Ina Fried

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FreedomPop Raises a Few More Million to Further Disrupt Mobile Broadband

FreedomPop, the Niklas Zennstrom-backed mobile broadband company, is adding another $4.3 million to its coffers.


The funding will come from its existing investors, but at a higher valuation than its Series A round, CEO Stephen Stokols said in an interview. Since last year, FreedomPop has been selling various add-on sleeves, hotspots and data cards that customers can use to access free and low-cost mobile data plans.

More cash will help the company continue to come up with new plans and social features for its service. Already, the company plans to boost the amount of free data each customer gets for referring a friend to the service, and to add the ability for friends with more data on their plan to share with those running low.

“It takes family plans to a new level,” Stokols said.

In its initial products, FreedomPop has been using Clearwire’s WiMax network; later this year, the company will look to offer devices on Sprint’s LTE network, once it covers more places.

The company has run into challenges with one of its devices — the add-on sleeve that adds WiMax capabilities to an iPhone 4. That device is still awaiting FCC approval, months after it was originally scheduled to ship.

Stokols said that FreedomPop hopes to be able to ship the device in a few weeks’ time, but said the company is offering refunds to those who ordered the $99 device. FreedomPop hopes to also soon start shipping a home broadband product, announced in December, that offers low-cost Internet using a fixed WiMax modem.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work