If you’re one of the 20 million Americans that call internationally each month, you could save over $1,000 per year with the startup company FreedomPop.
The Los Angeles-based company started by CEO Stephen Stokols and Steven Sesar in 2011, offers up to 100 free minutes of monthly international talk time to people with smartphones.
And you don’t even need to be subscribed to FreedomPop’s services.
Anyone with the FreedomPop Free Talk and Text app (available in the App Store and on Google Play) can take advantage of the deal, although the company does offer VoIP plans starting at $5 a month. FreedomPop’s connections currently include up to 50 countries, although the company plans to double that amount to 100 by the end of 2014.
For people needing more than 100 minutes per month, FreedomPop offers additional plans. At $5 a month, customers receive 500 minutes of international talk time, and the $10 monthly plan provides unlimited international calling. And, like the 100 free minutes, customers of other cellular carriers can use the Free Talk and Text app to place the calls from their phones.
The company is looking to create competition within the market. Currently, FreedomPop offers free voice and data plans, which start at 200 minutes of talk time, 500 text messages, and 500 megabytes of 4G data each month. Plans with additional minutes, messages, and data start at $5 per month and go to unlimited at $20 per month.
FreedomPop has revolutionized the telecommunications industry by also providing cheaper phones. The company started by using refurbished phones to provide customers with low-cost alternatives. However, customer demand exceeded supply, so the company decided to manufacture their own. They now produce smartphones and tablets all priced at under $100.
One of its initial products is the aptly named FreedomPop Liberty, which sells for $89. It offers Wi-Fi capability and a 7-inch screen, but it also provides texting and calling capability.
Of course, the company isn’t just limited itself to U.S. markets. It already has plans to launch internationally with European carriers. It recently announced deals with KPN and Deutsche Telekom T-Mobile. The agreement includes four carriers (although, FreedomPop has declined to mention the other two because the plans are not yet finalized) and in five European countries — Germany, Belgium, Spain, Austria, and The Netherlands.
This is just the start, too.
FreedomPop plans to extend the number of carriers to 8 before the close of 2014 and the number of countries to 12. The first of its networks are planned to be live by the end of March in 2015, with full capability established in all 12 countries by the dusk of 2015.
Currently, the company has around two hundred thousand subscribed customers, with projections of one million expected by the end of 2015. Because of this, current estimations of the company’s worth ranging between $250 million and $450 million. The company has reportedly received several offers from small– and large–market U.S. telecommunications corporations.
One of the company’s mentioned was Sprint, although FreedomPop said no official proposals had been received. However, Sprint would be a likely company as FreedomPop already has agreements in place with Sprint (and Clearwire) that use their networks as a backup in case of downtime or network issues.