FreedomPop takes on top-tier US operators - Mobile World Live

FreedomPop takes on top-tier US operators

23 MAY 2018
Smartphone

FreedomPop unveiled plans to launch a new low-cost MVNO brand to compete with tier-1 US operators, a move it claimed was made possible by T-Mobile US and Sprint’s proposed merger.

Named Unreal Mobile, the MVNO will offer tariffs starting at $15 per month with unlimited data, albeit with speeds throttled after 2GB usage in each billing cycle on the cheapest plan. Details of additional tariffs will be released in the coming weeks, but Unreal Mobile CEO Samantha Lewe told Mobile World Live (MWL) all plans will be 20 per cent to 50 per cent cheaper than comparable offers in the market.

Unlike FreedomPop, which competes primarily with prepaid players including Boost and Cricket, Unreal Mobile will target tier-1 operators’ post paid customers.

The merger effect
Lewe claimed the creation of Unreal Mobile would have previously been impossible. But with regulators carefully examining how the proposed tie up between Sprint and T-Mobile could impact wireless competition, she said the operators were compelled to accept MVNO models and pricing they would not have in the past.

“Blocking it now, or trying to adjust pricing so that Unreal can’t offer its proposed pricing would raise big red flags with regulators. In short, Unreal is taking advantage of the fact that Sprint and T-Mobile are in a tight spot and have to be over accommodating,” Lewe explained.

A Sprint representative, however, told MWL the operator’s core strategy “remains unchanged” and “it is business as usual” despite the looming merger.

In addition to talk, text and data, Unreal Mobile’s plans will also include VPN capabilities, built-in encryption, advert blocking and the ability to use one phone number across multiple devices.

The service isn’t up and running just yet. However, beta registrations are currently open, and Unreal Mobile said it aims to be up and running within 90 days of Sprint and T-Mobile’s merger announcement, which was made on 29 April.

Author

Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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