What's your backup plan in case FreedomPop goes bust? (or becomes less free)

There's a current thread on "What's your backup plan in case CellNuvo goes bust?".
Really, this should be "what's your backup plan in case your current budget carrier goes bust?" , since it's applicable for all smaller MVNO's.
It's also a topic that's been covered indirectly many times in this forum through discussion of other budget MVNOs, as well as through many of the current CellNuvo threads. (Much previous discussion of Tello, Twigby, MintSIM, Red Pocket, LycaMobile, etc., etc.)

A much more interesting 'new' topic to me, and one that has not been discussed many times, is alternatives to FreedomPop, or at what point an alternative to FreedomPop becomes viable, or at what point one is willing to become a 'paid' FreedomPop customer.

  1. many, if not most, FreedomPop users are there specifically because of the data access-- not the native Voice/Text capabilities.

  2. many FreedomPop users 'stack' accounts to increase their free data access.

  3. FreedomPop is making changes to discourage both of these user approaches, and to encourage conversion to paid plans.

So, if your interest in FreedomPop is primarily for data access, the interesting questions become:
A) Are there any viable alternatives for free, or super-low cost data?
(If you suggest special limited promos like Sprint or Virgin, please briefly note the hurdles for access-- but I'm really more intrigued by available-to-all options.)

B : B). (edit: hah! caught by that auto-emoji conversion!) What would it take to turn you into a paying FreedomPop customer, instead of a user of free service? (What are the thresholds?-- I'd suggest keeping it realistic, and including whether some particular cost increase would drive you away from the free data market with no replacement, or whether there's an alternative that would keep you in the paid data market elsewhere at a competing price?

I'll never pay for freedompop.

Are there free alternatives? No. There is cellnuvo if you mean no monetary outlay, or a limited time promo like bringing your iphone to virgin for 6 months for $1.

A redpocket ebay plan for $60 a year on ebay gets you 100 min/100texts/500mb data a month on any network. Probably the cheapest alternative with a decent data allotment and gives you a choice of 4 networks and proper cellular calls.

It is quite easy to get one of those for no monetary outlay as well. Join swagbucks, fill out some surveys now and then, do some searching, watch some videos etc and you can make $60 in ebay gift cards quite easily every year. Homemade cellnuvo if you like. If anyone is interested or wants some tips feel free to pm me.

The Red Pocket $60 plan is a good one for minimal data use. Only catch for me is that I don't think Red Pocket allows tethering on any carrier except T-Mobile? But I'd get a good backup cellular phone in the bargain.

I have several FreedomPop devices, across the spectrum-- Sprint-network phone, Global and LTE SIMs, and a hotspot.
I don't use them to 'milk' data, although data is exactly what I'm interested in. For me, it's a safety factor and a convenience. I leave the Sprint phone in one car for navigation and in case I need data while out without using up my regular plan. My hotspot and my LTE SIM phone are in case I need data on my laptop, tablet, etc. The Global SIM sees little use now that I have an LTE SIM. (especially since T-Mo is less reliable in some of the neighborhoods here.) I probably only use 200mB of data across all of the units (and some of of that is just to make sure the lines don't get suspended), but I like having them for "what if" situations.

I would pay for FreedomPop data if I couldn't get it for free, but I'd probably reduce my count of devices to a single (or maybe 2?) LTE SIM phones that are capable of hotspot, and serve as a backup phone at the same time. My "trigger point" cost for paying for that would probably be no more than $6-7 for 1 GB/month, and I think FP has plans in this range. I'd probably be better off paying $3 for 500mB, with an option for reasonable overages.

My difficulty with paying for FreedomPop service for other-than-data is that the voice/text service is only 90% of where I need it be for reliability and coverage (despite improvements over the last couple of years), and I need to be reachable for work. (So far, I have found this to be true with all VoIP options, and I think FP does about as good a job of it as any.) I also need voicemail, which is currently an extra-cost option. I can use FreedomPop voice for fixed-location calls to extend my minutes on another budget plan, though. (Example: calling customer service when I know I'm likely to be on hold.....)

....and thanks, mmfacemm, for the mention of using swagbucks or something similar as an no-cash payment method. I've never tried it, but was intrigued by earlier suggestions to use that approach in combination with a low-cost carrier.

mmfacemm writes:
"I'll never pay for freedompop.

Are there free alternatives? No"

I'm not really hoping for a suggestion for other free data sources-- I've done that search.

I am intrigued, however, by frequent comments from users that they will never pay for freedompop. The implication of that statement is that the service is something that is not needed at all, or that it falls so far below the standards of what is available at any cost that it is simply not worth purchasing. (And the other implication of that statement, if it's widespread enough, is that FreedomPop is doomed to fail unless they come up with other ways to generate enough revenue to pay for giving away data.)

It's possible that you're like me, and used to getting by with very little data. With no FreedomPop, I could revert to my former habits, and get by on 100-200mb/month. But I don't want to be forced to, and would probably consider upping my data cost elsewhere if there was no free FreedomPop.

Well I just think that if I am paying I want the whole lot - cellular calls and texts too. Not just data. I want something reliable and something that isn't just voip. I can put up with much less if it was free. I want something that isn't sprint ideally so FP premium voice isn't appealing. You can get a decent plan under $10 these days with everything I could need - talk/text/data.

Yes I don't use a lot of data. Most months I can manage with 250mb with some months going up to 500mb. Now and then I might reach 1 gb.

If they brought out a tmobile LTE sim I might consider paying for it. Tmobile data is more valuable to me.

Plus once it has been free for so long it is hard to start having to pay for it!

I've been using freedompop since their wimax days. Probably right near the beginning. I just have never found a use for it that I would want to pay for.

For such low usage, you can buy a Red Pocket $60 a year plan on ebay.

Had free FreedomPop data for a few years. Mix of Sprint mifi hotspots, plug in Sprint USB modems, and a global LTE sim that came with a refurb mifi liberate hotspot. Bailed in mid-May when it looked like they were going to tinker with their plans and try harder to make free users paid users (terms and conditions started to change and they did test charges of a penny against some accounts).

Eventually bailed because I found better options and didn't have to jump through hoops with Freedom Friends, constantly check usage (often delayed usage readings), didn't have the time, etc. Not easy to bail because it required calls to customer service and they tried hard to talk me into retaining the account (which I politely but firmly declined). Kept copies of subsequent email correspondence cancelling accounts just in case since FreedomPop book-keeping can be somewhat sketchy.

Suggestions based on what I've tried or switched to:

  1. AT&T Mobley postpaid mifi device that plugs into the OBDC port on the dash or can be used elsewhere with 3rd party ac, dc, or usb adapters, or battery packs. $20/month for unlimited domestic data and another $2.01 in taxes/fees for a grand total of $22.01 a month....that's stand-alone and no contract commitment since I bought the device from Best Buy online. First 22 gb guaranteed high speed LTE and then can be temporarily de-prioritized if on a heavily congested tower, but I don't think that's ever happened to me. Caveats of ZTE Mobley is known to be of poor build quality (I moved my sim chip to an old mifi device when I could not get the Mobley device to work right and neither could AT&T tech support or a local AT&T affiliate). Using an AT&T Liberate Mifi device with the battery pack swiped from the FreedomPop global LTE liberate device I no longer use...interchangeable parts is a good thing. Also there are reports of this plan not being marketed any more by AT&T as a stand alone and just through GM Onstar and similar devices from other car makers but YMMV.
  2. It's a hack but some people are using the hotspot feature of an older 3G Verizon smartphones that are flashed with the donor profile of a flip-phone. That way they can use a feature phone unlimited data prepaid plan (there used to be a $15/month plan but now I think $30 is the cheapest) rather than the pricier LTE smartphone plans. Downside is Verizon will be sunsetting 3G as early as late 2019 and there's no way to upgrade this hack to LTE that I am aware of. Think Verizon treats this as a wink and a nod if customers pay their bills on time, give real account information, and don't overdo it on the data usage. Had this for a while for voice/text/data but needed LTE speeds and knew this was a technological dead end.
  3. Have a Karma/Sprint mifi device on a grandfathered plan with no monthly fee, over 40 gb on account, and additional 100 mb credits if someone uses the guest ports on the mifi device. That happened frequently in airports.
  4. Have a SkyRoam 3G mifi data device. Not free like the FreedomPop Global LTE device but works in places that FreedomPop does not like Canada (used on 2 business trips) and also intend to use in Bermuda. Flat $8/day data pass for unlimited use with I think the first 500 mb guaranteed at high speed...haven't been throttled yet.

I currently have an LG x Charge in service on xfinity. It's sim works in my Nexus so my immediate backup is in place and ready to work with zero delay.

The longer term options would be from the following. The choice would depend on what exactly happens, what any pricing is and what is available at the time:

  1. Xfinity. Unlimited talk and text and 100MB of data for ~$1 a month. If I exceed that it's $12 a GB.
  2. Sign up for the Sprint deal if it is still available.
  3. Pay freedompop for data if it's cheaper / available in smaller increments than Xfinity
  4. CellNUVO. Just kidding :lol:

Both the Sprint and Xfinity offers are great!
Sprint (or Virgin) is hard to consider a future fallback position for Freedompop, though, since it's a limited-time offer.

Xfinity is a special case, too.. Even if you can get it, it's not really a low-cost plan. It's a ultra-low cost voice/text add-on to a market-rate, non-phone plan. Once you exceed the base 100mb, it becomes a pretty standard market-rate phone plan, too. (Roughly similar pricing is available from Red Pocket on monthly plans, for example. But Xfinity would allow on-demand per-GB purchase, if your needs fluctuated &/or were sometimes below the 100mb level.)

I do think some of the current FP offers price data below market rate-- around $7-8/gb. Since I don't usually worry too much about data allotment (because I don't use much, and I have FreedomPop), I'm not sure if one could match that rate from another MVNO that allows tethering.