Startup mobile phone service FreedomPop has recently formed a partnership with the Malayasian mobile phone carrier Axiata, as well as an anonymous American tech investor. The two investors have raised a grand total of $10 million for the company. FreedomPop differentiates itself from other mobile carriers in that it offers a free data plan to all subscribers. The partnership with Axiata will allow FreedomPop to greatly expand its consumer base. Axiata has over 230 million subscribers throughout Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia.
The other American investor plans to announce its partnership with FreedomPop within the next month. At the present moment, all that is known is that the company is a major tech firm that plans to compete with Qualcomm and Google Fi at a chip level. FreedomPop is secretive about other matters regarding this hardware partnership.
The Asian service is estimated to launch in six to twelve months. FreedomPop will run under a separate brand under Axiata, using its own name or another “disruptive brand”.
FreedomPop’s business model earned it 1 million subscribers when it first launched in 2012. It provides subscribers with a data plan consisting of 200 voice minutes, 500 text messages, and 500mb of data per month. The company makes money by giving subscribers the option to buy more data if they exceed their limit, and also by selling customers services such as long distance calls, international numbers, phone insurance, and various security features. Half of the subscribers typically do not exceed their data limit, whilst the other half compensate by purchasing more data services.
Founder Stephen Stokols has said that FreedomPop was engineered to be a global service. The service’s full potential is limited by remaining solely in the USA. The service has the advantages of providing impoverished populations access to phone service and additionally helping those who rarely use their phones save money. After it debuts in Asia, FreedomPop plans to launch in Europe.