FreedomPop’s free wireless plan becomes less free, more bad

One of the hidden gems in the MVNO sector was FreedomPop’s free plan: for some people, 500 texts, 200 minutes, and 200MB of LTE (plus a pay-as-you-go overage rate of 2.5¢ per MB) goes far in a month. Recently, though, the company made sweeping changes to the so-called “freemium” plan by pushing Wi-Fi calling and messaging to the forefront and making drastic cuts to talk, text, and cellular data allowances. Worse yet is the sense of urgency put into place as those grandfathered into the old free plan have been told they will be kicked off of it after January 31. And the rabbit hole goes only deeper from there…

FreedomPop framed the new freemium plan it introduced in October as an upgrade because it overhauled its VoIP network infrastructure so that instead of having to use a dedicated data-based app to use cellular talk time and SMS, users could now use the apps they’d like, including FaceTime and iMessage. Of course, practically speaking, 200MB of free cellular data is 200MB of free cellular data and those who knew about the plan took advantage of it.

The new freemium plan includes unlimited Wi-Fi calling and messaging (including RCS messages) along with 10 cellular voice minutes, 10 texts, and 25MB of LTE per 30-day cycle. Those who just happen to tip over their bucket for the month are charged $8 for an extra 500MB with additional add-ons optionable for $4 each. Perhaps the absolute worst part of the new plan, however, comes down to the requirement for customers to manually renew their plan on the FreedomPop website every 30 days lest their service stops working and they lose their number.

If you’re on the old free plan and would like to switch to the new plan, you will need to order a new AT&T-based SIM kit for $5. New customers will pay $10.

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