FreedomPop, LightSquared Promise Free Wireless
New Startup From Skype Co-founer Zennström
LightSquared doesn't even have a network yet, and the ability to build one is hampered at the moment by ongoing GPS interference worries
. That hasn't stopped the company from signing up more than 30 wholesale partners, the latest of which is the new brain child of Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström. Named FreedomPop, the new startup and wireless operator is getting press for promising free mobile services for all
. According to a joint LightSquared and FreedomPop press release
, the service will launch in 2012, target largely underserved markets, and aim to "ensure that every American has access to fast, free and convenient communication services."
The nature of the service isn't yet clear, but comments made to Multichannel News
suggest that users will get access to some degree of basic services for free, with users paying more if they want any meaningful service options:
In an email, FreedomPop chief operating officer Matt Ingrid compared the company's business model to that of Dropbox, the online storage service. Dropbox offers up to 2 Gigabytes for free, and sells access to additional storage for a monthly fee in different tiers. "We're building a new kind of company we call a 'Webco' (vs. telco), i.e. economics of a Web company (no network, no high cost base, 100% online only)," he wrote.
Like Republic Wireless
, which offers $20 wireless by offloading the majority of services to Wi-Fi, we're starting to see smaller operators hoping to compete by offering more creative pricing models that rely more heavily on the fact that all voice and SMS are simply data. Whether Zennström's new project will have the same kind of impact Skype had is unlikely (especially if LightSquared can't get their network up and running), though it may be something for those interested to keep an eye on. You can sign up for updates on the service over at the FreedomPop website