Smarter Smartphone Service — How to Get Free Talk, Texts and Data

If you're on a contract with one of the big carriers, you could easily be wasting hundreds of dollars every year.

Smarter Smartphone Service — How to Get Free Talk, Texts and Data Photo by AstroStar / Shutterstock.com

Wouldn’t it be great if you could eliminate your cell bill entirely? Well, believe it or not, it is possible, at least if you don’t use your phone much.

Example: FreedomPop

Free talk, texts and data

You can get free cell service from FreedomPop two different ways:

  • Buy a SIM card from FreedomPop for $0.99 (including free shipping) and stick it in your existing compatible phone. (You’ll need an unlocked AT&T or T-Mobile GSM phone.)
  • Buy a used phone from FreedomPop (Example: As I write this, they’re offering a refurbished iPhone 5 for $169.99.)

You can transfer your existing phone number or receive an entirely new number. Either way, when you sign up, you’ll get a one-month free trial of their Unlimited Talk, Text and Data plan.

After one month:

  • Do nothing. You’ll automatically be transferred onto an unlimited Talk, Text and 2GB data plan for $24.99/month.
  • Downgrade to the free plan. Downgrading can be done online, or by calling or emailing customer service. Once you’re on the free plan, you’ll get 200 talk minutes and 500 texts monthly at no cost. If you bought a SIM card from FreedomPop, you’ll also get 200 MB of data free. If you bought a phone from FreedomPop, you’ll get 500 MB of data free.

Bottom line: If you don’t use your phone much, it’s possible that you’ll never pay for cellphone service again. And this is also a great opportunity to have a no-cost back-up phone. If your phone gets lost or stolen, wouldn’t it be great to have another waiting in the wings?

Ready for free cellphone service? Click here!

Other important stuff

FreedomPop operates on Sprint and AT&T’s 4G LTE and 3G networks. Here’s the coverage map:

FreedomPop Coverage MapFreedomPop / Money Talks News

As with most phones, when you’re connected to Wi-Fi, you’re not affecting your FreedomPop data allotment. So if you’re online primarily where there’s Wi-Fi, no worries. But if you know anything about cell phones, you know that 200 MB, or even 500 MB, isn’t all that much. So before switching cell plans, it’s critical to go through the last few months of your phone bills and see how much data you typically use.

What happens when you exceed your FreedomPop data cap?

As with any cell provider, exceeding your cap means paying for more data.

If you exceed your data limits with FreedomPop (200 MB on the SIM plan, 500 MB on the phone plan, 2GB on the $24.99/month plan) you’ll automatically be charged $15. That credit will then be used to “top up” your account.

Example: If you get down to the minimum of 100 MB of data, unless you’ve disabled it, the “top up” feature kicks in. You’re charged $15, which then becomes a credit used to “top up” your account at a cost of $2.50 per 100 MB.

This means you’re essentially being charged $25 per gigabyte, which is in the ballpark of what other cell providers for data overages. You can, however, prevent getting charged simply by going to your account online and disabling the Automatic Top-Up feature. You can also monitor usage from your phone.

So while there may be no such thing as a free lunch, there is such a thing as free cellphone service, especially if you’re a very light user. Just go to FreedomPop and sign up. But if you want your free service to stay free, you’ll have to downgrade after your free initial month, then turn off the automatic top-off feature.

If this isn’t your cup of tea, we can still help you find the right cellphone service plan. Simply go the cellphone page of our Solutions Center. There you’ll find an easy-to-use comparison tool that will help you find the best plan for you.

One last thing: You can also get a rebate for purchases from FreedomPop by using the cash-back site Ebates. You can learn more about that here.

How much are you paying your cell provider? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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