Budget operator FreedomPop plans to launch a ‘Wi-Fi first’ smartphone in partnership with Intel next year, designed specifically to be compatible with the US MVNO’s business model.
FreedomPop, which offers customers a data only network and makes money through add-ons, is developing a smartphone, optimised specifically for Wi-Fi, and will run on an Intel processor.
The PC giant will also reportedly provide funding for the development through its investment arm Intel Capital.
The phone will be designed to leverage Wi-Fi hotspots wherever possible instead of mobile data, and will be able to seamlessly switch between both Wi-Fi and cellular networks.
According to various reports, when the phone does connect to mobile cellular, it will be at no additional cost to the user.
FreedomPop’s model is built around such a premise, affording users the ability to make calls and send messages via Wi-Fi or mobile data, over traditional means.
It partners with Sprint in the US and recently also launched in the UK through a partnership with Three, offering unlimited access to its hotspots for $5 a month.
FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols told Re/Code the partnership with Intel was more appealing than working on its own to develop the phone as a startup, as he declined to reveal which device manufacturer they were working with.
Stokols said FreedomPop will also have exclusivity for bringing their service to the phone in certain markets, but it will also be sold in other countries where it does not operate.
He told the publication FreedomPop plans to announce additional international market launches in the new year.