Does anyone use FreedomPop as their home wifi provider?

I’ve looked around here and I can find discussions about FreedomPop as a phone or hotspot provider. But I haven’t seen anything yet as a home internet provider. So I need some advice, please.

I want to fire AT&T. I have DSL but they want me to change to uVerse. Of course they’re offering a low rate, monetary incentives and to stop innundating me with phone calls, emails, snail mail and billing intrusions if I’ll just switch - for the first year. But I’ve had it with them. They over-charge and when you call to complain, profess ignorance and a small refund. And I think everyone knows (but if not …) that if you threaten to leave, they’ll offer you 6 or 12 months of lower rates. If you actually do leave, they’ll send you even better offers. But be that as it may, the back story is not the issue.

I realized that I was paying way too much for communications portals. That’s one reason that I joined RW. And I have never looked back - RW is just that good. I can’t say enough good things about Republic Wireless. Especially when you compare the service and the company (the employees and the consumers!) to some of the other companies out there.

So what I plan to do is this: move my home phone number to Google Voice. (that’s a whole lot more involved, but part of the story.) Keep RW cell - maybe including that number in GV later. Now all I need to do is find a good, inexpensive, reliable and ethical company to provide home internet for my computer, laptop and RW Moto X phone. I don’t use cable TV (I use NetFlix). I THINK this is all I need and it should all work together.

I’d like to hear about any experiences with FreedomPop if any of you use it for home internet. I was thinking of ordering the Hub Burst. I went through the initial page where you give them your zip and email - which I thought was fishy. Then they wanted a street address - I gave them something local. :slight_smile: Then they immediately sent me to a page that listed phones and other devices. I had no idea what I wanted and they didn’t make it easy to figure out either. But after many days (and many emails from them offering lots of goodies if I’d just sign up) I thought I had decided. I did read a lot of caveats in RV discussions about how shady the site seemed (I was having the same experience) and I even got to the ordering page before I backed out. I did run into the OK v. No thanks on some offers that are worded in such a way you think you need them. I did see on the ordering page more places where I could remove checks in boxes for things I didn’t want or need. And I did read lots of reviews, including Clark Howard.

To me it just seemed a little like a desperate company trying to make a buck and still offer something everyone in his right (penny-pinching) mind would want. Since they’ve raised their prices a couple of times recently, maybe things will get better.

So, bottom line. I’d still like to go with FreedomPop - IF it will work with RW phone and IF the company is on the up-and-up because the price is just that good - $22 for 10GB per month. I assume that includes taxes, fees, and surcharges but who knows? I know I currently use about 6GB of data every month - and that’s just for the computer and laptop.

BTW, another home phone provider I researched was OOMA. That sounded great too - free! They promise the only thing you pay for after the initial purchase of the device are the taxes and fees - in my case, less than $5/month. If anyone has read this far and has any opinion, I’d love to hear. Though I should probably start another question/discussion about OOMA and Google Voice when I’m ready to do that.

So thanks everyone for your help! I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

Ruth

I googled up a review on PC magazine. It says the hub burst is on WiMax (unless FP has a newer mode with LTE?), which I understand is scheduled to shut down before too long. So figure some limited number of months to amortize the initial outlay for the device.

Though you certainly can make VOIP calls (Ooma, RW-WiFI etc) over a 4G cell connection, I wonder how much sense it makes to do that vs just make a call directly on cell when you have a data limit to contend with.

You say you use Netflix… you won’t get many hours on 10 GB.

Interestingly, FP won’t let me see the hub burst page at all while logged into my account. Maybe because I don’t have Wimax coverage? Getting 10 GB on my hotspot would be $70/month.

In summary, I’d say your 2 big things to check are

  1. is 10 GB really enough for home service if you are streaming video?

  2. how long will Wimax service be available?

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I’ve never used FreedomPop and I’m skeptical of their service. For internet service I agree with kjv1611 that cable is typically better than DSL. Along with dave_kc I too use Google Voice with a Obihai product for home phone. Obihai Technology - Google Voice I have the Obi200. That’s my 2 cents.

Obi100 for me, but it works great.

My understanding is that U-Verse is generally faster than DSL as well, and I’m good with my Cable… that is until I can finally get my Google Fiber installed (since I live in KC where it’s coming).

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Must be nice to live in a area where Google Fiber is available!

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It will be… once they install it in my house! I’m waiting, and not all that patiently @carlash

IMHO do not get a WiMAX freedompop device, wimax is shutting down Nov. 6th this year, then your device is basically useless. I’d suggest the Mifi 500, the 803S, or the 5580 hot spots. Those do LTE.

If you look they often have deals on refurbished units (try newegg and amazon).

It should work fine for data access on your phone, placing calls over the hotspot wifi will be hit or miss, if you have a strong signal it should work ok but with a marginal signal you will probably have to do voice calls over cell.

Just pay close attention to the terms and usage, you’ll be fine.

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The key is stay away from Wimax!

And they want to unload the equipment on anyone that’ll take it off their hands…

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Thanks everyone for your replies! I appreciate you taking time to try to help me.

Dave, I had looked at OBi100 and I’d forgotten them. I need to look again. I looked at Karma, and thank you for the suggestion. It’s $99 for the unit. Nice about no contract and it’s pay-as-you-go. AND you can take it with you so you could use it at home or on the road. But my track record for the past year has been 6-7GB per month. At $14 per GB of data, it’s just too expensive.

Donp and you others - yikes! I had no idea what wiMAX is.

And I too was a bit irritated when FreedomPop wouldn’t let me look at the product page no matter how I tried to get around that. But I did get some info here:

http://support.freedompop.com/Device/Home/Hub-Burst/

and it says “The Freedom Hub Burst is a combination of a 4G modem and wireless router to give your home or office a fast 4G internet connection. The device connects up to 10 of your Wi-Fi-enabled devices to the internet with a secure connection.”

So I think it’s ok. Right? Though I am concerned about what you say about making WiFi calls over a 4G cell connection. Are you saying the FreedomPop hub is not wifi? That would certainly undermine my RW phone. Right now I only use the wifi $10 plan and hardly use any data at all.

Perhaps I should have asked my question a different way. I don’t fully understand all the technology. I just want an inexpensive home phone (frankly, I just want to keep the phone number! so, GV) and internet service for my RW phone and my computers. I looked at uVerse but they want about $30 for their slowest 3Mbps internet and $30 for home phone. OMG! That’s if you bundle them and you get that price for only one year. After you add in taxes, fees, and surcharges, it’s over $66 per month. Which seems excessive to me. Cable, as far as I can tell, does the same kind of thing but even their first year price is more expensive than that.

So, I thought $22 per month for internet. Home phone free (or with OOMA, less than $4/month after the initial price for the unit, about $100.) I think OBiHai is similar but you pay $50 for the device and then still have to pay a monthly fee to some approved ISP. But I did like that, at least in the picture, you could have multiple phone handsets in your house. Do you have to have ANOTHER provider so you can keep one phone number on more than one phone? I think with OOMA you can only have one phone.

I guess I need to know if that stuff will work together or am I missing something? I need internet and home phone. Inexpensively. 6-7GB data, no movies, no long distance. And it has to work with Republic VoIP. Do I need a tutorial, and if so, does anyone know where I can find one? Should I start a different discussion?

Again, I thank you very much. I put in a lot of extraneous data, but I thought why not share the info. :slight_smile:

Ruth

drruth wrote:

So I think it’s ok. Right? Though I am concerned about what you say about making WiFi calls over a 4G cell connection. Are you saying the FreedomPop hub is not wifi?

The Hub Burst is WiMax, it will work through Nov 6th this year. Up to you to define ok. I believe the 3 I listed earlier are the only LTE hotspots.

Calling over 4G, yea the hotspot is wifi, the problem is the connection from the wifi is going over a cellular network to the internet. While 4G is faster than 3G, phone calls don’t care about speed, they care about latency (the time it takes to deliver your data). The latency is typically higher on cell connections than wired, and you are much more likely to have latency that varies on a cell connection. Long story short it will work but not as well as a wired internet connection. People will be delayed when talking and perhaps even lose some speech. That said there are people who use the service this way, it’s just not ideal.

IMHO wireless internet service is not up to snuff for the only connection in a home, but I really like my Internet hehe.

I think you need to do some more research on U-verse. Unless they have weirdly segmented markets where offers are not available where you are, I found in 5 min that they have Internet only service starting at $19.95 a month for the first 12 months: http://www.att.com/shopcms/sharedcontent/en/legal/UpperFunnel/modals/U-verse_Offer_Details/_jcr_content/desktoplegal/legalsharedcontent.modal.html#internetonly

That is super slow service but would work fine. It’s $29.95 for the 3 Mbps but no bundling required.

Frankly, I don’t think you will find reliable internet service for less than that. I would only consider using only LTE internet service if I was on the road most of the time, for home use you want a wire.

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Honestly, I’m paying around $30 (plus modem rental) for 3 gb down cable internet, and honestly, I’m amazed at what I can pour through that little connection.

I also agree with @modemboy that I wouldn’t necessarily overlook U-Verse. My church had DSL through AT&T, and Time Warner wouldn’t work with us because we’re a business, despite being in a completely residential area they service.

We were able to get two connections through U-verse for barely more than DSL, and these were better connections.

Again, it’s up to you how you proceed, but as much as I can’t stand AT&T, sometimes they have the better offers.

I have the 500 MB 3/4G plan and so far am pretty happy with it. Still a month or 2 before I’ve “paid off” the hardware cost by being on the RW voice plan, plus I get LTE (where available) and data on other WiFi devices.

I sort of see them like the quicky oil change places. Great value in the basic service, and be wary of any extras they try to sell you.

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I use Clear Internet. It is a similar product, but with unlimited data rates (when I signed on for my for life rate). The speed is about 3mbps (mega bits, not mega bytes, which turns into about 2 megabytes) which is fast enough for 480p/720p streaming. I can play online games on my Xbox, make VOIP calls over hangouts or (obviously) on my RW phone.

We use about 25-30 gb a month on it, so Freedompop would be charging you quite a bit over the “intro” rate as well.

As has been mentioned above, Wimax is dying next year, Sprint (who bought Clear) is promising to upgrade to LTE (we’ll see) but I’ve not heard the same from FreedomPop.

So, I thought $22 per month for internet. Home phone free (or with OOMA, less than $4/month after the initial price for the unit, about $100.) I think OBiHai is similar but you pay $50 for the device and then still have to pay a monthly fee to some approved ISP. But I did like that, at least in the picture, you could have multiple phone handsets in your house. Do you have to have ANOTHER provider so you can keep one phone number on more than one phone? I think with OOMA you can only have one phone.

You can set up OBihai using your Google Voice number for FREE. There is no monthly charge. Calls to USA and Canada are free. There is charge for international calls.

OBi Tutorial , Obihai Technology - Google Voice

You can have multiple phone handsets connected to one OBihai device (Obi100, Obi200, etc.). I’ve been using Obi200 with Google Voice number for over 2 years.

drruth wrote:

So, I thought $22 per month for internet. Home phone free (or with OOMA, less than $4/month after the initial price for the unit, about $100.) I think OBiHai is similar but you pay $50 for the device and then still have to pay a monthly fee to some approved ISP. But I did like that, at least in the picture, you could have multiple phone handsets in your house. Do you have to have ANOTHER provider so you can keep one phone number on more than one phone? I think with OOMA you can only have one phone.

I would more likely go with ObiHai & GV (or ringto), but you can have multiple extensions with Ooma. You just hook a phone cable between the box and a phone jack on your house wiring (make sure that’s not still connected to a landline phone company), and plug phones into any other jack in your house. Most voip modems (vonage, skype, etc) work the same way.

WOW! I can’t thank you all enough for your responses! I haven’t had time to read with understanding yet, but I see I have lots to learn and I wanted to say thank you before the weekend. I’m in the Atlanta, GA area and I’m not able to get Clear - but I had hoped to originally, since I’d heard good things.

And I will look again at uVerse and cable. It’s just that AT&T put uVerse in and they’re SO pushing it! Several of my neighbors are saying they regret having gone to uVerse. I’ve always been prejudiced against cable, considering all the hate mail they get, the poor customer service and the rapidly rising prices.

Thanks VERY much for the information on OBiHai and OOMA. And something one of you said raises another question. One computer I have is 802.11b (I think. Hard to say since I’m self-taught. Something about the blind leading the blind? ) I may have to take that into consideration too.

And OMG! I had seen the coverage map for FreedomPop and it looked like it was 4G LTE in my area. But I guess I got confused on terminology where 4G can mean WiMax OR LTE? I’ve found several articles in PCMag and others about FreedomPop and Sprint so I guess I know what I’m going to be doing over the weekend. Thank goodness we’re getting rain. FreedomPop is still in the running - at least for the short term - if it works - and since the unit will only cost me $20 or so AND amortized over 11 months is less than $2/month! Maybe AT&T will send me one of those “we want you back” great deal letters.

ModemBoy, thank you for the link. Unfortunately, I am not a new residential customer and the offer expired last year. But I’ll probably try anyway since they always start off saying no and you can generally finagle a yes. Did you see it’s $99 for the device and $49 activation fee? I think we both found the same offer at $30/mo for the first year. I have DSL currently and get 1Mbps download, so 3 would be great. And you’re right. I’d much prefer to rely on a wired connection than wireless - don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket. Thanks for the info on latency. OMG, so much to learn!

So THANK YOU all for helping me out!!! I probably will end up going with cable or AT&T. Sigh. I’m going to carefully read all your responses and see if I finally understand over the weekend. Can I ‘like’ all your answers? You all ROCK!

Well, you folks were all right and I am eating crow. Here’s what I sent them in response to their 'How did we do?" email. Maybe someone else can learn from my mistake. AND, BTW, their hub does use wiMAX which ends its life cycle in November 2015. I thought it would be a good service until then and give me some time to research companies. I was wrong and I was miserable. I closed my account today - with 12 GB still available - it was that bad.

===========================

I had internet connection for about 3 days - Feb. 18 - 20 or so. Then everything stopped working. A long story but at first all I got was a white page and a 503 Bad Server error. After multiple tries, I got the 888-673-8518 number to appear. This was on Friday, the 20th. I called over the weekend but was on hold for 30 minutes. I called on Monday. Spoke to Caesar in LA. He “reset” my account. It worked for about an hour. Then I spoke to Jam?Van? in LA. He tried to reset my account three times and said it kept going back to suspended mode. He would escalate my problem and I would have resolution within 48 hours. FORTY-EIGHT HOURS! He PROMISED that would the the longest time AND that someone would CALL me as soon as the problem was fixed.

On Wednesday, at 4pm EST, I called - it being 48 hours!! later - 5 days without internet - and spoke to one of the sorriest tech support persons possible. Kevin in India. I could hardly understand him. Not due to his thick accent, but due to his attitude and practically whispering over the phone. He also put me on mute several times. He was evasive about answering my questions. I asked him when my service would be resumed. He didn’t know. I asked him who was working on it. He assured me that it was being handled “at the highest level - level 2 support”! Well whoopie. I asked him to whom I could express my displeasure. He said his supervisor was not available now, but when he was, he would call me back. I told him it wasn’t HIS fault and I didn’t need to speak to HIS supervisor. He started his goodbye spiel. I stopped him. “What’s happening? Are you done? Is my machine fixed? Are you transferring me to level 2 support?” He simply insisted again he wanted to call me back. He PROMISED it would occur “today”. Well it didn’t. Not that I actually expected him to. It is now Thursday evening, still no call of any kind from ANYONE.

  1. I had problems during ordering. That was rectified. Thank you.

  2. I sent an email about the hub - it had scratches and I wondered if I would be charged for it if I had to return it. Via email I was informed that it was a reconditioned machine and that I would be given free time to compensate me. I didn’t really care - except that was another thing you didn’t tell me - not even in fine print.

  3. I was without internet for 5 days. I only regained it when << I >> tried multiple times to reset the machine. Who knows what worked? Who knows when it was actually fixed? Certainly not ME.

  4. I was promised a call when the “our servers have a glitch” was fixed. That never occurred.

  5. I was promised a call from India - I have no idea what for since Kevin doesn’t seem to have a clue or was so preoccupied with something else that he certainly did not communicate it to me.

  6. My account shows 5 days left in the plan cycle. I have no idea why because my plan seems to have started on the day I ordered, the 17th of the month. It was correct on Feb. 18. Now it’s not - not that it matters.

  7. There is no way to access customer support - except maybe email - if you can find it. As you well know, clicking on the Contact link takes you to the knowledge base. And to write in the forum, you have to sign in again. [update. You CAN reach customer support by dialing the 888 number above. That number does not seem to be on your site anywhere. At least I have never seen it there.]

  8. I can not see much of anything on your site since once you have my machine credentials (hardware ID?) and my email address, you only show me certain pages. I can not look at any products. If I click on a product, I am redirected to my account home page. And without signing in, I can see nothing.

  9. When the machine was working originally, I ran several speed tests. I was receiving a 3.x Mbps download. I was happy about that and thought I could put up with a little bad service and what seemed to be underhandedness. But NOW it is less than 1.0 Mbps according to both ATT and SpeakEasy.

I am very frustrated with you and I just can’t take it anymore. This is more than 3 strikes - and you’re out.

I had two friends that were interested in your product. Granted, two is not much. But I can only tell them my experience. I doubt you will get their business.

I took the time to write this hoping it will help YOU. I do not need anything more from you; I am done. I am going to close my account and send back the hub and the stick (which I never activated and it never showed up on my account either). I expect a refund since I have had the wiMAX hub for less than 30 days.

And even better! I called to cancel - 888-906-3184 - the number posted on the knowledge base. It’s an automated line. As you know, you press numbers to explain why you’re cancelling. “What’s the reason for your cancellation? press 1 if the device is unused, press 2 if you have a defective device, press 3 if you’re outside the coverage area, press 4 if the device has not shipped.” It’s none of these. I refuse to select any.

You also know that there’s no way to speak to anyone, pressing 0 does nothing, and there’s no other path besides downgrade in the script. VERY POOR customer relations!

So I called the other number, 888-673-8518, and spoke to Emile. Amazing how quickly you can get through if you call sales. He connected me to customer care. After a brief hold, got “If you have an existing account and you wish to cancel or downgrade, please press 1.” And I thought, here we go again? But no. I actually spoke to a nice woman in India, Sheryl. She APOLOGIZED for the troubles. She issued an RMA and she represented FreedomPop better than anyone else so far. Too bad she came along at the end of our relationship.

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I forgot to mention, for anyone who cares, that the FreedomPop hub burst did work with the Moto X phone. But the voice quality was really poor unless you were standing right next to the hub. When I tested it, the hub was broadcasting on channel 10 if that matters.

As far as I’m concerned, this thread can be closed unless anyone has any questions.

Again, let me thank all of you who responded, who had ideas or suggestions. I really, really appreciate it all and I sure learned a lot. THANK you all!!!

I can tell you about my mother’s setup with FreedomPop, as I set up the whole thing for her. I had purchased a laptop for my mother, so she could use Windows Office products and take care of her personal business. She really doesn’t like being on the pc unless she has a specific reason to log on, however, being on a fixed income, she never could afford cable or home internet service. I had always paid for her cell phone as part of my family plan with Verizon with the grandfathered unlimited data plan for smartphone. With the older versions of Android, she could use wifi tether apps to give her pc internet connectivity. Between the data she used on her mobile & pc connectivity, she would use no more than 4 - 5gb’s of data. With her newest Android updates, the wifi tethering she relied on became disabled and she was desperately in need of a new phone. This happened at the time I need to reduce expenses dramatically and decided to get rid of my $300 month cell bill with Verizon and switched over to Republic. I got her the Moto G for cell service and set her up with the FreedomPop Hub Burst with their $18.99 plan for 10GB data for home use on her laptop. This was over a year ago. Yes, the service is not as robust as using Comcast cable internet, like I have at home, but this is because her house is in a bad spot in relation to the closest Sprint WiMax tower. At certain times of the day, she will only get 3-4 mpbs download speed and other times, it will increase to 6-8 mpbs, usually during offpeak times. And, when her trees in the back yard are in full foliage, the speed tends to be slower than in fall and winter with less leaves on the trees. She has only had 2 issues with service since she has had it. One was a billing system glitch which showed a monthly payment not being credited properly, but it was a internal glitch which they corrected with one phone call I made to them and without any troubleshooting needing to be done on my mom’s end. The second issue was one day that they were having a network outage, but that happens with every other carrier, including my Comcast service. Other than those 2 instances, it has worked very well. It is true that Sprint will be shutting down their WiMax network by Nov 2015, and while they said they would work something out with their current Hub Burst customers to get them a newer device which will utilize the Sprint LTE network, they haven’t publicly committed to anything yet. Even if my mom has to purchase a new device to continue her service, she will gladly pay for one because it’s still a great deal for what she needs, especially compared with what ATT offered her for DSL service with dial up speeds of less than 1mpbs download. AT&T offered her an introductory rate of 19.99 for 6 months and then would pay 39.99 monthly after the introductory rate period was over for an average download speed of 512 mpbs. FreedomPop live customer service isn’t great, like RW, they have their customers rely on a lot of self help, FAQs, blogs, and emails for help, but they were responsive the one time I need to call them. She uses her pc on that connection a bit more, she uses her old Verizon phone on that wifi connection for Pandora streaming in the mornings on her bedside table, she is connected to her RW Moto G at all times, and now my brother has moved back in and is using her FreedomPop wifi for his phone data too…so far, so good going into her 2nd year now with FreedomPop. Sorry your experience hasn’t been better.

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