How to Keep Free Internet in Your Pocket or Purse

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A few months ago, we did a story called Smarter Smartphones: How to Get Free Talk, Texts and Data. It was about a company called FreedomPop that offers cheap, even free, cellphone service.

In addition to phones, FreedomPop also offers pocket-sized, rechargeable wireless Internet hotspots. Anytime you want to browse the Web, turn it on, connect a computer and you’re ready to go. Depending on the device, you can connect laptops, smartphones, tablets and PCs at home or away.

Purchase a FreedomPop hotspot, and you’ll get 500MB of 4G wireless Internet usage free every month. If you use streaming services like Netflix, download a lot of music, or stay online for hours at a time, you’ll need to go beyond the free plan. But if you’re a light user, it’s an opportunity to keep free Internet in your pocket or purse.

A special deal for Money Talks News readers

FreedomPop recently approached us with two special offers exclusively for our readers:

1. 803S LTE Hotspot for $39.99. This can provide WiFi for up to eight devices at the same time. With this device, your laptop, tablet and phone will all be able to connect to the hotspot’s WiFi signal at once. (While I use traditional cable Internet service at home, I personally use one of these in my car and on my boat. Works great!)

2. U770 LTE USB Modem for $19.99. This plugs directly into your laptop/desktop computer and will provide Internet only for that specific device. Because it requires a USB connection, it won’t work with most tablets or smartphones.

Both products connect to Sprint’s 4G LTE and 3G networks. Both come with the same data plan from FreedomPop: a one-month free trial of the 2GB data plan. After the first free month, you can either:

  • Do nothing: You’ll remain on the same 2GB 4G LTE/3G plan and be charged at the normal rate of $19.99 per month.
  • Downgrade: Downgrade to the 100 percent Free Plan and receive 500MB of 4G LTE data each month. Note, however, that 3G access is not a part of the Free Plan, so if 4G LTE isn’t available in your area, it won’t work. If you want to have both 4G LTE and 3G access, which will make your device more flexible, you can opt for the 500MB 4G LTE/3G plan for $3.99/month.

Sprint is rapidly expanding its 4G LTE network, which provides very fast speeds (about 20 times faster than 3G).

To get either deal, visit this page of the FreedomPop website

The one-month free trial does not begin until the device ships. You can switch your data plans anytime on your FreedomPop account page; you don’t need to contact customer support.

Some important caveats:

  • As with a cellphone, before you order this or any wireless Internet service, make sure you’re in a covered area. Use this coverage map to check your area. Be sure to select the 4G LTE and 3G boxes: uncheck the box that says “FreedomPop 4G (WiMax).” If you receive the hotspot and it doesn’t work, FreedomPop offers a 30-day return policy.
  • After your trial month, unless you downgrade, you’ll continue on the 2GB plan at the $19.99-a-month rate. You must downgrade to the free plan within 30 days to avoid being charged. (The FreedomPop folks assure us it’s not hard to cancel. You can either do it online or by calling (888) 743-8107.) If you downgrade, after the first month you’ll be on the free monthly Internet plan, which offers 500MB of free LTE data every month, no strings attached. FreedomPop’s services don’t come with any contracts.
  • To make sure you don’t get charged for going over the limit: After opening your account, uncheck the “Automatic Top-Up” feature in the Billings Settings. Otherwise, should you exceed 500MB, you’ll automatically get more data and be charged for it.
  • Download the FreedomPop app, and you can use your smartphone to keep track of your data usage. This is another method to make sure you don’t use more data than you intend.

We’re being compensated to send customers to FreedomPop. That said, your trust means everything to us. We check out the partners we recommend. Nonetheless, we suggest you shop this deal or any other you see here or anywhere else.

Stay tuned for other deals. If you like this one, please share it with your friends!

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Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.

  • Roger

    They lure you in with their free subscription model, and then charge your card after a few months without authorization of plan change. I retained the email proof confirming that I downgraded to the free plan right after signing up, within the free trial period. They’re betting that consumers won’t notice the charge. And for those who notices it, you have to call them (yes, CALL… no email/chat support when it comes to billing issues). And like Lakshmi said, even when you are in Sprint’s 3G and/or 4G area, the likelihood that you’ll be able to connect is slim to nonexistent… at least on the free plan, which defeats the purpose.

    • http://blog.freedompop.com/ FreedomPop

      Hi Roger, very sorry for any billing issues that you may have experienced. Readers here can always email moneytalksnews@freedompop.com if there are ever any billing or technical support issues. I’d be happy to take a look at your account if you send an email here. The FreedomPop Community Forum is great resource for all users who need any billing or technical support assistance (https://forums.freedompop.com/). We encourage all readers to check on their coverage before making the purchase: http://www.freedompop.com/coverage3g4g (only select the 4G LTE and 3G boxes). Please note that the Free Plan only provides access to the 4G LTE network.

    • Jason

      I have a WiMax Hotspot from FreedomPop. I also had a problem where they continued to charge me after I downgraded to the free plan. One call and the very polite customer service took care of the problem and my credit card was refunded.

      When I first got the WiMax hotspot it had good service. Now a year later that service is pretty spotty as Sprint continues to switch WiMax towers to LTE. Sprint LTE coverage is pretty good in my metro area.

  • Jcatz4

    I was interested in trying this but now I would be afraid to do it after reading the comments. I don’t like getting stung. I’m not very tech savy and I would probably end up having problems with this deal.