A number of carriers offer data plans which enable users to connect to the internet through their mobile devices. The disadvantage with most of these plans is that they are a bit expensive. There are startup companies that are trying to provide inexpensive data plans through innovative products. One of the ways is to make use of hotspots.
A hotspot may be defined as a physical location that offers Internet access to users, typically, through Wi-Fi technology. Hotspots are found in public establishments like hotels, coffee shops, airports and other public areas around the world.
FreedomPop is a startup company that was founded in 2011. It offers free voice and data plans to customers. Though the free services offered are basic, they are helping to get rid of the digital divide between people. A number of users have been switching to FreedomPop’s free cellular service.
The company is also launching a new WiFi service that will enable a user to get unlimited use of around 10 million hotspots across the United States for a low price of $5. The service will also have an auto-connect feature to connect to the hotspots. This service could adversely affect carriers that offer LTE services at a premium price. The service also appears to fit the current usage patterns where for mobile users 90% of data is consumed over Wi-Fi. Though the initial rollout is for 10 million hotspots, it is expected to grow to 25 million hot spots quickly.
The service will available through an Andriod app initially and iPhone app will also be offered later. Freedom pop has not offered Wi-Fi service until now and this will benefit users who have been waiting eagerly for a low-cost Wi-Fi service.
Both the users who have carriers and users who have phones but no carriers are the target market for this service. For users that already have carriers, they can cut their data plans with this service. Users with phones but no carriers can use this service to get mobile service.