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FreedomPop Raises Another $50 Million to Offer Cheap Global Roaming for World Travelers

The move is a poke at AT&T and Verizon, which charge hefty fees to take phones abroad.


FreedomPop, which specializes in offering free and low-cost cellphone service, has raised another $50 million in funding and now plans to start selling a global hotspot.

The move offers near-local rates for data rather than the sky-high roaming fees typically charged by the major carriers. In doing so, the venture-backed alternative carrier hopes to stick another, perhaps more painful needle into traditional carriers such as AT&T and Verizon, which charge high rates for traveling abroad.

FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols said the company is able to offer lower prices by striking local deals in each of the 25 countries it is offering service in, with more countries expected in the coming weeks and months. T-Mobile offers its customers free unlimited roaming, but unlike with FreedomPop’s new service, speeds are slowed dramatically, making it useful for email and some very light Web surfing, but not much else.

FreedomPop will sell a hotspot that can be used in the different regions for $49, while a SIM card to go in unlocked phones will cost $10. Customers will get 200 megabytes of data free each month, with additional data at $10 for 500MB.

While far cheaper than the plans offered by the big carriers, or even some options aimed specifically at international road warriors, FreedomPop continues to rely on word of mouth to compete with companies that think nothing of dropping tens of millions of dollars on an advertising campaign. The company has also struggled with customer support issues as it tries to quickly grow its business.

Stokols has said that recent funding rounds should help the company improve customer support and have enough devices on hand to expand into retail.

As for the new funding, Stokols said the new investment declined to give a specific valuation, but said it was a significant step up from its prior level, which he said was above $100 million.

FreedomPop currently offers U.S. service using Sprint’s network and in the United Kingdom via European carrier Three. The company raised $30 million last year after also considering whether to sell itself or raise additional funds to remain independent. That round was later increased by $6 million as Intel took a stake.

The international service will go on sale Wednesday and allow service in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. The company plans to reach 40 countries, including parts of Asia and Latin America by year’s end.

This article originally appeared on

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