Los Angeles – FreedomPop, the no-contract MVNO that offers free and low-cost wireless voice and data plans, is launching its first private-label tablets and first private-label handset so it can hit price points of less than $100.
The first device, an $89 6.7-inch Wi-Fi tablet, marks the MVNO’s entry into Wi-Fi calling.
Two other planned devices are the $99 Frenzy 7-inch Android LTE tablet and an $89 Android phone. Those two models will offer LTE data and cellular voice and texting via VoIP.
“We see a great opportunity for several reasons,” said COO Steven Sesar. “There is a huge void in the low-end, sub-$100 market. FreedomPop is the only U.S. manufacturer to move into this space in an effort to close the gap, allowing anyone to own a phone, tablet or second device. And, by manufacturing our own devices, we can better meet the incoming demand for our service.”
On top of that, FreedomPop has been selling refurbished phones and tablets with its service, but relying on refurbs “limits supply,” he said. By getting devices manufactured for it, FreedomPop “can better meet the incoming demand for our service.”
The company launched its first phone a year ago, having offered mobile Wi-Fi hot spots and cellular USB sticks before that.
All of FreedomPop’s LTE-equipped tablets and phones are equipped with the company’s VoIP app, which provides a unique phone number so users can initiate and receive a voice call as if making a traditional circuit-switched cellular call.
All FreedomPop smartphones and LTE-equipped tablets come free with 200 voice minutes, 500 texts, and 500MB of high-speed data per month. The company also offers multiple low-cost paid plans, including An “Unlimited Everything” plan. It costs $20/month and provides unlimited talk, text and data. Data consists of 1GB/month of 4G data and unlimited 3G data after the cap is reached.
The no-contract MVNO, which uses the Sprint network, already offers select refurbished Samsung, HTC and Apple smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy S4 at $329, the S3 at $199, and Samsung Victory at $119. The iPhone 5 goes for $399. Tablets are priced at $179 for the Samsung Tab 3 and $299 for the first-generation iPad mini.
The first FreedomPop-brand device, available today, is the $89-suggested Wi-Fi-only Liberty tablet with 6.7-inch display and Android OS. It lacks cellular “to ensure the lowest price,” the company said, but it can be used with a FreedomPop phone number to place Wi-Fi calls and send texts as well as access the Internet. Users get 200 free Wi-Fi voice minutes and 500 free Wi-Fi texts per month, and for $4.99/month, they can get unlimited voice/text service. Data over Wi-Fi is unlimited in either case.
The tablet can also be used with a separately sold $49 FreedomPop mobile hot spot to access the Internet over Sprint’s data network as well as provide VOiP calls and texts based on the user’s Wi-Fi calling plan.
In November, the company plans to offer the Frenzy, a 10-inch Android LTE tablet with 4GB of memory at $99. It will offer cellular voice and texting via VoIP and will be followed in the coming months by an $89 LTE Android phone.
The MVNO will also expand its selection of high-end devices and will add the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Note 3.
The company’s devices can be purchased through freedompop.com as well as from Amazon, Newegg and Walmart.com.
Although FreedomPop offers tablets and phones, consumers can also bring their existing Sprint-network devices to FreedomPop, which will load it with the compa