One of my favorites from back home is getting into the international calling business. Let me be the first to say how excited I am. See below.
The mobile telephone and wireless provider FreedomPop has rolled out a new offer for free international phone calls and data Internet on any iOS or Android device. The deal is compatible with the company’s own line of iPhones and Android tablets, and anyone who wants to try FreedomPop’s particular brand of free Internet and telephone service can install the App Store / Android mobile apps and sign up for the free plan. They give 100 minutes of international calling for free.
A lot of customers who sign up for FreedomPop’s free plan eventually upgrade to one of the paid options, which offer larger data downloads and faster speeds. FreedomPop started out as a wireless company in California and now has customers all over the world. Since unveiling their line of iPhone 5 smartphones and 7- and 10-inch Android tablets, FreedomPop has been rapidly growing in revenue, and by the end of next year, company CEO Stephen Stokols tweeted that he thinks FreedomPop might be big enough to go public. However, no IPO is in the works at the moment.
The company got its start in 2011 as a free telephone and wireless broadband provider after Stokols left Woo Media and joined his partner Steven Sesar to incorporate the new business. It wasn’t long before they had a large number of loyal, paying customers who were so pleased with FreedomPop’s free service that they decided to upgrade to a premium plan.
By October of 2012, 5 percent of the company’s free customers were signing up for paid plans, and by November of that year, the number doubled to 10 percent. The next month, the number of customers with free accounts upgrading to paid plans doubled again to 20 percent. FreedomPop started getting attention from some of the major players in the mobile broadband market, including Sprint. Lately, there have been persistent rumors about Sprint acquiring FreedomPop for $50 to $60 million, but these rumors are unconfirmed and Stokols hasn’t mentioned a deal in his press interviews.
When the company had enough paying customers, Stokols and Sesar realized that they could release their own line of smartphones, so they went with the most iconic device available at the time, the iPhone 4. Because Sprint devices include HTC, Google and Samsung phones, it was natural for FreedomPop to develop its own app for iOS and Android, which uses an innovative VoIP infrastructure to give users the most efficient long-distance mobile VoIP service on the market.
In addition to free plans, FreedomPop offers many low-cost plans that significantly reduce rates by locking customers into country-specific contracts and assigning foreign forwarding numbers to eliminate international connection fees. So far, the strategies are paying off extremely well, and customers with any type of phone can download the app and sign up for a free long-distance service. For people who are curious about trying FreedomPop but don’t need to make international calls, the company also offers free voice, data and SMS service. A recent deal includes 200 voice minutes, 500MB of Internet and 500 SMS messages at no cost. The iOS and Android app, available on iTunes and Google Play, is called Free Talk and Text.