FreedomPop launched a promotional SIM-only plan for users in the U.K. in an effort to build on the momentum it's gaining in Europe.
The MVNO is offering unlimited calls, texts and 10 GB of data for roughly $13.33 a month, waiving its fees for the SIM card and shipping. The deal is set to expire next week, Engadget's U.K. outlet reported this morning, but the plan is permanent – users who sign on can take advantage indefinitely.
FreedomPop offers limited buckets of free voice, text and data, encouraging its users to buy value-added services such as additional data, a local global hotspot and local numbers from some countries that can be used to receive calls in other markets. Its basic plan for U.S. users, for instance, includes 500 MB of data, 500 texts and 200 minutes of talk.
The Los Angeles-based company claims more than 1 million customers, almost half of whom pay at least something regularly. And it has moved into Europe aggressively in recent months: It launched commercial service in the U.K. in September and in February it said it had inked deals with more than two dozen carriers on the continent.
FreedomPop also snared $50 million in new funding earlier this year, bringing its overall funding to more than $190 million, and in April it launched in Spain with a new zero-rated data offering for any usage of WhatsApp.
Nicolas Constantinopoulos, who oversees FreedomPop's international businesses, told FierceWireless in February that the company had seen a 48 percent conversion rate from free to paid services in the U.S., and a 40 percent rate in Europe.
"And the people who convert, they remain there," Constantinopoulos said at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Those who use only free services are an acceptable cost of doing business, he explained, adding a reasonable amount to the cost of customer acquisition. And in mature markets in Europe and elsewhere, operators have begun to embrace MVNOs because they provide a new way to expand their offerings where the saturation point is being reached and new smartphone users are rare.
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.
- see this Engadget report
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