A Simple Guide To Getting Totally FREE Smartphone Service
with the 99 cent FreedomPop (AT&T) LTE sim kit
2017

[Last updated: Dec 15, 2017]
I've been using FreedomPop for completely free smartphone service for over a year. I first started with a FreedomPop Global sim in August 2016, but changed to the much better and newer FreedomPop (AT&T) US-only LTE sim in January 2017. I have several FreedomPop LTE sims, several older FreedomPop Global sims, and even a FreedomPop Sprint-based Moto E2 phone. I've written extensive reviews on all three different Freedom services (the Global sim, the AT&T LTE sim, and the Sprint-based phones). In my opinion, the new LTE sim provides the best service, especially if you use it with a free Google Voice number and the Google Hangouts app. Recently, FreedomPop has been making several changes, so rather than trying to keep all three of my previous reviews up to date, and because I think the new LTE sim is the best way to go, I decided to write this (hopefully) simple "how to" guide on the best way to get free smartphone service from FreedomPop. I highly recommend that you read and understand the section on FreedomPop's Business Model and make sure that FreedomPop will work for you and meet your expectations. If you don't need a lot of monthly cellular data and you're up for the challenge (it isn't that hard), as long as you know what you're doing, you really can get totally FREE smartphone service with FreedomPop.

FreedomPop has three DIFFERENT services. If you sign up of a FreedomPop offer, make sure you know which of the three services you are signing up for. I've tested and used all three services, and think that the new LTE sim is the best way to go. For the record, here are my three previous FreedomPop reviews

My Previous FreedomPop Reviews:
#1. FreedomPop GLOBAL GSM Sim Review 2016 (no longer sold by FreedomPop)
#2. FreedomPop Sprint-based (CDMA) Smartphones Review 2016
#3. FreedomPop AT&T-based (GSM) LTE Sim Review 2017 (also covered in this guide)

FreedomPop Nationwide (AT&T) LTE GSM Sim Kit Special Offers

Order the LTE Sim Kit for $0.99
(offer includes 1GB* free bonus data & free shipping)

(downgrade to the free plan and get 200 minutes, 500 texts, and 700mb data with FP Friends bonus)
(hot! *1GB  bonus data still available after downgrading to free plan, and 500mb will rollover one-time on first cycle if not used)

Penny Sale! Buy the LTE Sim Kit for $0.01
(offer includes 1GB* free bonus data & free shipping)

(downgrade to the free plan and get 200 minutes, 500 texts, and 700mb data with FP Friends bonus)
(hot! *1GB  bonus data still available after downgrading to free plan, and 500mb will rollover one-time on first cycle if not used)

$49 Annual Plan LTE Sim Offer
(1000 min, 1000 texts, 1GB per month (1.5GB/mo with friends bonus) ~ $4.17/month)

notes on ordering:
note 1) Use a valid email address when you start the special offer process, and check that you have typed it correctly. Your temporary account password will be sent to this email address (in a "Welcome to FreedomPop" email) and you will need the temporary password to access your new account.
note 2) During the $0.99 LTE sim offer ordering process, you may get an offer for "PURCHASE CONFIRMATION - YOUR FREE GIFT WITH TODAY'S PURCHASE. One-time activation only $0.01". This is for a SECOND sim for a PENNY. The second sim can also get the 500mb monthly FreedomPop Friends bonus data (starting on the second cycle). The second sim will also have its own free trials that you will also need to downgrade. If you have a pop-up blocker, you should disable it before ordering or you might not be able to complete the second offer. I explain more about the second penny sim offer in the FreedomPop FAQ section below.
note 3) FreedomPop now requires that you pay a $5 credit/deposit to downgrade to the free plan. This $5 credit will also let you turn off AutoTopUp (explained below) and you can then use the full 700mb of data. This is a one-time-charge, and the credit can be used to pay for additional data if you ever need it. As far as I know, if you ever decide to cancel your service, you can get the $5 credit refunded if you ask. Thus, it is kind of like a $5 "security deposit" if you want to be on the free plan. In any event, this means for people wanting the free plan (like me) that the LTE sim is now really $5.99 ($0.99 + $5), but I think it is still an incredible deal to get free phone service and data. I paid $20 for my first LTE sim when it was introduced in January 2017, and have more than made my money back considering how long I have had free phone service and data.

update (11/27/2017): I just found out that on November 21, 2017, FreedomPop apparently increased the one-time $5 charge to downgrade to the free plan from $5 to $10, and will be updating my FP review(s). However, there is a work-around that allows you to still only pay $5 in credit instead of $10. The key is to disable auto-top-up first before you downgrade your plan, which requires a $5 credit. After that, then downgrade your plan, and because you already paid for and have a $5 credit, you won't have to pay for the $10 credit. If you use this suggestion, please leave a comment below. Thanks.

Per my reader Artemis on November 26, 2017: "Hi Steve, I decided I really couldn't pass up the offer for cheap data and free shipping, and purchased two more sims. :) Services are still downgraded for free. I disabled auto top up as a second step. That part still requires the $5 charge. With that credit on the account, the plan downgrade went smoothly and did not require further funding. Seems like a sneaky strategy on FP's part to get a bit more money out of newbies like myself. People should definitely disable topup first or second from now on, and the plan last, if they don't want to pay more than $5."

update3 (12/9/2017): Three readers have reported that when they tried the work-around of disabling auto-top-up first, they didn't have to pay $5 and it just disabled for free. So then they had to pay the $10 credit to downgrade. I don't know why they didn't get charged $5 to disable auto-top-up, since the $5 requirement still shows up on my accounts if I try to turn off auto-top-up. Another reader, Marty, just reported on 12/7/17 that he downgraded two sims, and on both of them, he paid $5 to disable auto-top-up, and then did not have to pay anything else to downgrade to the free plan. So for some readers, the $5 work-around is working, but not for other readers. Be prepared to pay $10 to downgrade to the free plan, but if you're "lucky" it will only be $5. Feel free to leave a comment if you'd like to report on what happens to you.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. Understanding the FreedomPop Business Model & Having Reasonable Expectations
2. What FreedomPop Offers for FREE
3. Ordering & Setting Up the LTE Sim
4. How To Downgrade To The FREE Plan (and Service)
5. How To Get 500MB of Additional Free Data Every Month With FreedomPop Friends
6. Understanding Data "AutoTopUp" and How To Avoid Data Overage Charges
7. Talk & Text Considerations: Google Voice/Hangouts vs the FreedomPop App
8. How To Get More Data
9. FreedomPop Tips
10. FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
11. Comments

1. Understanding the FreedomPop Business Model & Having Reasonable Expectations
FreedomPop's business model is to offer limited basic service for free to entice people to sign up for FreedomPop. But FreedomPop then expects that a certain percentage of these new customers will decide to pay for more generous paid monthly plans and/or will pay for various add-on services. An example of this strategy is their offer of 200 minutes of free voice calls. If you want more than 200 minutes per month, you need to change to one of their paid monthly plans (which then gives you unlimited minutes). Similarly, the free plan does not include voicemail, so if someone calls you and leaves a message, you can't listen to the message without paying for monthly voicemail service (though you can turn off voicemail, and then your number will just ring and ring until the person hangs up). To some extent, FreedomPop is similar to Pandora and Yahoo Email, both of which have limited free service or paid premium service. It's important to understand that FreedomPop must make money if they are going to stay in business long term. Although FreedomPop uses a lot of automation and technology to keep their costs low, every customer account still costs them a small amount of money, and in the end, it all adds up. FreedomPop can tolerate a certain number of non-paying customers (aka "freeloaders") as long as they have enough paying customers to make up for the costs and generate a profit. One legitimate gripe against FreedomPop is that while some customers are willing paying customers, because of FreedomPop's often confusing "fine print", some other FreedomPop customers become unwitting paying customers (which is a source of many negative reviews). But if you read this guide and pay attention, and you determine that the limited basic FreedomPop service is enough to meet your needs, then you can use the information in this guide to avoid accidentally becoming an unwitting paying customer, and instead you can instead be a happy "freeloader" like me!

Managing Your Expectations: If you think that FreedomPop wants to give away free service, you should probably reread the section above. Similarly, if you wonder why FreedomPop doesn't give you larger amounts of free data or make it easy to get a lot of data for free, then you probably don't understand the FreedomPop business model. FreedomPop is willing to give away some limited basic service to entice people to join, but they aren't going to make it super easy to get free service nor are they going to give away any more data than they need to to entice people to join. All this said, I've been a happy FreedomPop "freeloader" for over a year now, and it's really not that hard. And it's great getting absolutely free smartphone service. It's just important to have reasonable expectations and be up for the challenge (again, it is not that hard).

2. What FreedomPop Offers for FREE

200mb (700mb with FreedomPop Friends) of AT&T Nationwide 3G/4G/LTE data
200 minutes & 500 texts (voip, must use FreedomPop talk/text app)
100 international minutes (voip, with Global Free 100 add-on plan)

The FreedomPop LTE sim card works in any unlocked GSM smart phone, and provides you with AT&T cellular data. You get 200mb of free LTE data every month. If you add 10 FreedomPop Friends to your account (explained below), you'll get 500mb of free bonus data, or 700mb per month total. If you don't add FreedomPop Friends to get the bonus data, the 200mb of data probably isn't worth it and doesn't make sense, but adding 10 "friends" is easy and you only have to do it once. All you need to do to get the free data working on your phone is to install the sim card in the phone and then set the phone APN. You do not need to install the FreedomPop app to get the free data. Your FreedomPop account will have a data feature called "AutoTopUp" enabled by default. When you get with 100mb of your data limit (600mb on a 700mb account), you will be charged $15 to create an account credit that will then be used to pay for additional data if you go over your free limit. You can turn this feature off, but you have to pay for a $5 credit on your account to do this. Or you can just keep your data usage below 600mb per month and not worry about it. If you have wifi at home and/or at work, and you just need cellular data when you are out and about, 600mb should be fine for most (light) users. Your FreedomPop LTE sim will come with two free 30 day trials... a PLAN trial and a SERVICE trial. You need to downgrade the plan and remove the service trial before the 30 day trials are over, or you will be charged at the end of 30 days. The 30 day trials start when your order ships, not when you get it.

In addition, you will get to chose a local phone number for your LTE sim account, and you will get 200 free voice minutes and 500 free sms texts per month. The FreedomPop phone number is a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone number and you must download and use the FreedomPop app to use the phone number. It is not a traditional cellular number, but instead is a voip number, and it will not work unless you use the FreedomPop app. Many people (including myself) just use the free data and don't install the FP app, and instead get a free Google Voice phone number (which is also a VOIP-type phone number), and then use the Google Hangouts app for talking and texting. You can also get 100 international calling minutes (coverage includes Mexico, UK, Canada, India, and over 50 other countries) by adding the free "Global Free 100" International calling plan to your account after you sign up. The international minutes are also voip and also require you to use the FreedomPop app. If you want more international minutes, there are paid monthly international plans for 300 international minutes ($4.99/mo) or 1,000 international minutes ($9.99/mo).

 The LTE sim will work in any unlocked GSM-capable Android smartphone or iPhone. The service is via AT&T, and gives you LTE speed data, but also falls back to 3G/4G if LTE is not available. There is no roaming. The cellular service is only via AT&T, so you obviously have to have decent AT&T coverage for the service to work, but according to AT&T, they cover 97% of the United States. Note that you need to have a GSM-capable smart phone to use with the LTE sim. FreedomPop does not sell phones with or for the LTE sim. The only phones that FreedomPop sells are for their Sprint-based CDMA phones, which are different. If you see a FreedomPop offer for a phone, it is for their Sprint service and not for this AT&-T based LTE sim. If you want a cheap GSM-capable smartphone to use with LTE sim, see my "Tips" section below buying a cheap AT&T PrePaid smartphone, which you can buy for as little as $29.99 at BestBuy or Walmart.

So in a nutshell, with the FreedomPop LTE sim you get 700mb of AT&T data (600mb usable, and assumes you add 10 "friends"). If you install and use the FreedomPop talk&text app, you also get 200 free voice minutes and 500 free sms texts, or you can use a free Google Voice number with the Hangouts app for talking and texting. If you get multiple sims, you can switch sims if you need more data (each sim will have 700mb of data assuming you add 10 friends).


A typical billing summary from one of my LTE sim accounts.
What do I pay each month for my FreedomPop service? Nothing, nada, zip, zilch, $0.00!
FreedomPop really can be free... if you know what to do!

3. Ordering & Setting Up the LTE Sim
You can use this link to order the FreedomPop LTE sim for 99 cents with free shipping. Be sure to use a real email address to access the offer, because after you order, your order confirmation, information, and account password will be emailed to the email address you use to sign up.

After you complete your order, your LTE sim kit will be sent to you via US First Class Mail from California. FreedomPop previously sent sim cards via FedEX SmartPost with a tracking number, but now sends them in the First Class mail without any tracking number. Unfortunately, their system still issues a tracking number, but the number doesn't work. On your account, you may get a shipping notification that says something like, "Your order 79598410 has shipped! Tracking code 0004000074523375954293111. It may take up to a day for the shipping information to appear at Fedex.", but the LTE sim will come in your regular mail, and there is no tracking number. You should expect to receive it in 2-5 business days.


Although I already have several FreedomPop LTE sims, I ordered another one to make sure this new FreedomPop guide has the latest information. I ordered the sim on Tuesday, September 26 (2017). It shipped the same day and I received it two days later on Thursday, September 28, via US First Class mail. It came in the regular standard size plain white envelope shown above, and was mailed from Poway, California.

Your FreedomPop LTE sim will come with instructions on how to use it, but the instructions are very simple. First, you need to pop out the correct size sim for your phone. The sim card is perforated so that you can pop out a regular size, micro size, or nano size sim. Then you install the sim in your phone and set your APN to fp.com.attz. Once you set the correct FreedomPop APN (fp.com.attz) on your phone, your cellular data should work (you might need to restart/reboot your phone, and/or enable or turn on your phone's cellular data setting). That's all you have to do. Install the sim in your phone, and set the APN. If you want to use the FreedomPop phone number for calling or texting, you need to install the FreedomPop app.



Setting the APN:
 For Android phones and devices, go to Settings > Network Connections > More > Mobile Networks > Access Point Names". Click on Add or "+" and enter fp.com.attz as your APN and save.
  *Note that some Android phones may be a little different. On my ZTE ZMAX2, I went to SETTINGS > Mobile Networks > ACCESS POINT NAMES. I then tapped the "+" sign to create a new APN and typed "FREEDOMPOP" for the name and "fp.com.attz" for the APN. I then saved the new APN.

 For iPhones and iOS devices, connect to wifi and go to www.freedompop.com/iosapn  Select [Country: United States] and [Product: US LTE SIM]

  
The partial screenshots above show the APN setting on an Android phone and an iPhone 6.
Setting up the FreedomPop LTE sim to get cellular data is simple. Just pop the correct size sim out of the card and install sim in your phone. On an Android phone, go through settings and set up an APN for fp.com.attz as shown. On an iPhone, connect on wifi and go to www.freedompop.com/iosapn and follow the prompts. These instructions will also be printed on the packaging that your FreedomPop LTE sim card comes in.

4. How To Downgrade To The FREE Plan (and Remove the Service)
When you order the FreedomPop LTE sim, you are automatically signed up for TWO one month "free trials". One trial is for a PLAN (for example, the "Premium 2GB LTE Unlimited Trial ($24.99/month)" plan, and the other trial is for a SERVICE (for example, the "FreedomPop Phone Premium Trial ($7.99/month)" service. Here is an example of the terms from one of their recent offers...

"By clicking Activate, you agree to pay the amount Due Today. Your FreedomPop service will not begin until your device ships. Your subscription includes a 1-month(s) free service trial. At the conclusion of your free trial, your service will automatically renew at the provided rate found in your shopping cart of $32.98 every month."


The typical FreedomPop offer, as shown above, will include TWO free 30 day trials, one for a PLAN and one for a SERVICE. The free trial period starts when the sim ships, not after you receive it. Per the terms, the trials last 30 days, and then you will be charged for the plan and service (which may be for 1 month or 6 months depending on the offer). If you don't want to be charged, you need to downgrade to the free plan and remove the service. Many people make the mistake of not carefully reading the offer or the terms, and assume there is only a single trial. Thus they don't remove the service and they get charged for it. Or they will assume the trial doesn't start until they receive and/or activate the sim, and again they get charged. Please don't let this happen to you!

If you don't downgrade your plan and service within 30 days (from when your sim ships, not when you receive it), you will be charged. If you only downgrade your plan and not your service, you will be charged for the service. You need to downgrade/remove both! But if you can follow simple directions and you downgrade your plan and your service to their free plan, it really is free. I've ordered several LTE sims, several Global sims, and a FreedomPop Sprint-based Moto E2 phone, and I have never had any problems downgrading any of them to the free plan and service. I have never received any additional or "unexpected" charges. Please note that some FreedomPop offers are for monthly plans and services, while some other offers are for six-month plans and services.

* If you try to downgrade before your sim ships, the my.freedompop website will NOT show you the links to downgrade your plan or service. These links will be available after your sim ships. If you don't want to wait, you can use these two direct links: https://my.freedompop.com/plan and https://my.freedompop.com/services

FreedomPop requires a positive account balance to downgrade to the free plan

(updated 11/27/2017) FreedomPop started requiring that you pay for a $5 credit on your account before you can downgrade to the free plan (explained further below). On November 21, 2017, they changed the minimum credit payment available to $10. If you'd rather pay $5 instead of $10, you can disable auto-top-up (explained below) first. Disabling auto-top-up requires you to pay a $5 credit, but that credit will then allow you to downgrade to the free plan without paying $10. Thanks to reader Artemis for suggesting this tip and confirming it works as of November 26. Marty, another reader, also reported that he was able to downgrade two sims on 12/7/17, and on both he first paid $5 to turn off auto-top-up, and then did not have to pay the $10 credit. If you try this work-around, please leave a comment below and let me know if it continues to work.

or
If you disable auto-top-up before downgrading to the free plan, you should only have to pay for a $5 credit instead of a $10 credit.

To downgrade to completely free service, you will need to change TWO THINGS, your PLAN and your SERVICE. After you've downgraded your plan and service, then you need to CONFIRM that both are actually downgraded. To get started, log into your FreedomPop account, and do the following:

DOWNGRADE TO THE FREE PLAN:

 FIRST - DOWNGRADE YOUR PLAN:
   * 1. Log into your account and click on "PLAN" (if you don't see the main menu at the top, click on the three white bars in the corner to get the menu). If your sim hasn't shipped yet, you won't see the menu link for plans. You can also go to https://my.freedompop.com/plan
   * 2. Click on your trial plan (for example, the "Premium 2GB LTE Unlimited" plan for $24.99/mo)
   * 3. You should now see your plan details. Find the small link on the far right that says "To downgrade, click here". FreedomPop makes the downgrade link small for a reason, but if you look hard, you can find it. :) Click the link.
   * You will get the following warning screen: "Warning: you are about to downgrade your plan. By downgrading your plan, if you are on a trial, you will lose all additional minutes/messages/data. Any usage incurred above your new plan limits will incur additional charges."
   * Click "Downgrade anyway". You will need to click on a couple more screens and enter your password to confirm your decision.
 You can downgrade at any time after you order. You can downgrade right away immediately after you order, or you can wait until you get your sim and verify it works. I do recommend that once you get your sim and confirm it works, you should then downgrade, or at least downgrade soon after that so you don't forget.

September 2017 update: Starting in September, FreedomPop now requires that you pay for and add a $5 credit to your account before downgrading to the free plan. They disclose this new policy in the offer terms by stating, "When downgrading to the free plan, an account balance is required to protect ourselves from fraud and leakage, as data usage can be delayed up to 3 hours." If you pay for the $5 credit, you can then also turn off auto-top-up without adding any further credit, which many people do anyway.
November 27, 2017 update: FreedomPop has increased the downgrade credit amount payment to $10, however, as described above, you can first disable auto-top-up which requires a $5 credit, and then when you downgrade to the free plan, because you have a credit balance, you should not have to pay for the $10 credit. Thanks to reader Artemis for confirming this works as of November 26.

DOWNGRADE AND REMOVE THE PAID SERVICE:

 SECOND - DOWNGRADE (REMOVE) THE PAID SERVICE:
   * 1. Log into your account and click on "SERVICES" (if you don't see the main menu at the top, click on the three white bars in the corner to get the menu). If your sim hasn't shipped yet, you won't see the menu link for plans. You can also go to https://my.freedompop.com/service
   * 2. Click on your trial service (for example, the "FreedomPop Premium Plus" service for $7.99/mo)
   * 3. You should now see your service details. Find the small link at the bottom right-side of the page that says "To deactivate, click here". FreedomPop makes the deactivate link small for a reason, but if you look hard, you can find it. :) Click the link.
   * You will need to click on a couple more screens to confirm your decision and decline any other service (you will probably need to click buttons that say: DOWNGRADE ANYWAY, DOWNGRADE AND LOSE DATA, and again DOWNGRADE ANYWAY. You will probably have to also enter your account password again. Eventually, you will get a message confirming you have successfully deactivated (removed) the service!

 THIRD - CONFIRM YOU ARE ACTUALLY DOWNGRADED (both PLAN and SERVICE)
 Since some time in March 2017, there has been an ongoing "service downgrade bug" that has effected myself and many readers. It appears this has finally been fixed on the new my.freedompop.com site. However, after you downgrade to the free plan and remove the paid service bundle, go to your account OVERVIEW page and confirm your plan is free (it should not show any charge) and your paid service bundle was removed (you should see "no services found"). If this is not the case, repeat the downgrade and/or removal process, and please leave a comment below to let me know.

5. How To Get 500MB of Additional Free Data Every Month With FreedomPop Friends
The LTE sim free Basic 200 LTE plan includes 200mb of cellular data every month. You can get up to 500mb more data every month by getting "Freedom Friends". You will get 50mb every month for each "Freedom Friend" you have on your account, up to 500mb maximum. Once you get a friend, you get the data every month. You don't need to keep adding more friends, though you should have some extra friends (more than 10) in case any drop out or have their accounts suspended. All you need to send a friend request to another FreedomPop account is the email address associated with that account. After you send the request and the other account accepts (or they send you an invite and you accept it), you will get the 50mb bonus, which will repeat every month. I recently started a FreedomPop Friends list where you can find email addresses for sending invites, and add your email address to the list if you want. I also have one of my account email addresses listed there if you want to send me a friend invite.

To send a friend invite, on the my.freedompop site and (1) click on EARN & SHARE on the top main menu (or click the three white bars in the upper corner if you don't see the top menu), then (2) click on INVITE FRIENDS, (3) cut and paste or enter an email address, and (4) click the green "INVITE FRIENDS" button to send the friend invite. You can also click "FreedomPop Friends" to see a list of your active friends, and click "Friend Requests" to check the status of invites you have sent and/or check if you have received any invites that you need to accept.

Keep in mind that when you send out friend invites, other people won't see your request until the next time they log into their FreedomPop account, so you might not hear back from people for a while. Some people may have already gotten enough friends and may never check for new invitations or respond. In general, it's pretty easy to get at least 10 friends fairly fast, and then you'll have the extra 500MB of data every month. Also, if an account gets suspended, deactivated, or cancelled, it will stop working as a friend, so it's a good idea to get a few extra friends in case any of them cancel their service or have their accounts suspended or deactivated.

 

6. Understanding Data "AutoTopUp" and How To Avoid Data Overage Charges
Your FreedomPop LTE sim account will come with a feature called "Automatic Top Up" that is enabled by default. When you get within 100mb of your data limit (i.e. at 600mb if your data limit is 700mb), you will be charged $15, and a $15 credit will be added to your account to pay for any data overages (at about $.02/MB). If you continue to use data and go over your data limit (i.e. 700mb), your data stays on and your credit is used to pay for the overage data. If you use up your $15 credit, the process will repeat. You can be charged for up to seven $15 credits per month (7x$15=$105), and then your account will be suspended for the remainder of the billing cycle. From the FreedomPop website:

"FreedomPop uses an 'Automatic Top-Up' feature to ensure you are never left without broadband access when you exceed your subscribed Monthly Plan limits. The default top-up amount is $15.00.... In any billing month that your usage is within 100mb of your Monthly Plan broadband data allotment limit, your FreedomPop Account will be charged the automatic top-up amount using the registered payment method associated with your FreedomPop Account. As your broadband data use exceeds the broadband data allotment of your Monthly Plan, an amount equal to your total additional usage multiplied by the additional cost per megabyte as defined by your Monthly Plan, will be deducted from your FreedomPop Credit Account balance. When your FreedomPop Credit Account balance falls below $2.00, your registered payment method will be charged the applicable Automatic Top-Up amount as described above. This payment will occur each time your FreedomPop Account balance falls below $2.00 to prevent an interruption in the Broadband Service we provide you... If you do not use your Account Credit for a period of 30 days, FreedomPop will place your Account Credit on inactive status. You can reactivate the Account Credit by following the reactivation link at https:// freedompop .com/billing_overview.htm Account Credit on inactive status is not refundable."

There are two ways to avoid data overage charges. You can (1) set a cellular data limit on your (Android) phone, and (2) disable Auto-Top-Up on your FP account. I recommend that you do both.

  First, you can set a cellular data limit on your phone.
Note: This is a feature available on Android phones only. If you have an iPhone, there may be apps which will do this. On an Android phone, go to Settings > Data Usage... and turn on "Set mobile data limit". Change the monthly cycle (start and stop days) to match your FreedomPop billing cycle, which you can find on your FreedomPop account under "data usage". After you've set the correct cycle, you can then pull up or down the warning level and limit level to adjust them. Set your data limit to be less than the point where the Automatic Top Up would charge you $15, or, if you've disabled Automatic Top Up (see below), set your phone's data limit little a little below your FreedomPop data limit to account for any data reporting delays and/or small discrepancies between your phone and the FreedomPop system.


Example of a cellular data monthly limit and the warning message and cut-off message you see when you hit your warning and then your data limit.

Second, you can disable the "Automatic Top Up" feature.
 Note: Now that FreedomPop requires you to pay for a $5 credit to downgrade to the free plan, once you pay the $5 and downgrade, you should also turn off AutoTopUp. You do not have to pay for another $5 credit.
To disable Auto-Top-Up, you must have a $5 credit balance on your account. If you don't, you'll have to pay $5 to put the $5 credit on your account. Once you pay for the $5 credit and turn off Auto-Top-Up, it stays off forever (unless you turn it back on).

To turn off (disable) Automatic Data Top-Off:
  1. Log into the my.freedompop site and click on "BILLING" on the main menu.
  2. On the billing page, click on "ACCOUNT CREDIT & TOP-UP SETTING"
  3. You will see that Automatic Top-Up is Enabled. Click on "Enabled" to turn it off.
  4. You will now see a Pop-Up message informing you that you must pay for a $5 credit to disable Auto Top Up (unless you already have a credit balance on your account). If you click "ADD CREDIT" you will be charged $5 and a $5 credit will be put on your account, and Auto Top-up will be disabled. If you click "CANCEL" you won't be charged, but Auto-Top Up will remain enabled (ON).

WHAT HAPPENS IF and AFTER YOU DISABLE AUTO TOP-UP?
First, if you leave Auto-Top-Up ON (enabled) and you get within 100mb of your free data limit, you will be charged $15 and the credit will be used to pay if you then go over your free data limit. If you continue to use data, this process can repeat up to seven times, so you could be charged 7x$15=$105 if you use a lot of data. I've never heard of this happening, at least this many times, but I have read that some people have been surprised and upset that they left auto-top-up enabled and then triggered the auto-top-up and got charged $15.

If you disable auto-top-up, what happens next depends on if your credit balance is over $2 and is ACTIVE or INACTIVE. When you add credit to your account, it will start as ACTIVE credit. But if it isn't used after 30 days, it becomes INACTIVE. You can log into your account and re-activate your credit, or leave it inactive. I don't know why FreedomPop makes credit "inactive" after 30 days and I don't think they should, but it is what it is.

 ✔ IF your credit is over $2 and is ACTIVE, you can use all of your free data. If you use up all of your free data, your data stays on, and your credit is used to pay for the overage data at about $.02/mb. If and when your credit balance drops below $2, then your account will be suspended until the next billing cycle.

 ✔ IF your credit balance less than $2 or is INACTIVE, then your account will be suspended when you get within 100mb of your free data limit. Your account will reset and start over at the beginning of the next billing cycle.

* Once you turn off "auto top up", it will remain off (disabled) permanently, regardless of whether or not you have credit on your account, unless you turn it back on.

* Your account credit balance is only good for paying for data overages. The credit can not be applied for monthly plan or service charges, or other expenses.

* There is up to a 3 hour delay in data reporting (AT&T reporting data usage to FreedomPop). Thus it is possible to go over your data limit before FreedomPop finds out and turns off your data. If this happens, I believe FreedomPop charges for this type of data overage in $1.99 increments. Because of this, I highly recommend you set a cellular data limit on your phone (see above).

* If you don't use your credit for 30 days, it becomes inactive. You can reactivate your credit as follows:
  1) On the my.freedompop site, click "BILLING" on the main menu.
  2) Click "CREDIT BALANCE" (look just under "History")
  3) At the bottom of the page, look for "Your credit balance has expired. Activate Credit."
  4) Click "Activate Credit" to reactive your credit. You can reactivate the credit as many times as you want

7. Talk & Text Considerations: Google Voice/Hangouts vs the FreedomPop App
I prefer to use my free Google Voice phone number on the Hangouts app for talking and texting, even though I'm "losing" the free FreedomPop App 200 minutes & 500 texts. I'm not knocking the FreedomPop Talk/Text app. I've tried the FreedomPop app and it works, both for talking and text. The FreedomPop app is a good choice for people who don't want to set up a Google Voice number and use Hangouts. You do get 200 free minutes and 500 free texts, but there are some limitations.
* The FreedomPop minutes/texts do not count against your data usage, but the minutes/text do get counted and used up both when you are on cellular data and when you are on wifi. I was a little surprised that texts sent on wifi still count against the 500 text limit since you aren't on cell service, but they do, and minutes used on wifi also count. Of course, if you need more minutes or texts, all of the FreedomPop paid monthly plans include unlimited talk and text.
* The free FreedomPop texts are SMS only. If you want to send and receive MMS, you need to pay for a monthly MMS plan ($1.99/mo or included in the $7.99/mo Premium Plus service).
* By default, the FreedomPop voice number will go to voice mail if you don't pick it up, and if someone leaves a message, you won't be able to listen to the message unless you pay for a monthly plan with voicemail ($2.49/mo or included in the $7.99/mo Premium Plus service). If you don't want people to be able to leave a voice mail that you can't access without paying, you can disable voicemail and then your number should just ring and ring. To disable voicemail, go to your account under account settings and find [voicemail preferences]. Although it says "disabled", you need to click "edit" and then click "save", and then you will get a message saying "voicemail disabled." You can confirm that voicemail is now actually disabled by calling your number and confirming it just keeps ringing.
* Each FreedomPop sim has it's own phone number. If you change sims, you change numbers.
* Google Voice with Hangouts includes free domestic calls, free voicemail, and free sms & mms texts. Texts (SMS) essentially use no data. When you are using Hangouts on wifi to talk, you won't use any of your cellular data. When you use the Hangouts app (with your Google Voice number) to talk on cellular data, it uses about .55mb per minute based on my testing. That means 100 minutes of talking should use about 55mb of cellular data. Most of my talking is when I'm on wifi (other than when I do a weekend walk and call my father), and I usually text instead of calling people.
* Most importantly, if you have a Google Voice phone number, you can install the Hangouts app on any or all of your phones and then send and receive calls and texts. You can set up your Google Voice number to ring on multiple phones, either by forwarding it to a phone number or by using the Hangouts app. I have my personal Google Voice number ring on both my FreedomPop (Sprint) Moto E2 with Hangouts and my ZTE Zmax2 with my FreedomPop LTE sim with Hangouts. A Google Voice phone number with the Hangouts app gives you a lot of flexibility.

How To Install The FreedomPop Voice/Text App

If you only want to use the FreedomPop LTE sim to get the free cellular data, you do NOT have to install the FreedomPop app. All you need to do is set your phone APN to "fp.com.attz" and then turn on cellular data, and it should work. But, if you want to use the FreedomPop phone number to get the 200 free minutes and 500 free texts, then you must install and use the FreedomPop voice/text app.

The FreedomPop phone number is not a traditional cellular number. It is a "virtual" (voip) phone number, and you must install and use the FreedomPop Messaging app to be able to use the phone number. Also remember that each FreedomPop sim has its own phone number, so if you switch sims, you are also switching FreedomPop phone numbers. There are several FreedomPop apps on the Google Play Store. The app you want to install to use with the LTE (or Global) sim is the "FreedomPop Messaging Phone/SIM".

 Step 1) Find the FreedomPop Messaging Phone/SIM app on Google Play Store and select INSTALL.
  (note: for iPhones, the FreedomPop app is on the app store and is named "Calling & Texting")
 Step 2) The app will need access to a bunch of things... select ACCEPT.
 Step 3) Wait for the 37.61mb app to download and install (you may want to install it when you're on wifi to save your cellular data)
 Step 4) After it install, select OPEN. The app will remind you to set your APN to "fp.com.attz" (actually, the app says fpop.com.attz, which is wrong). The app will explain that you must use it to send and receive texts with your FP number.  The app will explain how to activate voicemail (voicemail is a PAID feature, not free). The app will tell you that you can port your number to FreedomPop. The app will show you how to get self help and support. Now select DONE. The app will ask you to set Messaging as Default. You can say ok and change it later.
Now, whenever you reboot or power up your phone, the FreedomPop Messaging app will provision the phone and you'll get a message saying, "FreedomPop Setup Complete. Your phone number is ###-###-###".

After you've installed the FreedomPop MESSAGING app, to make a phone call, you can click on the Android PHONE icon or the FreedomPop MESSAGING icon.
To send a text, click on the FreedomPop MESSAGING icon.
TIP: If you want to check how much data you have used or get other account information, open the FreedomPop MESSAGING app. On the home screen, swipe from the left side, and you'll get a side menu showing your account information.
TROUBLESHOOTING TIP: If you install the app and you are able to send texts but not make calls, try this. In Android, go to [settting] > [apps] > select Messaging app. Select "Force Stop" then under Storage "Clear Data" and "Clear Cache". Exit settings, and then open the FP Messaging app and try making a call. On one of my phones, I had to do this twice to get calls working.
The FreedomPop MESSAGING Voice/Text app will use up your free minutes and texts both when you are on cellular and on wifi. You can always see how many you have left by using the tip above to swipe from the left side of the Messaging app screen to show your account information, including your FP phone number and minutes/texts/data used. 


The FreedomPop MESSAGING app allows you to send and receive 200 free minutes of voip voice calls and 500 free texts. If you swipe across from the left side, you will get a summary of your plan details, including your phone number and email address for your sim, and how much data you have left.

8. How To Get More Data
Each LTE sim can get a maximum of 700mb of free data a month, of which about 600mb is useable unless you disable the Auto-Top-Up feature, which requires paying for a $5 credit. If you do disable Auto-Top-Up and keep your $5 credit active, then you can use the full 700mb. The free way to get more monthly data is to have additional sims, and swap them in your phone when they run out of data. Of course, this is a bit more work, but it is free. If you are switching sims, note that each sim has its own FreedomPop phone number, so your FreedomPop phone number will change every time you change your sim.
Another option is to consider one of the FreedomPop paid plans. They have monthly plans, as well as plans where you pay for 6 months at a time (at the beginning of the period) and you save about 50%. The free option with a single sim works great for me because I'm usually on wifi and really don't need very much cellular data, but the paid plans are an option for people who want more data without bothering with swapping sims all the time. FreedomPop is currently running a special promotional offer (see below) where you pay $49 upfront for a year of service, and you get 1000 minutes, 1000 texts, and 1000mb data every month (plus you can get the 500mb bonus data from FreedomPop Friends for a total of 1.5GB of data per month). If you're willing to pay, this seems like a very sweet deal to me. $49 per year works out to a little over $4 per month, and you get 1.5GB of AT&T LTE data every month, and if you use the FP phone number and FP app, you also get 1000 minutes of talk and 1000 texts.

FreedomPop's PAID Annual Plan Special Offer
1000 minutes, 1000 texts, and 1GB data (1.5GB with friends bonus) for $49 per year
 

9. FreedomPop Tips
TIP#1: If you need a cheap GSM smartphone for the LTE sim...
 ✔ Technically and officially, you need an unlocked GSM smartphone for the FreedomPop LTE sim. That said, the LTE sim also works in AT&T PrePaid smartphones (formerly called GoPhones), even if they are not unlocked.  You can find good deals on AT&T PrePaid smartphones at BestBuy and Walmart, either in-store or online.

One cheap but decent option is the new AT&T PrePaid ZTE Maven 3 smartphone, which has a 5.0" display and runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat. You can buy the Maven 3 at BestBuy for $29.99 or at Walmart for $29.88. The Maven 3 does not have a super powerful processor, nor does it have a lot of RAM (it has 8GB, but you can add an up to 32GB microSD card), but the Maven 3 is also only $29 bucks! There are other AT&T PrePaid phones available as well, although I wouldn't spend too much on one of these phones because they will be locked to AT&T PrePaid service (unless you are using the FreedomPop LTE sim). However, they should also work as a "wifi" phone without the sim installed if you use a Google Voice number and the Hangouts app.

Please note that AT&T PrePaid phones are locked and only work with AT&T prepaid, but also work with the FreedomPop LTE sim (because the LTE sim uses AT&T service). If you decide to stop using the LTE sim, the phone will be locked unless you have it on an AT&T PrePaid plan for at least six months, and then you can get an unlock code for it. If you get one of these phones and use it, please leave me a comment with your thoughts on the particular phone and I'll post it here. The way I see it, for $29 bucks, the Maven 3 is a heck of a deal.

AT&T PrePaid ZTE Maven 3 "mini-review" - November 29, 2017
BestBuy had the Maven 3 as a Thanksgiving Black Friday DoorBuster on sale for $7.99 (regularly $29.99) so even though I don't need another phone, I bought one. Who can resist for $7.99? Here's my experience so far after just a few days days...
* I unboxed the Maven 3. It has a removable battery that you will need to install. I took out the AT&T prepaid sim and put in the battery, and turned the phone on. It started up fine. I skipped all the AT&T set-up prompts, and played around a  little bit to confirm the phone works (on wifi only, no sim card). It's a decent phone.
* I then installed Hangouts and the Hangouts Dialer app, and confirmed I could call and text with my Google Voice phone number using Hangouts on wifi only (again, no sim card). I confirmed that if you want, the Maven 3 can work as a totally free wifi-only phone with no sim card.
* I then installed a FreedomPop LTE sim and set the APN to "fp.com.attz". I confirmed the cellular data worked, and set a cellular data monthly limit of 500mb and set the monthly cycle dates to match the LTE sim account billing cycle. I never installed the FP app, because I am using Hangouts with a Google Voice number. I now have a cheap smartphone with wifi and cellular data that I can use for calling and texting with Hangouts.
The biggest limitation of the Maven 3 is the limited storage (memory). It has 8GB memory. When I first turned the phone on, I checked "storage" under "settings" and 5.46GB of 8.00GB was used. However, after the phone finished all its updating over wifi, the storage used was about 7.5GB out of 8GB. If you are only going to use the phone for calling, texting, and internet surfing, you should be ok, but otherwise, there is not enough storage. However, there is a simple solution - add a MicroSD card and set it up (format) as Internal Storage. I had a cheap "freebie" 8GB MicroSD card from a previous FreedomPop Global sim order, and installed it and under settings then formatted it as internal storage. The phone now has 7.5GB used out of 16GB. The Maven 3 can take up to a 32GB MicroSD card (for 40GB total). I don't think I would get the Maven 3 unless I was going to also put a MicroSD memory card to put in it. Also, although the Maven 3 works with the FP LTE sim even though it is locked, one supposedly can buy an unlocking code for under $2 on ebay, which I might do.

TIP#2: Use Twitter direct messaging to get FreedomPop support help...
 https://twitter.com/FreedomPopHelp
 ✔ I find that the easiest way to get FreedomPop support is via their twitter account at [https://twitter.com/FreedomPopHelp]. You will need a Twitter account. If you don't already have an account, you just need to use your email address and select a unique username and password to set up a new Twitter account. Log into your Twitter account and then go to the FreedomPop Support page. Find the "Message" button and click it to send a direct message to them. Make sure you send a message, not a tweet (a message is private, a tweet is public). Do not click "Tweet to", unless you want what you type to be posted publicly as a tweet on their support page.

I've contacted FreedomPop a handful of times via Twitter and they've always gotten back to me in under 24 hours. I'd much rather send a message with my account info and issue, and then wait to receive a message back, instead of waiting on hold on a telephone. The key is to be patient and give them a day to get back to you.

Alternatively, you can call them, but I've heard that they charge free accounts for phone support. If you're calling about a billing problem, I don't think you should have to pay for support, whether or not you're on a free plan. One way around this phone support charge, I think, is call them from a non-FreedomPop number and then press the correct buttons to get through to billing.

TIP#3: If you get an unexpected or incorrect charge...
 ✔ I have several LTE sims, several Global sims, and even a FreedomPop Sprint-based Moto E2 phone, and I've never gotten an incorrect or "unexpected" charge, although I do now sometimes get a "penny charge" ($.01 account maintenance fee) which can be annoying. However, I have read of plenty of people complaining of getting "unexpected" charges. I don't know how many of these charges are "user error" (eg. forgetting to downgrade a service, or clicking a link in an email and signing up for a temporary trial that turns into a new paid service), or how many of the charges are actually FreedomPop charging something they shouldn't. I suspect that many of the charges are "user error", because FreedomPop make it pretty easy for that to happen to inexperienced new customers. In any event, if you get a charge that you feel you shouldn't have received, I think the best thing to do is send them a message via Twitter (see the tip above) with your account details and the charge information. From everything I've read, FreedomPop always refunds the money, as long as the charge is incorrect, and often even when the charge is not incorrect.

I would not recommend doing a "charge-back" with your credit card company, unless you've already tried to communicate with FreedomPop billing and you're not happy with the results. Doing a credit card chargeback is the "nuclear option". Be aware that per FreedomPop's terms, if you do a chargeback, they will close your account (including all accounts associated with the credit card in question... this happened to one of my readers). This is probably because they both lose the money and also pay a penalty fee to their credit card processor, and it can increase the processing rate that they have to pay for their merchant account. Merchants do not like to get chargebacks, and FreedomPop is no exception. So if you get an incorrect charge (which you shouldn't), send them a message on Twitter first. Only resort to a chargeback as a last resort, and understand that your account will be closed.

TIP#4: If the LTE sim offer includes a 1GB bonus data, here's what to expect...
 ✔ Sometimes a FreedomPop offer will include a 1 GB bonus data (i.e. "1GB of Bonus Data ($20 Value) FREE") in addition to the paid plan data. If this is included in the offer, the 1GB bonus data will remain on your account even after you downgrade to the 200mb free plan, so after downgrading you'll have ~ 1.7GB of data (assuming you add ten friends). Then, even though you cancel the paid premium service, at the end of the free trial (you first billing cycle), 500mb of unused data will roll forward one-time. This is because the paid service trial included rollover, and even though your cancel it, it still works on the first cycle. Thus, assuming you have at least 500mb of data left, and assuming you added ten friends, your second cycle will have ~ 1.2GB of data (200mb plan + 500mb friends + 500mb one-time-rollover). After that, each cycle will start with 700mb of data.

Example of offer that includes 1GB bonus data (like this $0.99 LTE sim offer)

 

10. FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
FAQ#1: How is the cellular data coverage? Is is reliable, and what sort of data speeds do you get?

A: I've been using the LTE sim since January, and have been very impressed with the coverage and reliability.  Around town and when traveling, I've almost always had coverage, as I would expect because it is AT&T service. The data speeds are great, and are more than sufficient for what I do (talking via Hangouts, texting, checking emails, watching youtube, etc.) The one weakness of the service is that it uses the old Jasper network on AT&T, which seems to sometimes have higher latencies (ping times) than the newer AT&T server/network. This means that sometimes when you are using the data to talk to someone (i.e. on hangouts), there may be a slight delay of about a second when you talk back and forth with someone that isn't present on a landline or wifi connect, but I don't mind it because the service is free. Suffice it to say, you are getting AT&T cellular data (with slightly higher pings) for FREE. I'll also mention that I'm pretty sure that I almost always have an LTE connection, but if not it falls back to 4G or 3G.


Sample FreedomPop LTE sim SpeedTest results from when I received my first LTE sim in January 2017, and again on two different phones in October 2017. I am in Santa Barbara, California. The download speeds are blazing fast and range from 76Mbps to 87Mbps. The pings range from 76ms to 87ms.

FAQ#2: How long does shipping take? When will I get my new FreedomPop sim card?
A: FreedomPop used to ship sim kits from Indiana via FedEX SmartPost, but now sends them via regular US First Class mail from California. I just ordered another LTE sim in September (2017) on a Tuesday and received my sim two days later on Thursday (I'm in California). I would expect most people will receive their sim kits in 2-4 business days, and they will come in the mail in a regular size white envelope with a shipping label/address on the envelope. The FreedomPop website still generates a message when the sim ships and provides a tracking number, but the tracking number does not work. Again, the sim ships via the US Postal Service in the first class mail with NO tracking. Also remember that your 30 day free trial period starts the day your order ships, not when you get it.

FAQ#3: I got something during my order that said, "PURCHASE CONFIRMATION - YOUR FREE GIFT WITH TODAY'S PURCHASE. One-time activation only $0.01" What the heck is this?
A: Although it can be confusing, this is an offer for SECOND pre-activated sim card for a penny ($0.01). You can skip it if you want, but it's legit, and it's a good deal. If you accept it, you should be able to pick a second phone number for it, and you'll get a second sim card. The second sim card will have it's own "free trials" and you'll need to downgrade it just like your first sim card (plan and service). The great thing is that if you add at least 10 friends to your email account, both your first sim card and this second penny sim card will both get the 500mb bonus, so you'll have two sim cards, each with 700mb of data. Note: the second sim will probably not show the 500mb Friends bonus until the second billing cycle starts. Read the next FAQ to see what can go wrong and why you might not get the second penny sim card...


This is an offer to get a SECOND sim for a penny.

FAQ#4: I thought I ordered the second $.01 sim card, but I never got it. What happened?
A: I have heard that if you have a pop-up blocker (especially on Chrome) it can cause the second offer to not work, so I'd recommend turning off any pop-up blockers before ordering.

FAQ#5: If I get the second sim, is there anything I need to do?
A: If you get the second sim, the only thing you need to make sure you do is understand that it will have its own free trials (plan and service), and you'll need to downgrade both. To access the settings for your second sim (or multiple sims or devices on your account), log into your account on the FreedomPop website. Then click on your name in the upper right hand corner, and you should get a drop down menu with your devices (sim #1 and sim #2) listed. You can select either on and downgrade the plan and service. You can also monitor your data usage.

FAQ#6: I downgraded my second $.01 "penny" sim and it only has 200mb? Why didn't it get the 500mb Friends bonus?
A: The second $.01 sim will often not get the 500mb Friends bonus until it starts the second cycle. So if you only see 200mb, don't panic. Just wait until the start of the second cycle and you'll get the 500mb bonus data on it.

FAQ#7: My sim just started the second cycle, and it shows 1.17GB (or 900mb) instead of 700mb? Why do I have the extra data? Will I get charged?
A: If you have extra data at the start of your second cycle, it is because your initial free trial of Premium Service included data rollover, and you got the benefit of data rollover on the first cycle. This has happened to me multiple times. For example, one of my sims came with a 1GB bonus at the beginning. Thus when it started the second cycle, I got 200mb+500mb friends bonus+500mb rollover =1200mb, and 1200mb/1024=1.17GB. This also happened to my second $.01 sim above which got 900mb (200mb+500mb friends+200mb rollover=900mb). If you have cancelled the Premium service (which most of us have), at the start of the third cycle, no data will roll over, and you'll get the expected 700mb (assuming you have 10 friends).

FAQ#8:. What kind of phone do I need for this LTE sim?
A: You will need an unlocked GSM-capable smartphone running Android 4.0 or higher or an Apple iPhone running OS 7.0 or higher. The phone must be GSM-capable. GSM is what AT&T and T-Mobile use, or you can buy a generic unlocked GSM smartphone. If you have an AT&T or T-Mobile phone, it will need to have been unlocked, although I've seen some reports that this LTE sim works on AT&T phones that are still locked to AT&T. I don't have a locked AT&T phone to verify this. Verizon and Sprint use CDMA instead of GSM, and this sim will not work in their CDMA phones, though some newer Sprint and Verizon phones have GSM capability, and work. If you have a Sprint or Verizon phone, you will need to determine if it has GSM capability and if it is unlocked. This sim will not work in a flip phone, it has to be in a smartphone.

FAQ#9: Do I need an "LTE" phone? Does the LTE sim also have 3G?
A: You can use a 3G phone with the LTE sim. You don't have to have an LTE phone, but you will need an LTE-capable phone if you want to get LTE data speeds. This LTE sim also supports 3G and 4G data. I verified this by settting my phone to only use 3G data, and the sim still worked. So if you have a 3G phone, this sim will work, you just won't get the faster LTE data speed.

FAQ#10: How long can a sim be dormant or inactive? How often do I have to use it? Are there inactivity fees?
A: You don't have to use the LTE sim, but you do want to make sure you downgrade to the free plan and cancel the service trial after you order, or you will be charged for the plan and/or service after the 30 day free trial ends. There are no dormancy charges, but starting earlier this year (2017) FreedomPop started occasionally charging inactive accounts a $0.01 "maintenance fee" to confirm the account still has a valid payment form on file. This penny charge could be as often as once a month, but I have several FreedomPop accounts that I don't use, and I've only occasionally been charged the penny charge. 

FAQ#11: Can I only use this sim in one phone? What if I want to switch it to a different phone?
A: You can use this LTE sim in as many different (GSM) phones as you want, but of course, only in one phone at a time. The great thing about GSM sims is that they are not tied to a phone (unlike CDMA sims). With the LTE GSM sim, you can switch it between phones, or if your phone runs out of data, you can switch to a different LTE sim that still has some data on it. Just remember that the FreedomPop number is attached to the sim, so if you switch sims, you will also switch FreedomPop phone numbers (which is why I use a Google Voice phone number with Hangouts).

FAQ#12: Can I use the FreedomPop LTE sim for tethering and/or to make my phone a hotspot?
A: Maybe. If you pay, FreedomPop offers a $10.99 Premium monthly service that includes tethering, but I have not tried it. On the free plan, tethering is not supposed to work, but tethering does work on some of my phones. Note that if your smartphone is an AT&T branded phone, even if it is unlocked, the AT&T software may block tethering (because you aren't subscribing to a paid AT&T tethering plan). My experience with tethering the FreedomPop LTE sim on the free plan is as follows:
 * My Amazon Prime BLU R1 HD dual sim phone (works easily) - I am able to easily turn either LTE sim (#1 or #2) into a hotspot using the stock Android Marshmallow hotspot function (settings > wireless & networks > more > tethering & portable hotspot > wi-fi hotspot). I just enable the hotspot function and it works.
 * My unlocked AT&T ZTE ZMax2 GoPhone (works with 3rd party app) - the stock Android hotspot does not to work (settings > Mobile hotspot). When I try to turn it on, I get an error message saying "There is a temporary network problem that prevents the enablement of the Mobile hotspot function. Please retry later." However, I downloaded and installed an app called "Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot" and the app works for tethering and make the ZMax2 phone a hotspot.
 * My refurbished Moto G4 (works but only with a lot of effort using a slightly unorthodox "hack") - the stock Android Marshmallow hotspot does not work. When I try to turn it on, I get a message saying "Checking subscription status. Please Wait...", and then eventually an error saying "Network connection error. Your phone cannot currently connect to AT&T's server. Please try again later." I tried the Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot app, but it did not work either. I did discover an interesting way to make the stock hotspot function work, but it's not easy. If you remove the sim card (you have to take off the phone back), then turn on the hotspot and almost immediately slide the sim card back in, the phone will skip the subscription status check and the hotspot function will turn on and work. Removing the back cover and temporarily removing the sim card is obviously a bit of a pain, so I can only see using this method in an emergency if you really need tethering. It is a cool "hack" though, and is worth try once just to see if it works for you.
 * I also want to thank reader Rick for providing the following information about his own experience with tethering the FreedomPop LTE sim. He reported that tethering is working for him with the FreedomPop LTE sim on the free plan on four BLU R1 HD phones, a Nexus 5, a Nexus 6, and a Moto G4.  Rick also has an unlocked AT&T S5, unlocked AT&T S6, and unlocked AT&T S6 Edge+, and tethering did NOT work on those phones, but it did work on an international-version S5. Rick said that he didn't do anything special to get tethering working on his phones. He just set up and enabled the phone's hotspot function. But he also reported that tethering did NOT work on his AT&T-version phones, though he probably didn't try the 3rd party hotspot app I found or the hack of removing and sliding back in the sim card. If you have any tips or other information on tethering with the FreedomPop LTE sim, please leave a comment below!

 FAQ#13: My phone needs a nano size sim. Can I use the FreedomPop LTE sim?
A: Yes. The great thing about the FreedomPop LTE sim is that it is a 3-in-1 sim, and can be used as a regular size sim, a micro size sim, or a nano size sim. If you look closely at my picture above where I show how to remove the sim from the sim card, you'll see that it has three different sized perforated shapes for the nano size, the micro size, and the regular size. You just decide what size sim you need, and then pop the correct size sim out of the card.

 FAQ#14: FreedomPop LTE Sim Activation: How do I activate my sim? When is it activated? Do I need to activate my sim?
A: The FreedomPop sim is activated on the day it is shipped to you, so it will already be activated when you receive it. You do not need to activate it. It is already activated. You also don't have to use it right away, or use it to activate it. You can let it sit in a drawer for several months before you use it. Whenever you're ready to start using it, the sim is ready to use. All you have to do is put the sim in your phone and set the APN to "fp.com.attz" and your cellular data should work. If you want the free talk & text, you need to install the FP app. Remember that your 30 day free trials start on the day the sim ships, so you need to downgrade your plan and service within 30 days of the ship date, whether or not you ever open the sim kit and/or use it.

 FAQ#15: What if I get a wrong charge on my credit card? How do I contact billing?
A: Some people recommend contacting FreedomPop through their Twitter or Facebook accounts, but I think it's easier to just call them. Call 888-743-8107 and then press 4 for billing. I called to verify the number worked, and got a real person within less than a minute. If you are on the free plan and call from your FreedomPop phone number, you may get a message that you need to contact support through their website. The simple solution to this is to just call from a non-FreedomPop number and then it's easy to get through to billing. If you downgrade your plan and service (and check your account overview page to make sure you're downgraded), you shouldn't need to contact billing, but if for any reason you do, it's not that hard. A reader named Nick who got hit by the second version of the "service downgrade bug" (which has since been fixed) told me that when he called FreedomPop to get it fixed (he called 888-743-8107 and pressed 4 for billing), he got a representative right away and got the problem fixed in 3 or 4 minutes. From what I have read, every person who has ever contacted them about an incorrect charge has always received a refund. In fact, Brad wrote this in a comment on my original LTE sim review:

[Brad on Monday, March 13, 2017] "I forgot to mention how good FreedomPop's customer service is. When I ordered the global sim's a few months ago, I meant to downgrade them, but forgot ( I hadn't started using the cards at the time). When I saw the credit card charge, I called FreedomPop's customer service, explained the situation, and received a full refund on both sims! I don't know if they commonly do something like this, but needless to say I was very impressed."

 FAQ#16: What is the new "account maintenance" charge? Why did I get a $0.01 charge on my credit card?
A: In March 2017, FreedomPop updated their terms of service, and now they may charge inactive accounts $.01 to verify they still have a valid payment form on file.

[source freedompop.com/service_plan_terms.htm, last updated on 3/1/2017] "Notwithstanding anything else in these Terms to the contrary, if you choose the Free Monthly Broadband Plan or the Free Monthly Phone Plan and (a) do not make a payment for excess usage, Value Added Services, or Other Services in any particular month and (b) use less than 5mb or make fewer then five (5) calls in any given month, FreedomPop reserves the right to charge you a $0.01 maintenance fee ("Maintenance Fee") to keep your FreedomPop Account active."

I have multiple FreedomPop accounts (several LTE sim accounts, several Global sim accounts, and a Sprint-based Moto E2 account). Some of my accounts that I don't use have gotten a few of these $0.01 "penny" charges, but not every month. They seem to happen at random, and honestly, not very often. I think all of the penny charges so far add up to less that ten cents. Just know that if you aren't actively using an account, it may occasionally be charged $0.01. So why is FreedomPop doing this? I think because of credit card processing fees, it actually costs FreedomPop much more than a penny to charge the penny charge, so ironically FreedomPop probably loses money when they charge the penny. I think there are two reasons they are doing this. First, they really do want to make sure people have a valid form of payment of file for the account, so that if the person uses a lot of data all of a sudden and runs well over their limit before FreedomPop knows to cut them off, FreedomPop doesn't want to get stuck with an unpaid bill. Second, I think FreedomPop would actually like people to close their unused accounts since the unused accounts still cost FreedomPop money, and thus the random penny charges are meant to annoy people and get them to close their inactive accounts. In any event, while it is a little annoying, I've decided that I don't mind the penny charges very much, because even if I pay a few pennies a year or even a few pennies a month, this service is still an incredible deal (at least for me).


FreedomPop has updated their terms to include a new $.01 "Account Maintenance" fee. You may occasionally be charged $.01 on inactive FreedomPop accounts to verify they still have a valid form of payment on file.

 

FreedomPop Nationwide (AT&T) LTE GSM Sim Special Offers

Order the LTE Sim Kit for $0.99 (with free shipping)

 

11. Comments / Questions / Feedback:

Comment by Chris on Tuesday, October 24, 2017
This "FreedomPop for Dummies" guide is insanely good. Nice to hear I'm not the only person constantly trolling FP to see what they're doing.  It's very useful to see when you updated the page last - pretty much the first thing I look for. What's a bit tough to identify is the content that's been updated.
Like what would be nice is...
Example:
FreedomPop now requires that you pay for and add a $5 credit to your account before downgrading to the free plan.
Might Be:
FreedomPop now requires that you pay for and add a $5 credit to your account before downgrading to the free plan. [Oct 23, 2017] They have decided to discontinue this.
Just a thought (wish they would do as stated above) so I can see what changed. Or maybe a revision chart.
Anyways, thanks for this - in most cases it validates my findings and in some cases shows me new things.

Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Chris, Thanks for your comment and feedback. I do want to make it as easy as possible to see what has changed and what is latest and most current news. I do try to post dates on the parts and sections I update, but based on your comment, I think I can do a better job. I might add a separate section on the history of FreedomPop and what their current policies are, and then post "time-stamped" revisions. There is certainly a lot of misinformation out there since many people don't know what has changed, or sometimes something gets changed and some people hear about the change, but then the change gets changed back. It can be confusing. Anyway, great comment and much appreciated. I'll work on your suggestion!
PS. For the record, regarding the $5 credit requirement to downgrade to the free plan, FreedomPop started requiring it in July or August, but then discontinued it after about a week. Then they started requiring it again in September (and updated their offer terms to sort of disclose it), and it is currently a requirement (the credit also allows one to turn off Auto-Top-Up, which is a good thing to do). So there are people who are unaware of the $5 requirement to downgrade, or who heard about it the first time and think it was a temporary policy that was discontinued, and thus don't think or know that it is now required. As I said, FreedomPop can be confusing, but if you know what to do (which is the point of this guide), it is a (relatively) easy way to get free (limited) smartphone service. Thanks again for commenting!

Comment by Terry on Wednesday, November 08, 2017
Great guide! Could you add more information about the "Global Free 100" international call? It is also free for basic LTE plan.

Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Terry, You are correct. The free basic LTE plan includes 200 domestic minutes (and 500 texts and 200mb).  You can add the "Global Free 100" international plan (under "International") and get 100 international calling minutes (to Mexico, Canada, UK, India, and over 50 other countries). Just like the regular 200 (domestic) minutes, you have to use the FP app and the calls are voip. The Global 100 plan is free, or you can also get 300 international minutes for $4.99/month or 1000 international minutes for $9.99/month. Per your suggestion, I will add this to my review somewhere above when I have time. Thanks for commenting and mentioning this!

Comment by Jeff on Friday, November 17, 2017
I'm looking at the $49 annual LTE sim plan offer. What would need to be 'downgraded' on that plan or changed to not incur extra charges, $49 a year is a great price for 1000 min/1000text/1 gig data a month plan for a child. And I assume after 1 year the plan would change, or go up in price?
PS this site is a fantastic reference point, thanks

Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Jeff, I use the basic free plan, but if you are going to use the 1000 monthly minutes and texts, the $49 annual plan does look like a great deal, and I do know several people who have gotten it. Also, the data would actually be 1.5GB/month if you add ten friends. I don't see anything in the offer that needs to be downgraded or removed, but you should double check your account after you sign up and get the sim. The offer doesn't appear to include any trial services, just the basic annual plan for $49 per year, and the offer terms say it will renew annually at that price ($49).
One note about using it as a kids phone - the FP app for talk and texts shows ads, which I don't think is a big deal. But the app may also sometimes show a pop-up offer to sign up for a free service trial. There is a bigger "accept" button and a smaller "X" to cancel. You would want to show your kid this and tell them not to sign up for any "free" offers. I would also turn off the data "auto-top-up" feature so your kid doesn't "accidentally" go over on the free monthly data limit. This may require a $5 credit. If you have an android phone, you can also set a cellular data limit on the phone.
If you do get the annual plan sim, please let me know what you think of it. Thanks for commenting!

Comment by tom on Monday, November 20, 2017
I clicked on one of the links you provided for the LTE sim kit and on the billing screen it refers to the PREMIUM LTE 2GB UNLIMITED QUARTERLY PLAN @ $41.97(3 mon) and the Freedompop Phone Premier at $26.97 for 3 months. I want to stay with the 3 month quarterly plan at $41.97 but downgrade the Service Plan to the $2.49 voicemail option. Do you know if this is possible, reason asking, this $2.49 is based on the monthly plan so do you think FP would bill me $7.47 quarterly or would I be forced to pay the $26.97 as this may be the only allowed Service option. Thank You and what a great site !

Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Tom, As far as I know, sims have either monthly pricing, or quarterly pricing, or semi-annual pricing, or annual pricing. All of the plans and services on any sim account will be the same for the same billing time period (monthly, quarterly, etc), so if you sign up for a sim with quarterly pricing, you can keep the quarterly plan, remove the quarterly service, and add (quarterly) voice mail if you want, which should be $7.47 per 3 months. 

Comment by Jeff on Wednesday, November 22, 2017
I picked up a ZTE Maven 3, it seems to work fine, you'll need a micro sd card though, it comes with 7.2 gigs used of the 8 gigs it has, anyway, I got 2 Freedompop LTE sims, they don't say which number is on each card, so I popped one in and everything worked as you've said, but the first card I put in was the number I wanted to pass on to my grandson, so after some testing (freedompop sim gave 33.8mb/sec upload cricket gave 8.9 in a Samsung s7 I have) I swapped in the other sim, data worked but the phone kept saying that the number was the same as the first sim and calls couldn't come in. Sending out a text was still the first sims number also, I just did a reset and everything was swapped over, number and all. Is there something I could do to get it to change numbers without a reset, or was something to do with the phone being lock on att pre-paid? Thanks for the great info in this article and the freedom friends email list.

Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Jeff, Thanks for your comment! I just got a new ZTE Maven 3 on Best Buys' Black Friday Sale (I don't need any more phones, but for $7.99, how could I resist?). You are right that most of the 8GB is taken up by bloatware, so one should definitely plan on adding a MicroSD card. I'm also going to see how much of the bloatware can be deleted to free up more of the 8GB. As for swapping FreedomPop sims in a phone, from my experience, you need to reboot the phone or clear the FP Messaging app cache to get the new sim's FP phone number to work.

Comment by Artemis on Friday, November 24, 2017
A little FYI or recent update on dealing with LTE sim purchases:
I just purchased one of the LTE sims today (Friday Nov 24) for one cent and free shipping as part of a Black Friday sale offer I received at one of my emails. I followed your guide to setup my new account (first time for me, as my two Global sims were acquired through ebay and already setup) and was surprised to have to pay $10 and not $5 for the plan downgrade. The auto-top was disabled at this point for "free" (had $10 balance), and no other fees were requested of me. Could this be a recent change? I wish I had tried disabling the top-up first to see how much money they would have asked for, but I was following the instruction order in your guide, and that step came last. It sucks I missed the boat on $5 but then again, I will have lots of credit to eat through with my low monthly use (I still miss RingPlus with all my heart - RIP) P.S. The only real question I have: any idea when one could expect the Global sims to stop working completely, if ever?

Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Artemis, Thanks for your comment and report! I just got back from traveling for Thanksgiving, and found out that is appears FreedomPop increased the credit charge required when downgrading to the free plan from $5 to $10 on November 21. I'm in the process of updating my FP review(s) to reflect this latest change. I like your idea of disabling auto-top-up for $5 first, and then seeing if you don't have to pay any more to downgrade to the free plan. Hopefully another reader will try this and let me know. As for the FP Global sims, they only works on T-Mobile 3G in the US now, and T-Mobile is phasing out 3G support. I don't know how long they will continue to work in Europe. For US service though, the LTE sim is the way to go.
BTW, do you remember if there was a pop-up or other warning about the $10 charge and you got an option to accept it or not? Or was it just automatic when you downgraded? I'm wondering if FP checks for credit first and if you had a $5 credit then you would not have to pay the $10, or if the $10 is an automatic charge?

Reply by Artemis on Sunday, November 26, 2017
Hi Steve, Thank you for the reply and friend accept on FP. I am actually able to answer your questions today because I decided I really couldn't pass up the offer for cheap data and free shipping, and purchased two more sims. :)
Services are still downgraded for free. I disabled auto top up as a second step. That part still requires the $5 charge. With that credit on the account, the plan downgrade went smoothly and did not require further funding. Seems like a sneaky strategy on FP's part to get a bit more money out of newbies like myself. People should definitely disable topup first or second from now on, and the plan last, if they don't want to pay more than $5.
As far as the plan downgrade message, it was one of those web 2.0 pop over pop up type messages, in the long string of popups you get with all the offers they give you before they finally downgrade (can't remember if it comes before or after the password popup -probably after). The message sounded similar to what they say about auto top ups, that there is a delay in usage reporting and the credit is for their protection. You have the options to cancel downgrade or proceed with charge.
My significant other just bought several sims as well, and I can email you a screenshot of that particular plan charge popup because we haven't downgraded his yet.

Comment by Marty on Thursday, December 07, 2017
Thank you for your excellent guide, and updates. I have both data and combo sims, and tried both. I have a GV number, so initially I only ordered the data sim; I tried both sims, but decided to mainly use the data-only sim. I just downgraded both, cancelling the autoload first, and incurred no extra charges for the downgrade. So, $10 total. Still a great deal for service plus sims, and I don't mind helping to support them a little bit.
One thing I don't see in the guide is anything about the interaction between the two sims, mainly how the FreedomPop Friends works. It looks like my extra data is applied to the data-only sim, which was one factor pushing me to that sim for my main use. The friends show up for both, but the data shows up for only data. If I choose the combo sim, then send out friend requests, will that apply to the combo sim? Is there a way to differentiate between the two?
I don't really require a direct answer, as I can ask online if it becomes necessary, but if you have time and want to do it, it might be a good piece to add to the article.

Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Marty, Thanks for your comment. How long have you had the second sim? As I mention in one of my review FAQs, the primary sim gets the 500mb bonus right away, but secondary devices for some reason don't get the bonus data until their second cycle. If it's been longer than that, then there's a different problem.
By the way, so were you able to downgrade two sims for $5 each by disabling auto-top-up. If so, when did you do that (what date)? I'd just like to update my info if it is still working.

Reply by Marty
Hi Steve, I got both Sims together about 3 weeks ago, so I'm still in the first cycle. Sorry, I must have missed that part about the first Sim. Today (12/7/17), I first disabled the auto-top-off for both Sims, agreeing to $5 for each. Then I downgraded both, but did not get that message about a $10 deposit. Hope I answered your questions satisfactorily. If not, feel free to reply. Thanks, Marty

Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Marty, Thanks for your reply! I'll update my review(s) with your experience, and that as of today, at least for you, disabling auto-top-up for $5 first allowed you to then avoid paying the $10 credit to downgrade to the free plan.

Comment by Mike on Saturday, December 09, 2017
Thanks for the great guide. I have two Freedompop accounts. Both have/had WiMAX hotspots, global Sims and now the new US Only LTE Sims. I tried downgrading today and had the same experience you mention above of not being charged $5 to turn off auto-top-up. My experience for both accounts was: no fee to turn off auto top-up (did that first as suggested by you.) Was also able to turn off services for free. Then when I tried to downgrade plan, was forced to buy a $10 credit in order to do so. (No $5 method for me.) So now I'm on the "Basic 200 Quarterly" "free" plan. But even a one-time charge $10.99 for 700MB/month (per account) is still a great deal. Keep up the good work!

Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Mike, Thanks for your comment and report. You're my third reader to report that you do NOT get charged to turn off auto-top-up, so then when you downgrade to the free plan you have to pay for the $10 credit. But other readers report the "$5 auto-top-up disable first" method still works for them. Strange, but not un-typical for FreedomPop. However, as you say, even for $10 bucks (one time), 700mb of free AT&T LTE data every month is still a good deal.

Comment by Nick Misenti on Friday, December 15, 2017
Boy, WHAT A GUIDE!!!! I recently added my name to your Freedompop friends request list and the next day I had all the extra data that I could use. I just stumbled on to this guide today and it's terrific. You sure have spent a lot of time on it and it really is thorough. Huge KUDOS to you!!! Have a great holiday, Nick

Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Nick, Thanks for your comment and feedback. I appreciate it. It's also good to hear my FreedomPop Friends list is working. Thanks!

 

 

* * * * * * * * * *
 

Do you have a comment or question about the FreedomPop LTE sim, or a suggestion to improve this "FreedomPop for Dummies" guide?
Fill in your name and comment below and click [Submit Your Comment]. Comments will not be posted until after I have reviewed them.

Your name:
Your email:
Your comment / feedback:



Please include your email address if you are asking a question or providing information, as I may want to email you directly to answer questions and/or verify information. Email addresses will be kept private and will not be posted. I may only post comments that I think will be helpful to other readers. I won't post comments if I need to clarify or confirm information in them but am unable to email the person who commented, so please include your email address.