On Wednesday, FreedomPop, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO ), and Sprint announced the formation of a strategic wholesale relationship that will allow FreedomPop to use Sprint’s 3G network and 4G LTE network, which is set to launch next week.
As an MVNO, FreedomPop will sell wireless equipment, such as its iPhone sleeve that allows instant broadband access to customers and provides them with 500MB of free data each month. FreedomPop will only charge for premium plans, and will allow customers to trade megabytes between one another.
“FreedomPop has an innovative, exciting business model,” says a Sprint (Overland Park, Kansas, USA) spokesperson. “They are doing something different.”
“It gives FreeedomPop national coverage on par with Verizon and AT&T , [which was] a major limitation of using just Clearwire which only works in top 40 markets,” says Tony Miller, vice president of marketing at FreedomPop. “As national player, disruptive potential goes way up.”
Sprint’s 4G LTE network, which has not yet been launched, plans to cover 250 million people by the end of 2013. FreedomPop will originally launch with Clearwire and then with Sprint, according to Miller. The MVNO plans to launch later this year.
FreedomPop also disclosed this week that it has closed a $7.5 million funding round led by ManGrove and DCM. The company is already allowing pre-orders of its $99 “Freedom Sleeve” for the iPhone, and has other products such as a USB stick for instant broadband access. The company is being backed by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom.