FreedomPop has spent the past year trying to turn the wireless industry on its ear with its freemium mobile Internet service, but the Niklas Zennstrom-backed company is now setting its sights on replacing people’s pricey home Internet contracts. After teasing folks with pre-orders for wireless modems late last year, FreedomPop officially opened up its home service to the masses this morning.
Here’s FreedomPop’s home service in a nutshell: users who pay $89 for the company’s Hub Burst wireless modem and sign up for a basic account are treated to 1GB of free wireless Internet access right out of the gate. That home cap seems a little on the low side considering just how much data people are consuming these days, but with median household data usage under 5.5GB FreedomPop figures there’s plenty of room to make a splash by targeting folks who just don’t lean on the web all that much.
While FreedomPop home users are treated to a higher free data cap than their wireless counterparts, most of the service’s nuts and bolts remain the same regardless of what device people are hooking up to it. FreedomPop’s goal of bringing free Internet to the unconnected (or underconnected) masses may seem altruistic at first glance, but the company is naturally in this business to make some money. The plan? That users will participate in affiliate promotions and pay extra monthly fees in exchange for higher monthly rate caps (think $9.99/month for 10GB of access) and a slew of value-added features. Subscribers can also effectively share their monthly data ration (a feature that was only just recently fired up) with friends and family as needed.
If any of this has managed to pique your interest, remember that Clearwire’s WiMAX network (which FreedomPop leans extensively on) isn’t quite as fleshed out as the 4G networks offered by other providers. That said, FreedomPop is still planning a switch to Sprint’s LTE network at some point this year, so that FreedomPop’s data offerings may soon become much more appealing.