FreedomPop is a wireless service provider that aims to disrupt the mobile communications market, bringing free mobile calling and data services to its customers. Now, the company has added a new free service: international phone calls.
The FreedomPop service doesn’t work like most phone services do. The free plan consists of 200 local call minutes, 500 text messages, and 500 MB of data for LTE-enabled devices. The phone calls and text messages are sent through the FreedomPop app, which operates over a WiFi or 4G LTE connection. Paid plans are available that add additional calling minutes and data.
The new service gives all users 100 minutes of free international calls each month. At press time there are 52 different countries users will be able to call, but FreedomPop hopes to expand that to 170 over the coming weeks. Again, a paid plan is available for those who need more minutes, and FreedomPop claims that the rates are lower than that of competing VoIP providers such as Skype.
Additionally, users can opt for tying an international phone number to their phone. The service costs $4.99 per month, and it allows users to give a local phone number of another country to people so that people in that country can call that number for the same rate as they would call their neighbors. Imagine, for example, that you live in San Francisco; you can opt to tie a UK phone number to your account for $4.99 a month, and UK citizens will be able to call that number without any additional charges.
Hopefully the world will move to all VoIP-based calling, which will remove international roaming costs. Of course, that’s not going to happen anytime soon, because providers are operating on an antiquated system for the sake of making money, but FreedomPop appears to be well ahead of the curve. Ideally, we’d only pay for a data plan, and all phone calls would happen over VoIP, where any data used simply gets taken out of our monthly data bundle.