Free cellular service may sound like a pipe dream, but that's exactly what FreedomPop offers. A small carrier, FreedomPop offers basic wireless plans that are good enough for anyone who doesn't burn through tons of cellular data every day. Individuals can get 200MB per month with 200 minutes of talk time and 500 texts at no charge at all—or pony up $7.99 per month for 1GB of data per month or $19.99 per month for 2GB of data, both with unlimited talk and text. Every plan—yes, even the free plan—requires no contract and includes access to over 8 million Wi-Fi hotspots, nationwide roaming and international calling.
Now FreedomPop is adding family plans to its range of mobile options—and, they're offering a real bargain. The Family Plan allows 2-10 lines to share 1GB of data, plus unlimited calls and texts. Beyond two lines, you get 500MB of data per month per line. So 10 people sharing the 1GB plan would actually be getting 500MB per family member or 5GB.
Unlike the individual plans, the Family Plans aren't actually free. While labeled as a free, you still have to pay $5 per month for each device that accesses the plan. So your bill for the 1GB plan is actually $10 per month for two lines. If you need more data, prices starts at just $14.99 per month for 2GB (plus the $5 per device access fee). Plus, you'll need to buy a FreedomPop SIM for your unlocked phone ($9.99, coming next week) or a FreedomPop phone, which starts at $49.99. These are one-time costs.
Compared to the unlimited plans the major carriers offer, 1GB of data may seem skimpy—but most of us just don't use that much wireless data, instead connecting to Wi-Fi when we want to download or stream large files. Unless you go through a lot of data every month, you may be paying for more service than you need. If that's the case, FreedomPop could shrink your monthly cellphone bill significantly.
No matter which deal you choose, it's a steal compared to the plans offered by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. And, most charge line access fees in addition to plan fees.
Not sure how much data you're using? Providers don't always make it easy to check, but you can follow these instructions to check with your carrier:
If you aren't using much of that unlimited data, maybe it's time to switch. After all, if you're on a family plan with a major carrier it can be a pricy proposition:
- AT&T's family plans start at $30/month for 1GB plus $20/month per smartphone
- Sprint's family plans start at $20/month for 1GB plus $20/month per smartphone
- T-Mobile's family plans start at $100/month for Unlimited data for two lines plus $20-$40 per month per additional smartphone
- Verizon's family plans start at $70/month for 3GB per line for two lines, with prices per line dropping from there
Once you've figured out what you need, you can sign up for new family plans with FreedomPop.
image credit: group of people using cell phones via BigStockPhoto