Free voice, text and data model set to shake up Europe?
The UK is set to have a new freemium mobile phone operator as US-based mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), FreedomPop, has stated it will launch its completely free mobile phone services into Europe.
FreedomPop is launching initial services in the UK on the Three network via mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE), Xmobility, in the UK this summer. The operator stated that another UK-based mobile operator will be announced shortly.
For UK users, the business is to offer a SIM-only service with 200 minutes of calls, 200 text messages and 200MB of data, according to co-founder Steven Sesar, quoted in Tech Crunch.
If users go over the basic service they are able to purchase additional bolt-ons that expand their call, text and data usage. On its free US service on which users get 200 voice minutes, 500 texts and 500MB of data, FreedomPop announced in February that it was adding a monthly unlimited voice and text package for $4.58 per month.
FreedomPop’s Sesar said the company’s European expansion is on the horizon. It has signed deals with a further six mobile carriers over nine European countries that are due to launch soon, according to Tech Crunch.
Kester Mann, principle analyst for operators at CCS Insight, told Smart Chimps: “FreedomPop has had success in the US and now it’s moving into the UK. The UK MVNO market is becoming increasingly competitive, so as well as competitive deals from the likes of Tesco and Giffgaff, yesterday Carphone Warehouse announced iD, the Post Office said it is to launch an MVNO soon, and Sky will launch next year.”
The UK service includes free international calls to over 60 countries and will soon include roaming service, Jetsetter, which is a free SIM for 100MB of data roaming in the UK, Spain and France, to be expanded to include over 20 countries going forward. The JetSetter Global SIM will work on all unlocked GSM phones with paid plans starting at $10.
FreedomPop will also add the ability to buy smartphones and tablets to its European service later this year. In the US FreedomPop began making its own low cost devices, beginning with the Liberty Wi-Fi-only phablet, in October last year.
FreedomPop is making its first foray outside of the US after setting its sights on gaining one million users in America by the end of this year. The company is led by Stephen Stokols, who founded online chat and video social network Woo Media that sold to online dating company, Zoosk in 2011, and prior to that was BT’s vice president of strategy and business development in London.