FreedomPop, a nearly free home broadband and mobile hotspot service | Geek Pick | Geek.com (click for full article) Dec. 19, 2012 (9:30 am) By: Russell Holly "While some of us feel the need to be constantly tethered to the fastest data connection possible, and are fully willing to pay for the privilege, others are quite happy to settle for an affordable chunk of data when they need it. FreedomPop is creating a home broadband and mobile hotspot service catered to the latter group, at a "mostly free" price point. We've seen a couple of companies in recently memory trying to approach the market with a way to "escape" from the carriers and ISPs that seem confident they can increase their prices and restrict their data without consequence. With Republic Wireless, for example, the company wagered that most people would use their own WiFi to make calls and use data, and the monthly fee would cover the very little that would be used after that. According to Republic Wireless, they guessed correctly. FreedomPop is making the opposite assumption, that by offering a small amount of data for free the users will most assuredly go over and the prices paid for the other data would cover the freebies. FreedomPop is the latest in an attempt to help users into a new way of using the internet, though they are the first to offer solutions for both the home and on-the-go. The FreedomPop mobile hotspot service offers the first 500MB free to anyone who would need it, and $10 per GB used after that. By accessing Sprint's WiMAX network, they are able to offer a 5-10Mb connection in covered areas. Most people that we've spoken to who have used FreedomPop have, so far, really enjoyed it. The company has several pieces of hardware available, ranging from USB sticks to mobile hotspots and an iPhone case, that users pay for upfront. As long as most people use more than 500MB every month, FreedomPop is going to continue to do well in this arena. Can the same be applied to the home broadband connection though? FreedomPop is betting that the answer is yes in their new plan to make broadband services available in several markets across the US. The same basic principles apply - you buy the WiMAX modem with a built-in wireless router outright and get 1GB of data every month. If you go over that 1GB during the month, you pay the extra amount. By the time the service is actually rolled out, there will be actual data plans for users who fully intend to use more than 1GB every month starting at $10. If you have a lot of friends, you can get more free data by signing up other users for the service. There's a certain appeal to both of these approaches. After you pay for the hardware, you can activate and de-activate the hardware as you see fit, and continue to use as you need it. If you aren't a heavy data user, $1 per GB for all of your data usage doesn't sound bad at all. For mobile hotspot users, that price is less expensive that most of the tethering plans that are available through carriers right now. FreedomPop also promises that they will upgrade to Sprint's LTE service at some point in the future, though there's no mention of how that will affect prices."