updated 12:59 pm EDT, Tue July 31, 2012
FreedomPop partners with Sprint, Clear
FreedomPop has announced a new 4G-enabled case that effectively turns an iPod Touch into an iPhone. The new Freedom Sleeve for iPod Touch comes with free broadband access, which users can upgrade for a fee. The company is now taking pre-orders for the WiMax device.
The Freedom Sleeve encases the iPod Touch and connects to both Clearwire's WiMAX and Sprint's CDMA and LTE data services. The device sells for $99. For that price, subscribers get the device and 500MB of free mobile broadband. Customers looking to access more than 500MB can increase that total to 1GB by trading unused data with friends, referring customers, or buying value-added services from FreedomPop.
FreedomPop is a data-only MVNO, and the Freedom Sleeve will technically be a data-only device. FreedomPop representatives have confirmed to GigaOM, though, that the device will be capable of VoIP, essentially making an iPod into an iPhone for a fraction of the price paid over the life of a typical contract.
The company has yet to specify a launch date, but it apparently is planning to open up a service for beta users this summer. FreedomPop is also taking pre-orders for a similar device targeted at owners of the iPhone 4 and 4S, and the company is said to be working on devices for a range of other gadgets.