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FreedomPop Mobile Network Offers Free WhatsApp

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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FreedomPop says it doesn’t fear over the top players like WhatsApp and will embrace them instead

Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) FreedomPop is zero-rating the use of WhatsApp, allowing customers to send messages and make voice calls without incurring charges or using up any data allowance.

FreedomPop originated in the US and launched in the UK last year using Three’s network, giving customers 200MB of data, 200 texts and 200 calls for free each month.

This can be topped up through third party offers, such as surveys or coupons, and by purchasing additional services like voicemail, an international virtual number or the ability to roll-over allowances to the following month.

FreedomPop WhatsApp

FreedomPop 2More generous data allowances can also be bought and needless to say, FreedomPop will charge you if any allocation is exceeded.

However the real differentiator is that this data can be used in more than 30 countries – and WhatsApp is now exempt. The MVNO claims to be the first operator in the UK to offer such a deal and boasts that rather than fight the over the top (OTT) operators, it is embracing them.

Mobile instant messaging traffic outgrew SMS for the first time in 2013 and has caused mobile operators to search for alternative sources of revenue.

“There really is no reason anyone should have to pay for voice and text in today’s environment,” argued FreedomPop’s Chris Chen. “Over-the-top communication services like WhatsApp have eliminated the need for traditional voice and text services that carriers still force U.K. users to pay hundreds of quid a year for.

“WhatsApp usage in the U.K. is soaring and mobile companies see it as a massive threat to take away from their voice and text revenues. Now FreedomPop is making WhatsApp more accessible than ever to U.K. consumers.”

Samba Mobile offered a free ad-supported 3G mobile broadband service in 2012, allowing users to earn ‘credits’ by watching commercials. However users had to pay for the dongle and the SIM card and the service closed last year.

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