EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Nicholas Constantinopoulos, president of FreedomPop International, claims to have found “the secret sauce” for monetising data, as more operators become open to partnering with the budget MVNO.

US-based FreedomPop, which last year took its first steps outside its home market by launching in the UK, offers free mobile services to customers, and only makes money once subscribers purchase add-ons to their package.

Speaking to Mobile World Live, Constantinopoulos conceded that a number of operators looked at FreedomPop “with a bit of suspicion” when it came to market two years ago, but this attitude has changed rapidly.

“We have proved we can turn our operations profitable and this made the operators feel a lot more comfortable,” he said.

“The trick is taking our free offering and converting it into a paid one by looking at data usage of all our users, and identifying clusters which we can then target to match demands.”

In the US, the company expects to turn a profit later this year, with almost 50 per cent of its customers now forking out for paid services, while the UK had already seen a 40 per cent conversion rate, a set of numbers which has seemingly impressed a number of operators.

“There are MNOs, who claim or try to approach the end user with digital services and conversion, but monetisation as a whole stands at only a little more than 10 per cent,” said Constantinopoulos.

“That’s why operators are now asking us to assist them in reaching our standards, and this can range from simple advice, to providing a full solution by connecting our network and using our expertise to start running the show on their behalf.”

In the interview, Constantinopoulos also discussed FreedomPop’s plans for wider international expansion. Click here to watch.