Sprint MVNO FreedomPop plans to launch a smartphone next year designed for its Wi-Fi-first service in a partnership with Intel. The phone will use Intel's SoFIA chipset platform and be launched on the network of FreedomPop's second U.S. carrier partner, which it plans to unveil in 2016.
FreedomPop UK has officially launched its "100 per cent free mobile service" in what is the mobile virtual network operator's first foray outside the U.S. market.
Sprint MVNO FreedomPop is offering iPhone 6s and 6s Plus customers who activate their phones on the company's service 5 GB of additional free data to burn through, as well as a plan that offers unlimited voice, texting and 1 GB of data for $18 per month, with the first month free. Meanwhile, FreedomPop plans to offer its own customers the option to finance iPhone purchases.
After months of speculation, Sprint MVNO FreedomPop is not going to be bought by anyone after all. Instead, the company declined multiple takeover offers and raised $30 million in new funding, and will continue expanding domestically and internationally. FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols also said that in 2016 the company will add another U.S. carrier partner.
Sprint MVNO FreedomPop is embarking on its long-awaited international expansion by partnering with the operator Three in the UK. FreedomPop is also still evaluating a possible acquisition.
FreedomPop is launching its free mobile services in Europe this year in what is the mobile virtual network operator's first foray outside the U.S. market.
Sprint in February changed its rules for devices that customers want to take to other carriers and MVNOs, which is having a negative impact on some Sprint MVNOs that offer Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs, including Tucows' Ting Mobile service. However, Sprint and the MVNOs say they are working together to resolve any issues.
Google's Project Fi MVNO, which uses Wi-Fi hotspots for calling and data in addition to cellular connections from Sprint and T-Mobile US, is not a competitive threat to MVNOs Republic Wireless, Scratch Wireless and FreedomPop that rely on similar models. Instead, these companies say that the the search giant's entrance into the wireless market is a validation of the Wi-Fi-first concept.
Sprint MVNO FreedomPop expects to know whether it will enter into a strategic deal with another company in the next four to six weeks, according to CEO Stephen Stokols. The company is also pushing ahead with its normal business, unveiling a new software feature that will make the handoff between VoIP and cellular calls more seamless.
Sprint MVNO FreedomPop will cross 1 million total customers sometime in the second or third quarter of 2015, earlier than expected. Previously, the company had said it would hit the milestone by the end of 2015.