FreedomPop Reveals New WiMax iPod Touch Case, Sheds Light On Data Pricing Plans


There’s been quite a little buzz building around FreedomPop thanks to its ambitious plans to provide freemium wireless Internet to everyone in the United States, not to mention its peculiar 4G-friendly iPhone cases.

As it turns out, that’s not all that the Niklas Zennstrom-backed company has been working on behind closed doors. FreedomPop has just announced that it plans to release another 4G-capable case — this time meant for use with the iPod Touch — and has already begun taking pre-orders for the $99 gadget.

“We’ve had thousands of inquiries,” FreedomPop marketing VP Tony Miller told me. “[The iPod case] was further down on the roadmap, but we had to push it up.”

Like the iPhone case (the “Freedom Sleeve”) before it, the 4G iPod Touch case is basically a WiMax mobile hotspot that’s been designed to wrap around a device instead of sit next to it. Your mileage with the thing is going to vary considering WiMax’s limited footprint, but the company plans to release an updated model compatible with Sprint’s new LTE network in due time. For now though, interested users are going to be in for a bit of a wait — Miller says that the iPod case should be in the wild within “two months at the latest” as actual production of the device hasn’t yet begun.

That said, the company’s marketing machine has already kicked into high gear — the company has said that the new case effectively turns an iPod into an iPhone. It’s a juicy message for sure, not one that’s true right out of the gate as users will have to get set up with a VoIP service like Skype to make the phone bit a reality. FreedomPop has cryptically hinted that the ability to make voice calls may soon be folded into its wireless service though, so that statement may ring truer down the line.

If this iPod case concept sounds eerily familiar, it’s because Sprint essentially did the exact same thing about two years ago with the ZTE-made Peel. Well before Sprint finagled a deal to sell the iPhone, interested consumers could pick one up and shell out $29.99/month for 1GB of 3G data. Despite the obvious similarities — I’m told that ZTE may be on deck to produce FreedomPop’s iPod case — Miller claims that no one on the team had heard of the Peel until they began doing research into the feasibility of such a product.

FreedomPop’s twist on the device (if you haven’t yet heard) on the other hand grants users 500MB of free monthly Internet access, as well as some bonuses for playing nice with others. As I’ve mentioned before, FreedomPop is really trying to play up the social component of its freemium Internet service — users can share portions of their data allotments with each other, and can score an additional 10MB for each new user they refer to the service.

Miller also let slip a few details on the sorts of rates the company will offer for users who need more than 500MB/month. Those in need of just a little more bandwidth per month can pay the normal $10 for each additional gigabyte, but the company also plans to offer low-cost data plans for really heavy users. Miller wouldn’t break down the tiers specifically (mostly because the company hasn’t quite ironed them all out yet), but revealed that the company plans to run with an aggressive pricing model — FreedomPop’s data plans are said to cost between 20% and 50% less than similar data buckets from major carriers. Take the near-standard $50 for 5GB bucket for example: under FreedomPop’s purview, that same chunk of data access would users a relatively scant $25 to $40.

If it seems like FreedomPop is spending too much time and effort focusing on iOS devices, fear not — Miller also confirmed that Android is “on the roadmap,” though exactly how far down that is on the company’s list of things to do is still unclear. Then again, this iPod case wasn’t supposed to happen for a while, so who knows how long it’ll be before the first Android-friendly FreedomPop cases hit the streets.

More TechCrunch

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

5 hours ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?