MVNO FreedomPop is planning to launch a new product, which it has dubbed an "LTE clip," that will allow Wi-Fi-enabled Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPads and Android tablets to get cellular connectivity, according to a Forbes report.
The report, citing an unnamed source, said that the LTE service will be provided by Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and that the clip is expected to be released in the second half of the year. The report said the clip will have six hours of battery life and that the device's battery is in its hinge to save space. The report said the Clip will be compatible with a wide range of devices, including iPad and iPad Mini, Samsung's GalaxyTab and most Android smartphones, and will act a mobile hotspot that can connect up to eight devices.
Tony Miller, FreedomPop's vice president of marketing, told FierceWireless that since the clip is not slated for release until later this year he could not comment on it. However, he said "device innovation is a focus" and that FreedomPop knows that "tablet use among consumers [is] surpassing laptop use now, but 90 percent of tablets are Wi-Fi-only." He also said the company remains "focused on enabling Wi-Fi-only devices to get free fast Internet anywhere, anytime."
The clip represents another step FreedomPop is taking to branch out beyond is first foray into providing freemium mobile data plans. The company, which is using Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) mobile WiMAX network today, currently sells a $99 iPhone Sleeve for the iPod touch, which does not have a cellular radio.
The company said in January that its WiMAX-capable iPhone Sleeve had been delayed in the FCC's approval process due to an untested design element. FreedomPop also sells a USB modem, called Bolt, for $49 and a mobile hotspot, called Photon, for $89.
FreedomPop customers get 500 MB of data for free each month. They can earn up to an additional 1 GB of free data by referring friends to the service. For each friend a customer refers, they will get an additional 10 MB of data per month for free for every month they are a customer. The Forbes report said the LTE clip will have the same sharing features as other FreedomPop devices.
Customers can also purchase prepaid data: 1 GB of data costs $10 and 5 GB costs $35. Both price points are below comparable offerings from Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T).
The report also noted that FreedomPop plans to launch an "open Wi-Fi" local-sharing Internet service through its devices, which will allow devices to share mobile data service with others nearby by using two SSIDs.
- see this Forbes article
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Article updated Feb. 5 with comment from FreedomPop.