Someone on reddit was sent a new freedompop premium sim with a warning to change to the new plans by 15th Oct (do note they were on an annual plan and not the free plan so could also mean the end of the annual plans)
Free plan only has 10 mins/10 texts/25mb but now with full celular talk and no app required. Short codes should work so at least it will be good for that.
A few snippets to be cautious about -
They automatically add 500mb for $8 when the 25mb is used
selecting a new number or porting has to be done during activation
...your account will not be set up with a free plan recurring subscription. Every month, on your expiration date, you will be required to manually renew the free plan.
I see that they're also touting "unlimited WiFi calling". I'm curious about how often this will actually be a useful 'any' WiFi calling. The new SIMs are also on AT&T, and AT&T has perhaps the most restrictive policy about what devices qualify for WiFi calling. I think you're OK with an iPhone,, later AT&T-branded phones, and perhaps a few others.
I'm assuming there will be no reasonable way to shut off auto-topup, and with only 25MB even the very cautious are at pretty serious risk..
I'll consider hanging on to a couple of lines just for porting fodder. I've got at least one easy-to-remember #.
FP is offering paid plans as well-- it's surprising to me that there isn't a paid plan that's even competitive with Red Pocket's standard plans. It looks like the plan is to encourage folks to move over to Red Pocket.
One user on Reddit also reported that FP customer service said the pre-loaded SIM plans will also be decommissioned.
After reading this, I checked. All my lines still showed the old Free Plan with 200MB. In an abundance of caution, I canceled all the lines anyway. Maybe I jumped the gun. But what the heck, abundance of caution.
Thanks for pointing out that the APN for the premium SIM is the same as Red Pocket!
I don't think the SIM card # change relates specifically to a change from FreedomPop to Red Pocket 'ownership' status, though.
My operating theory is that the 89011 SIM cards used by FreedomPop (with a full carrier ID of 8901170) are likely used across multiple providers on the AT&T network to designate SIMs that are provisioned for data-only use. (Perhaps someone with a data-only tablet or hotspot line elsewhere on the AT&T network, other than Unreal Mobile, can confirm this-- I haven't had any data-only SIMs on the AT&T network other than FreedomPop.)
The 89014 SIM card # (full carrier ID 8901410) is the 'standard' AT&T designator for SIMs provisioned for cellular voice, and is consistent across most MVNOs, as well as on AT&T Prepaid/Postpaid. (AT&T does have several other SIM card carrier-identifier numbers, but I am not aware of where they are used.)
So,. the change in SIM card # relates specifically to a change from data-only to traditional cellular-voice-enabled SIMs, and not the provider itself (i.e., FreedomPop or Red Pocket).
If FreedomPop is going to enforce the Oct 15 deadline across the board, they're making a mess of it. I haven't received emails for any of our lines, and there are no notifications in my dashboard.
I suppose Red Pocket bought FreedomPop for the customer list, just as Ting bought the FP/CDMA customers. They may have primarily been interested in converting those users to the standard Red Pocket model rather than really interested in keeping FreedomPop as a viable, and different, alternative. If that's true, Red Pocket doesn't even necessarily care about making FreedomPop paid plans competitive, as long as the most-likely-to destination for a departing user is within the Red Pocket family.
There is still a certain small sliver that might be able to make the new FP freemium system work for them. The key may be the unlimited WiFi calling and RCS/iMessage, tied to a line that doesn't really need mobile use & has access to home WiFi. (Think of a 'house phone'.)
Here's AT&T's FAQ page about WiFi calling:
Does my phone support Wi-Fi Calling?
It depends on your device. Follow these steps to find out:
Tap Settings on your phone, then tap Cellulaf (Apple devices) or Connection (Android devices).
Look to see if Wi-Fi Calling is listed.
If it is, your phone can support it.
If it's not, your phone isn't compatible.
That link also has a pdf file of phones eligible for WiFi calling. (It's a current link, but the pdf has a revision date of 9/2019, so there are probably models not listed.) Most MUST be AT&T branded. iPhone 6 and later are there, and a wide range of Samsung models. No Moto models except the G6 Play. Surprisingly, there are some 'budget' phones on the list, including the Phoenix 2/3/4 and the lowly (but IMHO surprisingly usable) Maven 3. (All those with the latest updates applied.)
Unlocked phones eligible for WiFi calling include a specific group of iPhone models, Pixels, and a couple of LGs.
I think that FreedomPop may be the only provider exempting carrier WiFi calling from counting against a plan allotment, so in this respect FP is keeping some 'disrupter' status.
Yes the unlimited wifi calling could be useful. I missed that.
The newer dual sim iphones can do wifi calling over data on the second sim so that could be a cheap way to get unlimited calling paired with a data only plan. There are a lot of data only esim plans (though many are routed overseas with added latency and are probably not suitable). Then again you could just use google voice.
Looks like the new site points to a completely different account backend -- even entering an invalid password with your email in the new login starts you on the upgrade process (still have to confirm your email or phone number, though). I think it would even let me "upgrade" global sim account emails that haven't been active for some time. (Not CDMA account emails, though -- those must have been purged in the transition to Ting.)
Wonder if it's even worth submitting a free account to upgrade yet? 25 MB would be pretty worthless, though...
Oops, just got mail from Freedompop this afternoon. The premium sim card is attached.
"Please transfer by Oct 15 to avoid service disruption" in printed on the mailer.
It doesn't seem mandatory, I will wait and see what happen.
I only have VOIP free plan, not the annual plan. I have more than one account.
There is no indication which account it refers too. Maybe more will be coming...
The sim and the letter likely aren't tied to any account. Possibly just sending one for each unique postal address in their system. You pick what account to "transfer" when you go through the process at their new website.
This is sucks. Data only SIM could work in any unlocked phone with LTE Band 2 and Band 4 (even phones from 2014 are supported and I am using FP for navigation). New SIM is actually restricted to AT&T VoLTE compatible phones (from 02/2022 and may be even earlier because of IMEI whitelisting/blacklisting by AT&T) for calls and SMS. There not too many unlocked (not AT&T branded) phones that support VoLTE on AT&T:
The situation is even worst with Wi-fi Calling (for unlimited calling via Wi-Fi). Only unlocked Google Pixel and iPhones (and two LG phones) support AT&T Wi-Fi calling (see above URL) or you have to buy AT&T branded crap.
I certainly don't disagree with your thought that "this is sucks".
I haven't seen info, however, that the new SIM is actually restricted to VoLTE compatible, or WiFi compatible, phones.
At this point, I think the tiny allotments of minutes/texts will work on any AT&T compatible phone, with or without VoLTE or WiFi calling support.
The 'unlimited' WiFi calling feature will only work on phones that are AT&T WiFi compliant, of course-- and the small number of phones that will support it. (With similar restrictions on unlimited RCS messaging via WiFi or the plans 25mb of data-- only usable if your phone supports RCS, or iPhone iMessage.)
AT&T shuts down 3G network in 02/2022. It means you MUST have VoLTE compatible phone on or after 02/2022 regardless of everything else. Even today AT&T starts to restrict their SIMs to VoLTE compatible phones (I do not know if it is applicable to Freedompop Premium plans).
According to Freedompop, unlimited calling can be done only using Wi-Fi calling (or you are limited to 10 mins/month). So, actually, to make Premium FP SIM usable at least for voice calls you must have VoLTE compatible phone.
Regarding RCS: it works at least on some Android phones (does not have to be very new phone). Google Messages App, in general, supports RCS.
Yes, I am aware of AT&T's plans to -eventually- require VoLTE compatible phones. Currently, I am unaware of any AT&T provider that has made this restriction for using their service. If FreedomPop Premium is doing so, it would be the first MVNO I'd be aware of.
Nothing in their new FAQ indicates to me that they are doing so. It's conceivable, but only likely if Red Pocket/FreedomPop wrangled a special deal from AT&T that stipulated this requirement as part of an early test bed.
I agree, and have stated both in the post you partially quote and in an earlier post, that AT&T WiFi compatibility is required to use the 'unlimited' WiFi calling feature. This does imply that the phone likely must also support VoLTE in order to support WiFi capability, since I'm unaware of a phone model that supports AT&T WiFi calling while not supporting AT&T VoLTE.
But until evidence indicates otherwise, there does not appear to be a requirement to have AT&T VoLTE or WiFi calling in order to activate a SIM/plan and use the other features of the plan. You just won't be able to take advantage of the unlijmited WiFI calling without it.
As you point out, unlimited RCS messaging (over WiFi) is much easier to accomplish, but not univerasally available to all users.