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article imageFreedomPop, the free mobile provider, now offers LTE tablets

By James Walker     Jul 30, 2014 in Technology
As of today, you can now pick up a discounted iPad Mini or Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 on a free 4G LTE data plan, courtesy of mobile network provider FreedomPop that aims to provide people with access to the base mobile services at absolutely no cost.
Alternatively, existing users of LTE-equipped tablets can also move to FreedomPop and gain their free mobile access.
The company is retailing Apple's iPad Mini at $319 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 at $199. Both of these are on FreedomPop's base, completely free package of 500Mb of LTE data, 200 voice minutes and 500 texts.
Here the company offers something unique, too, as users will be able to associate a phone number to their FreedomPop tablet and use it to text and call as you would on any mobile device. The calls are passed through an app tied to the device that routes through FreedomPop's VoIP service to actually make the call. The service looks and feels just like a standard smartphone.
The free mobile provider FreedomPop now offers LTE tablets
The free mobile provider FreedomPop now offers LTE tablets
FreedomPop
Whether people will take advantage of this is questionable, as there are of course some practical issues surrounding using a tablet as a phone, but FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols explained the unlikely option, raising the point that apps that require a phone number to operate correctly, such as the hugely popular messaging service WhatsApp could not previously be used on tablets. He said "We felt it was important to offer an expanded FreedomPop tablet experience by including telephony, and not just to enable calls but also for using apps like WhatsApp or Uber that require a device phone number to integrate seamlessly."
Steven Sesar, FreedomPop COO, also views the break from traditional tablet usage as a failing by the phone networks who have often overlooked telephony on large devices, adding "...people are just beginning to tap into the potential of what tablets can do. With this platform becoming increasingly important to customers, they shouldn’t be harnessed by phone carriers' restrictions ...people want to use the device they’re most comfortable with, in a way that is most useful to them."
FreedomPop themselves are growing fast and have recently expanded from the US into Europe on a pilot scheme. The company profit from offering free services by allowing users to pay for more data if they run out or just require more. Their prices are still much cheaper than the major carriers though and around 50 percent of their customers only ever use their free allowance.
The availability of a tablet with a free mobile data plan may tempt many more to buy them. Many tablets sold are the Wi-Fi-only variant as people often cannot afford to pay phone networks two data plans: one for their phone and one for their tablet. Now, you can enjoy both with no monthly cost and inclusive calls, texts and data from FreedomPop who also offer smartphones like the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 on their free plans.
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