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iPhone sleeve provides free phone, Internet service

September 27, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The people in a humble office in West L.A. are working on a product that may revolutionize the wireless phone business.

"Just like on the web, where you've got free voice on Skype or free business cards on Vistaprint, we've come up with a model to offer free Internet, free broadband, fast and free," said Steve Sokols, co-founder and CEO of FreedomPop.

Sokols says you can get free phone service, free web browsing and free text messaging. And you don't even need a phone to get these free services, an iPod touch will do.

FreedomPop's solution is a device called the Freedom Sleeve that snaps on to an iPod Touch or an iPhone, creating an instant Wi-Fi hotspot. Coupled with one of several apps, FreedomPop says you'll have free phone service over the FreedomPop data network with no data plan contract.

"What that does is it frees you from what you're locked into right now, which is a two-year contract with Verizon or AT&T or whoever," said Sokols.

Thinking of getting the new iPhone 5 so you can have 4G service? You may not need to do that because another feature FreedomPop claims is 4G service.

But it's one thing to say such things will work, so ABC7 put it to the test. While the service worked during a phone call between two people speaking down the street from each other, our sister station KGO in San Francisco could not get service while testing the sleeve.

Apparently, FreedomPop still has a few bugs to work out before the sleeve starts shipping in a few weeks. FreedomPop also has a plug and play device for laptops and a portable device that will provide wireless Wi-Fi for up to eight different devices.

The cost is $99 for each device along with 500 megabytes of data a month. Additional data is extra, but FreedomPop says the average consumer uses less than 500 megabytes of data a month at about $350 per month.


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