Santa Monica, CA
·Time Warner Cable
Reverse Channel Cannibalism
FP has a winner with their "free" and under-$20 tiers, and I guess I understand the appeal of the misery-loves-company "social" / MLM marketing.
But if their service runs on Clear, why would anyone pay $35/5gb or $60/10gb when Clear sells "unlimited" service for $35?
How the hell is this "competitive" when they're reselling someone else's network for *more* than the owners of the network? Hitching an anchor to Clear's horrbile WiMax network is clearly suicide. Sprint is only a slightly less horrible network -- 'tho infinitely less likely to go *poof* overnight.
That's only for people that need more than 5GB. Most people don't need that much. $35/month is a total waste of money for me because I won't use near that amount. I don't travel a lot or regularly and I have broadband at home and work not to mention an iPhone data plan with AT&T.
For me this is extremely competitive. I'll be paying between $0 and $10 in any one given month for my MiFi needs.
If you're a heavy data user, FreedomPop clearly isn't the right choice. For $35 you can also get VirginMobile unlimited 4G.
If you take a look almost all data plan pricing caters to either the heavy user, or the light user. None of them really work for both groups so you need to pick the right service and plan to be cost effective.
5GB on a cellphone is a lot. (esp. if no streaming video has been used.) But for a full computer -- laptop, desktop, etc. -- there can be 5GB of background traffic invisible to the user.
If you have internet access at home, work, friends' houses, numerous resturants, etc., then there's very little need for a MiFi. If you have a cellphone with data, then there's almost zero reason to have one. I got one simply because it's "free" (minus "deposit".) Being anchored to Clear's WiMax network means it's coverage is laughablly small. (I'm surprised it stayed connected from RDU to West of Apex, NC on US-64.)
Almost zero is the key. The need is not totally zero. In most cases restaurants and coffee shop WiFi is horrible and it's really inconvenient unless you're going to one specifically to hang out there. There is the occasional travel to places or outings where it's useful and this day in age it makes life a lot easier to have some kind of MiFi or tethering. I'm always looking for a solution that isn't going to require me to pay a monthly fee when I'm not really using it.
FreedomPop is really gets it's key market from the iPod touch case they'll be shipping soon. There is a huge group of customers here that don't have the money or the desire to pay for internet access otherwise they'd probably have an iPhone.
They'll have one for the iPhone too, but I don't really understand the point of that. Apparently there are there are millions of people who took unlocked iPhones to TMobile (which only provides EDGE data) so they'll be able to benefit from faster speeds this way at no extra cost.
Yes, the WiMax network is laughably small. The whole service is transitioning to LTE within a year (I hear you'll be able to swap your device for a discount fee) and the LTE network will theoretically grow (at least to the limit of Sprint's coverage) and be able to fall back to 3G. So that'll at least be more useful.
There are those who need 3G/4G service for streaming, downloading, etc. This type of thing is not for them. You're best finding the cheapest unlimited service that covers your primary area.
I have never seen WiFi worse than Clear. The odds are very much against you on the "travel and outings" as well. Unless you stick to places where Clear has towers, find a spot where you have a signal, and don't move more than 10ft... you might be ok. Even where there is green on their map, you can walk 50ft down the street and instantly have no signal.
Clear already has 3G/WiMax hybrid devices. Using Sprint's network costs more, 'tho. I'm waiting to see what comes out with Sprint LTE. Sprint isn't bankrupt, but their coverage is only slightly less horrible than Clear.