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Daniel Nations

Want Freemium 4G Access? FreedomPop to Release LTE Clip for iPad

By February 4, 2013

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Despite bragging about "100% Free High Speed Internet any device, anywhere!" on their website and convincing media outlets like Forbes to run full page ads in the form of articles, FreedomPop's 4G LTE isn't free. It's freemium. You can get a little free, but if you want more than a trickle of Internet access, it will cost you.

But that's not to say it's a bad deal. In fact, for iPad owners, it can be a very good deal.

FreedomPop's service offers a basic plan with 500 MB a month for free. You won't be streaming Netflix videos, but this could cover light web browsing and email checks. However, it's pretty easy to use up 500 MB, and extra data is twice as expensive than on their "Premiere" 4 GB plan.

The basic plan is great for those who don't often need mobile access but would like it there the few times they do need it. But the Premiere Plan is where the real bargain starts. It gives you 4 GB of data at $48.99 a month, which is about half the cost of Verizon and AT&T.

There is one catch. You do not get the best speeds for free. Or even under the Premiere Plan. FreedomPop offers a "Speed Plus" deal to gain access to the fastest data speeds on the network. This is a $3.99 a month "limited time offer". In addition to no speed caps, the plan guarantees no throttling regardless of data usage, which leads me to believe throttling may happen on the other plans.

FreedomPop uses Sprint to offer their LTE service, so upload and download speeds won't be as fast as Verizon or AT&T. Sprint's top download speed is around 12 Mbps and averages around 3.5 Mbps. AT&T maxes at 56 Mbps and averages 13.7 Mbps and Verizon maxes at 49.2 Mbps and averages 8.89.

FreedomPop already offers a free hotspot that will work with the iPad. The hotspot requires a $99.99 refundable deposit and will allow any Wi-Fi capable device to connect, so you can use it for your laptop, smartphone or tablet. The upcoming LTE Clip is designed specifically for tablets, clipping onto the edge and providing 4G access without having to carry around a hotspot.

Overall, it looks like an interesting proposition for iPad owners, especially those with a Wi-Fi model. The 4G speed may not compare to Verizon or AT&T, but it is cheaper. But I don't like the website falsely claiming 100% free Internet service or the lack of real details until you drill in by acting like you are signing up. If they really are such a better deal, I'm not sure why they aren't shouting their plan details off the rooftops.

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