Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s investment company LetterOne (L1) confirmed it invested $50 million in disruptive MVNO FreedomPop.
In a statement, L1 said it had received clearance to make the funding, with the support set to fuel FreedomPop’s international expansion.
FreedomPop, which followed launches in the US and the UK with Spain earlier this year, first announced it had secured the deal in January, but did not reveal its backer.
L1, which owns stakes in operators Turkcell and VimpelCom, said it also signed a strategic partnership with FreedomPop “to extend its deep operating knowledge of emerging markets and telecoms, which will be crucial in helping FreedomPop achieve its global targets”.
“This partnership illustrates the value and impact that L1 technology can have, particularly versus traditional private equity and later stage venture capital investors,” said Stephen Stokols, FreedomPop’s CEO. “L1 is not only capable of bringing significant capital, but also delivering valuable and accretive strategic partnerships for digital pioneer companies around the world.”
In an interview with Mobile World Live in May this year, Stokols said its new investor had a “portfolio that is telco specific, with massive stakes in two operators”, without revealing further details.
He also said FreedomPop, which offers limited mobile services to subscribers for free, was now turning its attention to converting those subscribers to paid customers through various add on services, as well as targeting expansion across Europe, Asia and Latin America.
L1 added in its statement FreedomPop planned to launch in an additional eight markets by the end of the year.