The Los Angeles-based MVNO FreedomPop continues to gain traction in Europe, according to a new report from Reuters, and is generating revenue from nearly half of its British users.
FreedomPop offers limited buckets of free voice, text and data, encouraging its users to buy value-added services. The company offers service on Sprint's network in the U.S. and earlier this year it expanded its European business with more than two dozen network operators.
Forty-eight percent of the company's users in the U.K. are paying for services beyond the monthly free offerings, FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols told Reuters. Nicholas Constantinopoulos, who oversees the company's international operations, told FierceWireless in February that FreedomPop was seeing a 48 percent conversion rate among its U.S. users at that time, and 40 percent of European customers were paying for additional services.
The company announced $50 million in additional funding in January, bringing its total funding to more than $190 million. And while some freemium-based businesses may shy away from the model, Constantinopoulos is very clear about how FreedomPop makes money.
"FreedomPop ultimately is a platform to sell digital services," he said. That often means getting people to pay just a small amount every month for something like a second phone number with a different area code for use in a specific region. "Freemium is just about bringing people on board."
In April FreedomPop launched in Spain with a zero-rated data offering for any usage of WhatsApp, which the company said accounts for 90 percent of texting in that market. The company plans to continue its European expansion and has partnered with Axiata, a large Asian telecom group, to jointly develop products and services that could also be brought to Asia and South America.
And it could build upon its zero-rated strategy to offer users free data on other popular apps in the U.S. and elsewhere, potentially disrupting the traditional pay-per-byte model employed by carriers. That strategy would be something of a twist on Binge On, in which T-Mobile pays the freight of having video from specific content providers delivered to users without the used data coming out of their monthly allotments.
- see this Reuters report
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