Recently, I came across something really cool that I thought I should pass along. With the ever increasing cost of living we’re seeing these days, more and more people are looking for ways to cut back a little on their expenses. One of the ways people are trying to cut back on spending is by changing their cellphone service to a lower plan that doesn’t cost as much. But, what if I told you there’s a way to get cellphone service and even wireless high speed internet absolutely 100% free? Well, that’s what I’m going to show you now. So, keep reading!
Before you start asking, “what’s the catch”, I want to begin by telling you that I have been testing this for over 2 months now and haven’t found “a catch” of any kind aside from a few limitations mentioned below. Even though I already personally carry 2 cellphones (one iPhone for work and one Android for personal), I thought I’d still try this out so that I could recommend it to others (like I’m doing now) if I found it to be legit – and it is!
The magic that makes this all possible is a site called “FreedomPop” (http://www.freedompop.com). According to their website, there are no contracts, no gimmicks, and no hassles (which, again, I can personally vouch for).
To get started, head over to http://www.freedompop.com and click the green “Check Availability Now” button. Enter your zip code and email address on the popup dialog and click the next “Check Availability Now” button. The cellphone service is provided by Sprint. So, this step checks to make sure that Sprint offers cellular service in your area. If service is available in your area, you’ll be presented with a page that allows you to select a cellphone to use with the service. For my experience, I chose to purchase an unlocked iPhone5 from another website, but the FreedomPop website provides several other types of phones such as the Samsung Victory 4G LTE, Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Samsung Galaxy SII, etc… They aren’t the newest phones on the market, but they are good enough considering you’ll get free service with them.
Aside from getting free service for making phone calls and sending / receiving text messages, FreedomPop also provides free wireless internet using any of their WiFi hotspots. These connect to the internet just like your cellphone does and you connect to them from your computer just like you would when connecting to any other wireless access point. The hotspots then act as a wireless modem to connect your computer to the internet. If your computer doesn’t have a wireless card in it for connecting to the mobile hotspot (which lots of Desktop computers don’t), FreedomPop also offers a USB stick that you can use to connect wirelessly to the internet.
You can find out more about the various devices offered by FreedomPop over at their products page.
As mentioned above, even though the service is free, there are still a few limitations. First off, you will only get 200 monthly minutes for free. Second, you are also limited to only 500 text messages and 500 MB of data per month. Most people will blow through these limits in no time. But, if you connect your phone to WiFi, you can get unlimited text and data. Although I haven’t tested it yet, I believe you can also get unlimited calling when connected to WiFi as well as the phone will roll over to using VoIP (Voice-Over-IP) using your WiFi’s internet connection instead of eating through your 200 cellular minutes. Just like the 500 MB data per month limit with the cellular service, the mobile hotspots also limit you to 500 MB / month.
How does it work?
When you turn on your FreedomPop enabled phone, the first thing you will notice is that the normal “dialer” has been replaced with a the FreedomPop dialer app. Whenever you place calls, this app will connect the phone to the nearest Sprint cell tower at which point it will use VoIP for placing the call. It will also use this same cell tower for sending & receiving SMS messages and providing internet access. Even though Sprint’s service isn’t very good in my area, I’ve still experienced very good quality with all of the calls I’ve made & received. Unlike other VoIP services where your calls sound staticky, I haven’t experienced this with the FreedomPop service.
What will my phone number be?
When you register with FreedomPop, one of the first things you’ll be asked is what you would like your area code to be. Since I live in the “706” area code area, I chose to also have a “706” area code with my FreedomPop service, but I could have just as easily chosen any other area code if I wanted. FreedomPop will then issue you a phone number that begins with the area code that you chose. Once you activate your account on your device, you can then give this number out to anyone you want and they can call it just like they would any other phone number.
Will I ever be charged?
According to the FreedomPop website, your service will always be free unless you decide to increase your limits by purchasing one of their non-free services. But, as I’ve already said, I have been using this service for over 2 months now and haven’t received a bill of any kind. In fact, I never gave FreedomPop my credit card number or my home address. So, I’m not sure they could bill me if they even wanted to. If you choose to buy your phone directly from FreedomPop, you’ll have to give them your credit card number for purchasing the phone and your address for shipping the phone to. But, I don’t believe they’ll use this information to sneak a bill to you.
Can I use a non-FreedomPop device?
Like I said before, I didn’t purchase my phone from FreedomPop but rather I purchased an unlocked iPhone5 from another website and use it with the free service. That’s because FreedomPop has a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy if you’d prefer. You can also use the FreedomPop app on your current phone and receive the same free services (excluding connecting to the Sprint cell towers).
What to do with a phone with limited [free] service?
Even though the service you get from FreedomPop is limited, there are still lots of cool things you can do with it. For example, the main purpose of me buying this phone was to have an extra phone lying around the house that I can use in case of emergencies, have as yet another backup, or even toss in my boat or truck so that I’ll have it just in case.
Since activating the phone, I have also found another cool use for it. Seeing as how I am big into the Internet of Things and home automation, I decided to take my phone to a remote property that I own where I connected the phone to a solar panel to keep it charged and always running. I have also connected the phone to some sensors on the property (such as temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed & direction, etc…) and use the free service for transmitting data from the sensors back to a server where I can view it at any time. I also wrote a custom iOS app that allows me to connect my computer (or other cellphone) directly to the FreedomPop phone where I can control the phone as well as access the camera so that I can view my property remotely. The custom app can even detect motion and record videos & take pictures where they are stored locally on the phone until I connect to retrieve them, but I also have the ability to have those videos and pictures transmitted back to my server if desired.
As you can see, not only can you get free cellphone service, free text messages, and free internet access, but there are also some really cool things you can do with that service aside from the noticeable. But you can’t do any of that if you don’t signup and try it out for yourself. So, again, head on over to http://www.freedompop.com and get your free mobile phone and high speed internet service now.
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