreedomPop in markets which the MVNO operates, it will also be sold in other countries where it does not have a current presence.
Do you think FreedomPop's "WiFi first" model is disruptive? Let us know in the comments.
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