Selected out-of-contract Android Sprint smartphones can enjoy 500MB of data, 500 texts and 200 voice minutes on FreedomPop for free, starting Tuesday.
Telecom startup FreedomPop is one of America's largest mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) with phone subscribers growing at a rate of 20 percent month over month and more than 100,000 subscribers.
The MVNO phones runs on Sprint's old Clearwire WiMax network, slated to be officially turned off in 2015 and only covers a third of the country. However, it's actually not using Sprint's voice network at all as all calling and texting go through a voice-over-IP system that hijacks the Android dialer transparent to the user.
All users have to do is download the FreedomPop app from Google Play on their out-of-contract device and get the smartphone switched over to its service. A specialized FreedomPop ROM is also available for those who want to reflash their phones.
Originally launching in October with the three year old HTC EVO 4G smartphone, FreedomPop "bring your own phone" plan hopes to expand to support 150 different devices over the next week. FreedomPop also sells higher data speeds for $4 and a $3.50 rollover data "value added service." According to FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols, the company makes money from people who trade up to paid from free services.
That also includes Apple's iPhone, which may be a bit tricky. The Cupertino-based company doesn't do deals with MVNO but some Sprint MVNOs have launched "bring your own phone" promotions in the past and have offered Apple's device in the past. Sprint's distribution deal with Apple prevents it from activating iPhones with a partner, however. Stokols told Forbes that the company is currently testing a FreedomPop iOS app on their iPhones that allow them to make calls and text for a low $30 a month with a leading carrier like AT&T or Verizon.
Phones currently usable on FreedomPop are as follows:
HTC EVO 4G
Samsung Epic 4G
Samsung Epic 4G Touch
Samsung Galaxy S II 16GB
LG Optimus S
Motorola Photon 4G
HTC Evo 3D
Boost Prevail by Samsung
Galaxy Nexus by Samsung
Nexus S 4G by Samsung