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FreedomPop Launches Cellular Privacy Phone

Los Angeles — MVNO FreedomPop, which offers free and low-cost 4G mobile voice and data service, unveiled a FreedomPop Privacy Phone that provides encrypted voice and data communications. 3/05/2014 04:09:00 AM Eastern

Los Angeles — MVNO FreedomPop, which offers free and low-cost 4G mobile voice and data service, unveiled a FreedomPop Privacy Phone that provides encrypted voice and data communications.

The Privacy Phone uses FreedomPop’s VoIP network to provide encrypted voice calls and text messages to any mobile phone or landline.

In addition, the phone’s applications and Internet data are sent through a secure encrypted virtual private network (VPN) to provide anonymous Internet browsing and protect against viruses, phishing websites and other malware, the company said.

FreedomPop COO Steven Sesar noted, however, that “we can't make any claims on the other side, but our user is protected on his end regardless of whether he is calling landline, cell, another FreedomPop user, unlike some private call/text apps that require app-to-app to encrypt either."

If an unauthorized person is monitoring a conversation or text message at the unsecure end of a two-way communication, the voice of the Privacy Phone user will be heard, or his text seen, but the unauthorized person won’t necessarily know the number from which the Privacy Phone user is calling or texting, Sesar continued.

“Anonymity is key here since we are about ensuring user can be a total ghost,” he said.

The phone uses128-bit encryption, which is used by banks and government agencies. Users can request a number change at any time as often as they want, the company added. Payment can be made via Bitcoin for anonymity.

The $189 phone is built from a Samsung Galaxy II Android smartphone. The price includes unlimited voice and text, plus 500 MBs of data, for three months. The plan costs $10 a month on a month-to-month payment basis after that. Users could also opt for other paid plans or opt for the company’s free plan, which offers 200 voice minutes, 500 texts and 500MB of data per months.

FreedomPop’s Sesar said, “Privacy is becoming increasingly important to many Americans,” but he noted that “large carriers don’t have the flexibility, desire or creativity to invest in privacy.”

FreedomPop launched its 4G mobile data service in October 2012 via a Wi-Fi hot spot and a USB modem. Late last year, it added wireless voice and text service over select smartphones via FreedomPop’s VoIP app, which lets users make calls and access data as they normally would on a cellphone over Sprint’s 3G and 4G networks.

Earlier this month, the company reduced the price of unlimited cellular voice and text service with 500MB of 3G and 4G data to as little as $4.58/month.

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