updated 07:05 am EDT, Wed March 21, 2012
FreedomPop rumored to have hotspot case plans
More details have emerged about Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom's latest project FreedomPop. It's stated goal has been to bring 'free wireless broadband' to consumers by using a WiMax-based freemium service. While details had been sketchy, a 'high-level' source has revealed that the service will be offered integrated as a Wi-Fi hotspot in an iPhone 4/4S case.
According to TechCrunch, it's said to run for up to 30 hours and allow its hotspot to be shared with the iPhone, as well as up to seven other devices. Each user will be offered a free 1GB plan, but that this would be subject to overage fees. For example, each megabyte over the initial 1GB used will incur a 10-cent charge that will amount to $10 for each additional gigabyte used.
Customers would have to pay a $100 deposit for the WiMax-enabled iPhone case up-front, although this would be fully refundable if users decided to cancel their service and return their case in good condition. The FreedomPop service will operate on ClearWire's 4G network, although this will place an inherent limit on the availability of the service, at least at launch.
As with all freemium service business models, FreedomPop expects that 75-80 percent of its customers will stick to their data quota each month, but it hopes to convert 10-15 percent of its customers into paying subscribers. In addition to overage charges, the company will plans to offer a range of additional add-ons designed to offer a value-added proposition for certain customers.
However, while the service will obviously have its upsides for customers within the areas with ClearWire 4G network coverage, most smartphone users are still required to purchase a data pack with their smartphone plan limiting some of the potential upsides of the FreedomPop solution.