The world of mobile carriers is experiencing a very real and very dramatic paradigm shift with the way technology has moved in the new century. Cell phones are smaller than they ever have been, quicker, and able to access hotspots all over the world with the click of a button. Due to this change companies like FreedomPop are beginning to welcome in the new shift. FreedomPop is a freemium mobile phone company that focuses on a ‘pay as you need’ business model, giving customers the chance to direct their phone bills from top to bottom.
For the past year or so telemarketing juggernauts have been moving quickly to try and corner this part of the market. Companies like AT&T and Comcast have eagerly been snapping up smaller independent companies in order to spread their reach into new directions. Due to this economic climate FreedomPop, an L.A. based tech start up, has experienced a meteoric rise in actual value. For the better part of the last eight weeks the rumors of an M&A deal have been persistently floating to the front of the technology pages. CEO Stephen Stokols finally laid these all to rest.
Stokols told reporters that it would be “premature to sell at this point” and that FreedomPop would be going forward as an independent company. He reminded reporters that the company did in fact receive a ton of interest, including six bids from carriers including a “large tech company”, but their focus will remain with developing their own brand going forward. FreedomPop is coming off of a successful round of Series B investments that saw the start up raise another $30 million for their funds. Partech Ventures, a European venture capitalist group, led the way in these investments thanks to CEO Mark Menell. Menell told reporters that they believed in the FreedomPop image and wanted to get on while it was still early.
In the United States FreedomPop has been an almost unrivaled success, at least on a small scale. Their core model involves completely free services for customers and that price cannot be beaten. Subscribers get a limited amount of free talk, text, and mobile data with no strings attached. Customers only ever pay for overages, plan upgrades, or for services such as phone insurance or roaming data. Otherwise the core service is completely free. The company is rounding out on one million subscribers and now they are looking to expand overseas into Europe and in particular the U.K. marketplace
The United Kingdom is the most competitive phone market in all of Europe so FreedomPop will have to be aggressive in securing customer shares. Right now their basic model has been released in a SIM card setting: 200 minutes of voice, 200 texts, and 200 MB of data all completely free. Customers then can purchase the Jetsetter program which adds on additional roaming data for those who like to travel. There are also improved data plans available for users who like the service and plan to use it more often.