By Tech Powered Dad | September 10, 2013
I’ve been intrigued by FreedomPop, a provider of free 4G hotspot data, for some time now. I’ve wanted a mobile hotspot for a while, but most of the plans from the big providers I’ve looked at like Verizon and Sprint just seemed too pricey for what my needs. I simply need a bare bones plan in the 500 MB-1GB range for on the go data emergencies with my computer or tablet. I recently picked up a FreedomPop hotspot and have been giving it a bit of light use for the last month. I thought it only made sense to report back with a brief FreedomPop review.
This one’s simple. FreedomPop is on the Sprint national network. If you don’t get good Sprint 3G or 4G reception in your area, then FreedomPop is not going to be a good fit for you. Where I live, Sprint’s network has excellent 3G reception and no 4G signal whatsoever. The 3G signal did the trick for my needs, though. I could easily browse the web, check email, etc, without getting frustrated. I wasn’t going to be doing much streaming video at that speed, but I didn’t want to do that to burn through my data anyway. I suggest checking with a friend who is using Sprint in your area to see if the 3G/4G signal is going to be good enough for your needs.
This is where you’ll need to be careful. While FreedomPop’s base 4G plan of 500 MB data is free, they definitely try to nickel and dime you at every turn. Since I can’t get the 4G signal, I am paying $3.99 for 500 MB of 3G data. I consider that to be a very fair price. FreedomPop’s other data prices are also pretty fair, such as $20 for 2 GB, $29 for 3 GB, etc. However, FreedomPop also tried to charge me a monthly fee for email alerts to let me know when I was getting close to my data limit. That seemed like a silly charge to me since I can log in to the FreedomPop website to see how much data I have left at any time. By default, they also “top up” your data if you get within 100 MB of your monthly data limit. That means I’d get charged by hitting 400 MB, not 500 MB. I turned that feature off, so I now only top up manually. Additionally, there is another monthly charge if you’d like to roll over any data that you don’t use from one month to the next. There also offer monthly paid antivirus protection for all of your devices. If you start to accept these additional monthly charges besides the data, you’ll find that you are creeping up on the cost of a major carrier in a hurry.
On the other hand, FreedomPop does offer an interesting way to earn a little additional free data for your account. You can connect to friends who are also on FreedomPop (“Freedom Friends”) and earn an additional 10 MB per month per friend. They also allow you to take part in special offers from advertisers to earn more data.
Bottom Line FreedomPop Review
I’m completely thrilled with my purchase of a FreedomPop mobile hotspot. It’s a terrific service for anyone who has occasional data needs on the go. I would highly recommend it to anyone who lives in a spot with good Sprint coverage. Just realize that it’s not going to replace your home internet service unless you are a very light data user, and when you sign up, I’d advise you to skip the extras offered by FreedomPop at extra cost.