US mobile network FreedomPop has signed a deal
with Dutch telecoms carrier KPN to bring free calling and texting to Europe,
launching initially in Belgium. If all goes well with the test case, it’s
thought that the company will expand the service into the UK, Germany, France
The LA-based company currently offer a free
plan to its US customers which allows them to make 200 minutes of voice calls,
send 500 text messages and download 500Mb of data. There’s also a paid version of the
service which costs just $20 for unlimited calls, texts and mobile internet.
It’s thought that the free service will be
the same in Europe but it’s not yet known how much the company will charge for
the unlimited service. Whilst in the US the company offers its plans on
refurbished handsets, it’s thought that it will be purely a SIM only service
"We have proved that a freemium model
works economically for the company, our network partners and most importantly,
the customer," FreedomPop COO Steven Sesar said
in a statement . "We have been getting a ton of interest from
international carriers and consumers and are excited to broaden our footprint
to all global citizens looking for more value and flexibility."
FreedomPop was set up in 2012 and uses the
US Sprint network to provide calling and texting on VoIP; the company was originally
backed by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom. Before the service launched in the
US the company said that its target market was consumers and small business. It
expected that around 10 to 15% of its userbase would be made up of paid
subscriptions, which would essentially support the free offering.
Its move into Europe is testament to the
success it has enjoyed in the US, but it will be interesting to see how it
fares in such a competitive market.
"Enabling innovative business models
with our mobile network is a key part of KPN's wholesale business
strategy," said Jos Donvil, CEO of BASE Company. "FreedomPop
represents the kind of innovative service model that will deliver both growth