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FreedomPop Expands Into Europe as It Weighs Investment or Sale

First, the U.K., in partnership with European carrier Three.


Alternative mobile carrier FreedomPop is announcing its plans to expand into Europe, starting with the United Kingdom.

The service will initially launch in the U.K. via a partnership with European carrier Three.

As in the U.S., customers get some services free, with FreedomPop looking to make its money from additional paid services. The free bundle in the UK–200 megabytes of data, 200 voice minutes and 200 text messages–is less generous than in the U.S. on data and texts, while the same when it comes to calling.

The company is also detailing plans for a product called Jetsetter, aimed at giving frequent travelers 100 megabytes per month of free high-speed data.

Initially, Jetsetter SIM cards will work in the U.K., Spain and France, but the company hopes to expand that to more than 50 countries total within 24 months.

Jetsetter is due to launch later this year, while the U.K. service will be available in the coming weeks for beta customers and broadly by sometime this summer. Additional countries should quickly follow, FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols said in an interview.

The moves come as FreedomPop continues to weigh whether to take on a big new financing round or to sell the company. A decision on which path to take could be announced in the next few weeks, Stokols said.

“We got several M&A (merger and acquisition) offers,” Stokols told Re/code. “What I can’t say is our decision on that.”

With either scenario, Stokols said, “there is going to be a lot of capital available for us to really blow things out.”

Stokols said Sprint, which was said to be mulling a bid for FreedomPop, was not among the companies still looking to acquire the company.

As for Google launching its own brand of wireless service, Stokols said he was somewhat relieved that the company didn’t price Google Fi cheaper than it did.

“It wasn’t that aggressive,” Stokols said. “It wasn’t this massive price disruption.”

The bigger deal, he said, was the company’s push for devices that allow service to switch between carriers — in its case, between the networks of Sprint and T-Mobile.

“That’s the real transfer of power from carrier to the consumer,” Stokols said.

FreedomPop also hopes to add support for a second U.S. carrier toward the end of this year. FreedomPop currently works only with Sprint.

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