PROS / Thanks to its free 500MB offer, it's a fine choice for extremely light users.
CONS / Its website is confusing and there's no telephone support, so figuring out which plan you should pick can be tough.
VERDICT / However cheap its tiers might be, terrible support and slow WiMAX-era speeds make FreedomPop a disappointing mobile broadband provider.
FreedomPop is a cellular provider ostensibly built to offer cheap wireless internet access to everyone. Users can share data allocations between friends and other FreedomPop users, earn extra data, or simply take advantage of the free 500MB tier. You have to buy yourself a mobile hotspot, of course, but once you have it, that half-gigabyte of monthly web access is yours.
500MB is enough to let you browse Facebook, check your email or order food online without worry. If you plan to use your mobile broadband connection on a daily basis, however, or stream music or video, you need more data. With plans as small as 2GB and as large at 10GB, most casual users should be able to find an allocation that suits them and for prices notably cheaper than what's offered by the competition. Just beware the caveat: FreedomPop's service is nowhere near as fast as its competitors.
Granted, $72.99 for access to 10GB of data seems like a solid deal. Unfortunately, FreedomPop doesn't offer 4G LTE speeds. Though it's a Sprint MVNO, the company's mobile hotspots are only WiMAX-enabled, limiting your connection speed to about one-third the rates of your average LTE smartphone. Since Sprint's network lags behind Verizon and AT&T in terms of both coverage and reliability, expect spottiness in rural areas.
Great wireless internet providers offer great customer service. FreedomPop's service is unimpressive at best. There's no customer service number to call or live chat agent to speak with; the company's support site relies exclusively on FAQs and a user discussion forum. This wouldn't be as much of a concern if the buying experience were seamless, but FreedomPop's website is confusing. Information about various devices and plans stays hidden behind gated access walls. If you manage to find the plan list, it's too jumbled and filled with duplicate entries to be usable. The website is poor enough that you'd want to just pick up a phone and call someone, but that's not an option.
FreedomPop may offer some of the cheapest mobile internet plans in the nation, but it’s far from being the best. With glacial connection speeds and unintuitive customer support, you're virtually guaranteed to have a better experience with one of the bigger names. Still, if you're after a budget deal, it's tough to beat FreedomPop's prices, especially if you go with the free 500MB plan.