FreedomPop Review

FreedomPop is one of the only mobile carriers around with a $0 per month plan. Its Basic 500 plan includes 500 MB of data, 200 minutes and 500 texts per month when you purchase a FreedomPop phone or hotspot. You’ll only need to pay for the equipment which is available on FreedomPop’s website and includes both new and refurbished devices. You can also use your own phone as long as it’s either a locked Sprint phone, or an eligible universally unlocked phone (meaning it requires a SIM card). Along with offering a free plan, its more robust plans are also fairly affordable. When it comes to speed, FreedomPop falls short with speeds ranging from 1 Mbps to up to 5 Mbps. FreedomPop’s an excellent choice for those who need basic connectivity at a low monthly cost, but don’t expect the same fast speeds offered by Verizon or AT&T.

The Claim

FreedomPop’s most unique offering is its $0 per month for 500 MB of data and limited text and talk per month. It doesn’t claim to have the fastest speeds or most reliable connections — to be expected, given the low prices.

Is It True?

Yes. It’s hard to beat $0 per month, but costs will start averaging out with carriers like Cricket Wireless and MetroPCS once you’re looking at the 2 GB and above plans. FreedomPop can save you a lot of money if you’re smart about it: if you carefully track your data usage to avoid going over, make sure your device has a strong connection, and pick wisely among the add-on options, you can get quite a lot without paying too much (or barely anything at all).

Considering that the 2-4 GB plans aren’t significantly cheaper than equivalent plans from carriers that come with more features, stronger connections, and faster speeds, we’re inclined to recommend FreedomPop mainly for the truly minimal user, or those looking for a cheap supplement to their main data plan.

Product Overview

Best for

People who want the cheapest plans possible

Not for

People who want more features included or generous data caps

Features

Price

$0-$34.99 per month (base rate with no add-ons)

Available plans

Basic 500
Premium 500
Premium 1 GB
Premium 2 GB
Premium 3 GB
Premium 4 GB

Number of states served

48 states

Data caps
500 MB-4 GB per month

Max speeds

Up to 1 Mbps for free plans, up to 5 Mbps for paid plans and up to 25 Mbps with Speed Boost (extra charge)
Add-ons

Data Roll Over and Data
Roll Over Plus
Wi-Fi hotspot
International talk
Speed Boost
Overage fee

$15 Automatic Top-Up charge when you reach your data limit
Terms

No contracts; month-to-month service you can downgrade, upgrade or cancel anytime.

Basic 500 plan for $0 per month

It doesn’t get better than free, but FreedomPop’s Basic 500 data plan’s 500 MB of data, 200 minutes of talk and 500 texts per month aren’t a lot. Paired with up to 1 Mbps speeds, you’re really getting the bare minimum. Free is hard to beat, but this plan is really best for users who partake in only light web surfing and occasional streaming.

Data Rollover

While most carriers won’t let you roll over data from month to month, FreedomPop lets you purchase a data rollover option. The regular Rollover plan lets you roll over up to 500 MB of unused data per month, and store a maximum of 20 GB unused data total. The Rollover Plus plan costs $6.99 per month and lets you roll over 1 GB per month, and store up to 40 GB of data. That means you don’t need to worry as much about wasting money on data you’ll never use — if you don’t hit your data limit one month, you can still get your money’s worth. Unfortunately, you can’t roll over leftover data from Freedom Friends, and if you cancel Data Rollover, you lose any stored data. But if you tend to always be just under your data limit, it might be a smart way to get the most for your money.

Freedom Friends

With FreedomPop’s referral-rewards system, you’ll earn 5 MB per month for each friend that joins up, with a limit of 50 MB added on per month. You can also share data with your friends as long as both your accounts are active: up to 5 MB per friend, with a maximum of 50 MB.

Possible Drawbacks

Slow speeds

FreedomPop’s speeds aren’t great. At up to 1 Mbps for its Basic 500 MB plan and up to 5 Mbps for its other plans, FreedomPop certainly won’t be able to compete with larger carriers. Heavy users who want to use their phones to stream video or download apps will need a lot more speed and should probably consider if the money saved using FreedomPop is actually worth the slower service. If you’re determined to use FreedomPop as your carrier, you can purchase Speed Boost. For an additional fee it’ll boost your speeds up to 25 Mbps, depending on your signal strength.

Overage fees

One of FreedomPop’s major drawbacks is that it charges overage fees via its Top-Up program when you exceed your monthly data allowance. If you’re already trying to save money by opting for a cheap carrier, this can be a major dealbreaker. Especially when other budget-friendly carriers don’t charge overages. When you exceed your data limit, you’ll automatically be charged $15 to your account to cover additional data usage. Canceling Top-Up means your account will be suspended when you hit your data limit. Unfortunately, Top-Up only allows for additional data usage. If you’re on the Basic 500 plan and run out of minutes or messaging, you won’t be able to place any more calls or send texts for that month unless you upgrade your plan.

The Competition

FreedomPop
Cricket Wireless
MetroPCS
Sprint

Price for single line

$0-$34.99 per month

$30-$60 per month

$30-$60 per month

$40-$70 per month

Available data plans

Basic 500
Premium 500 MB
Premium 1 GB
Premium 2 GB
Premium 3 GB
Premium 4 GB

2 GB
5 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited Max
2 GB
5 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited +10 GB Hotspot

Sprint Forward 4 GB
Sprint Forward Unlimited
Unlimited
Unlimited Plus

Contract required
X
X
X


Overage fees

X
X
On non-unlimited plans

Hotspot capabilities included
X
X

Group discounts
X

Autopay discount
X
X

FreedomPop vs. Cricket Wireless

Cricket Wireless is best known for its prepaid group plans — and if you’re shopping for a family that uses more than 5 GB per month, Cricket offers better value than FreedomPop with its group discount. You’ll get $10 off for the second line added, and $20 off for each additional line, up to five lines total. Plus it’s slightly faster than FreedomPop with speeds up to 8 Mbps for 4G LTE devices, and you don’t have to worry about overage fees. But if you’re only shopping for yourself and don’t need a ton of speed, FreedomPop may be the better choice.

FreedomPop vs. MetroPCS

Like Cricket Wireless, MetroPCS is better for family plans and has faster speeds. It also includes hotspot capabilities with each plan — you have to pay extra for that on FreedomPop. Another benefit of MetroPCS is that it doesn’t charge overages if you exceed your monthly data. It will slow speeds, but that’s only if you use more than 35 GB of data per month, which is way more than the limits FreedomPop includes. MetroPCS is a great deal, particularly for groups or families. Like with Cricket, FreedomPop only beats MetroPCS if you’re looking for a single line and don’t need all the bells and whistles.

FreedomPop vs. Sprint

If you’re looking for generous data caps at the lowest prices, Sprint may be a good bet. Its current promotion offers an introductory price of $22 a month per line for up to five lines for its Unlimited Plus plan, which is one of the best values for an unlimited data plan available at the moment. Consider Sprint over FreedomPop for affordable unlimited family plans and added perks like a Hulu subscription and included hotspot.

FreedomPop FAQs

Can you keep your number with FreedomPop?

Yes. If you’re switching from another carrier, you can keep the same phone number. FreedomPop includes information on how to do this on its website, but to complete the transfer you need the following:

  • Phone number you’re transferring
  • Billing address and phone number
  • PIN or password
  • Account number
  • Account holder’s name

In addition, it will cost $9.99 to complete the transfer. FreedomPop also says not to end your current service until the transfer is complete.

What network does FreedomPop use?

FreedomPop uses Sprint and AT&T networks in the U.S. to deliver service to its customers. In addition to providing service in the U.S., FreedomPop is also available in the UK, Spain and Mexico.

Where does FreedomPop work?

According to FreedomPop’s 4G LTE and 3G coverage map, it’s coverage is best in the South and Southeastern U.S. with additional coverage in states located in the Midwest and Northeast. Take a look at FreedomPop’s coverage map and enter your location information before choosing to go with it as your carrier — with somewhat minimal coverage it might not be the right choice if you live in Western states.

The Bottom Line

FreedomPop is best for users who want flexible, customizable and affordable mobile broadband offerings: it’s the only carrier with a free monthly data plan. Though the data caps and max speeds aren’t too impressive, you have the option of purchasing add-ons that let you Top-Up your data, roll over unused data and boost your speeds. In addition, the Freedom Friends program allows you to earn data from referring friends, and share data with them (even if you have different plans), which means it’s easy to make sure no data is wasted. If you want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for the buck and never spending more than you need, FreedomPop may be a great fit for you.