Free Calling, Texting and Data — What’s the Catch?

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You'll have to bring a compatible smartphone or buy one, and there are some limitations.

FreedomPop will start giving away free phone service later this year. If you want to pay less for a basic plan, you should take a look.

The service will give you 200 voice minutes (plus unlimited calls to other FreedomPop users), 500MB of data, and unlimited text messages per month, the company says. It debuts this summer, and there are no contracts.

Need more minutes? Unlimited calling will cost $10 a month, PCMag says.

More data? You’ll be able to “earn additional free data by completing surveys, downloading programs, and referring friends,” or buy it, according to PCMag. But you may not need it.

“The average American consumer uses about 200 minutes of voice and 500 megabytes of data per month, so the lower 50 percent of FreedomPop’s customers won’t be paying a dime,” Forbes says.

But you’ll have to use an Android phone compatible with Sprint’s network, which FreedomPop pays to use. The company hasn’t said which phones will work with its service yet — only “several popular Android phones.”

The company can afford such cheap service by buying bandwidth at wholesale prices from Sprint, then converting voice calls into data, Forbes says. It will also sell refurbished phones purchased from tech trade-in sites like Gazelle and Glyde, rather than buying new models from the manufacturers.

If you aren’t picky about phone model or using the Sprint network, and especially if you only need basic service, this might turn out to be a great deal.

Stacy Johnson

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