Complete Guide to the FreedomPop Global & LTE SIM 39

FreedomPop is offering GSM-based service that provides data in both the US and Europe – for free.

(Update: The FreedomPop Global SIM has been discontinued. Some of the info below may still pertain to the LTE SIM, but as it’s become not worthwhile to buy and activate, I’ll no longer be updating this post with current info.)

A relative newcomer to the US prepaid phone market, and formerly known as a reseller of Sprint’s devices and services, FreedomPop has ventured into the GSM world by offering their 3-in-1 Global SIM, allowing you to get service with any unlocked GSM device just by inserting their SIM card. While they offer paid monthly plans like every other service provider, a couple things make their offerings different from the competition. The first is that they offer a tier of service that is totally free.

UPDATE: FreedomPop now offers a SIM that works on AT&T’s LTE network. This is a slightly different product. The main differences are that the LTE SIM has higher speeds and lower latency due to using LTE and a US-based APN, but it won’t work outside the US, like the Global SIM. In terms of billing and services, the rest of what you see here for the Global SIM also applies to the LTE SIM. The Global SIM has been discontinued. Some existing users have been forced to switch to the LTE SIM, while others have been able to continue using the Global SIM – so some of the information here is still relevant. 

The standard free monthly plan includes:

  • 200 minutes of of talk time through their dedicated VOIP app (an important point to be covered later)
  • 500 texts through the same dedicated app
  • 200 MB of 3G data (HSPA+, U.S. users reporting 3.5 – 5.0 Mbps download, 1.0 – 2.5 Mbps upload)
    • An additional 500 MB of data by connecting with other FreedomPop users (for a total of 700 MB per month)
  • 100 free minutes of international calls to select countries

The second feature that sets them apart is that the service, including minutes, texts and data, can be used in most of Europe at no extra charge, which makes it especially appealing to anyone who might be traveling to Europe. Here’s a list of the supported countries, and relevant notes I’ve gathered on each country based on user reports.

  • Austria (on the Three Austria network)
  • Belgium (on the BASE network as of 2018, formerly KPN)
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France (on the Bouygues network, reports of inconsistent service in 2018)
  • Germany (on the O2 / E-Plus network)
  • Greece (on the WIND network)
  • Hungary (reports of no service, despite it being on the list)
  • Ireland
  • Italy (on the Three Italy network)
  • Luxembourg (on the Post Telecom network)
  • Netherlands (on the KPN network)
  • Norway
  • Poland (on the Play network)
  • Portugal (on the NOS network)
  • Romania (reports of no service, despite it being on the list)
  • Slovakia (on the Telecom SK network)
  • Spain (on the Orange network as of 2018 – formerly Movistar)
  • Sweden (on the Three Sweden network)
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom (on the Three UK network)

There are other countries beyond the US and Europe which are listed as “coming soon”. For the most up-to-date list you should check here, and if you do notice some countries not mentioned above, leave a comment below so I can update this list. Note that at the time of writing, there is no planned support for Canada.

Totally Free? What’s the catch?

There are a few — and that’s the reason for this guide. It’s important to note that if you want to use this service, and keep it totally free, you will have to jump through some initial hoops and be aware of the rules to avoid any surprise charges.

If you are someone who doesn’t have the patience to read instructions, know the rules of the game and take appropriate steps, I’d suggest that this isn’t for you. If you can read instructions, here’s what you need to know.

The included minutes and texts are through VOIP

This is an absolutely key point, and may be a deal breaker for some: the included minutes and texts are provided through a dedicated FreedomPop app, available only for Android and Apple iOS, which is essentially a VOIP (Voice Over IP) app. Think of it a virtual phone which runs as an app on your device, similar to an app like Skype: it allows you to make calls (including to actual phone numbers) and send text messages to people in your contact list, but it requires an internet connection to work.  It can also receive any calls and texts made to your FreedomPop phone number. The crucial difference here is that most people are used to a phone that receives calls and texts over a cellular connection, which works even when the phone isn’t connected to the internet. For FreedomPop’s phone service to work, you need to either be connected on Wi-Fi or have your phone’s mobile data turned on all the time. For most smartphone users this probably isn’t anything new, as they probably leave mobile data turned on all the time (otherwise they wouldn’t get instant updates about new email, Facebook messages, etc.). If, however, you’re someone who is frugal with data and turns it on only as needed, this can be a big shift, and you can expect that your battery will run down faster than it used to.

To summarize this in another way, the FreedomPop Global SIM is basically a “data only” SIM, with an option to run a virtual phone app that will allow you to make and receive calls and send texts as long as you’re connected to the internet.

Does using the app to make calls on mobile data deduct from my data pool? 

No. While your phone will show that making a call has used a few megabytes of data, FreedomPop will not deduct this from your monthly data pool as long as the call is made with FreedomPop app.

Will my phone behave the same way for calls and texts?

No. Everything goes through the app. A good example of this is, if you’re using Android, when a call comes in you don’t see the “swipe to answer” screen. Instead, you have to unlock your phone, then you’ll see the FreedomPop app, with the option to answer the call. This may be a deal breaker for you.

Does the app work well for calling?

While the sound quality is fine, the biggest issue is that people have reported missing incoming calls when out and about, connected via mobile data (when connected on Wi-Fi it doesn’t seem to be a problem). Given this, it’s hard to recommend using this service as a “daily driver” assuming you like your phone to ring when people call you. If you mostly communicate by text, and you’re fine with missing calls and calling the person back, this may not matter to you.

Is the app available for Windows Phone or any other platform?

No. It’s only available for Android 4.0+ and Apple iOS at this point. There are, however, ways around this. The data works fine in a Windows phone, and given the issues mentioned above, that may be all you care about. You can then use a different VOIP service that gives you a phone number (or use Skype and pay for a phone number). Obviously in this case, because you’re not using the FreedomPop app, the data used will come out of your data pool.

I’m still interested. What do I do?

When you order a FreedomPop Global SIM card (also available through Amazon if it’s out of stock at FreedomPop), it will typically come with a free trial of one of their paid monthly plans. If you want to avoid any monthly fees and only use this as a free service, it’s recommended that you follow these instructions exactly, and even then, read before you click, as they could very well change things. If you decide to deviate from this advice, don’t be surprised if you end up with an unexpected charge.

  1. Pay for the SIM card with a virtual credit card or with a prepaid debit card. If you happen to have a Citi or Bank of America, they offer a benefit which allows you to create a temporary “virtual” credit card. Alternatively, consider a service such as EntroPay, which allows you to load money onto a virtual credit card for a small fee. You can try using a prepaid debit card if you have one, but note that some people have had issues trying to pay with these. Assuming you go the virtual credit card route, create one with a low set limit (i.e. $12 if the SIM is $9.99) which will ensure that any additional unexpected charge attempts simply won’t go through. Alternatively, you may have an option to simply cancel the virtual number after the initial charge, though this may not be necessary, as those numbers should be one-time-use only (but it doesn’t hurt to be extra cautious).
  2. After the SIM card has shipped, downgrade immediately if you want the free service. FreedomPop doesn’t make this process very straightforward, so you may have to hunt for very small text links to make this happen. Typically there are a few things you have to change to ensure you’ll be free from recurring monthly charges.
    1. Downgrade your phone plan. Log in to your account using the password you should have received in an email from FreedomPop. Go to My Account, Plans. You should see your free trial plan. Click “Details and Plan Management”. Look for a small link (usually below and to the right) to downgrade, and continue through the confirmation screens. You’ll probably be warned about what you’ll be missing, maybe offered something else to reconsider. Continue with the downgrade.
    2. Remove the Premium Plus service. Go to My Account, Services. You’ll see that you’re probably signed up for the FreedomPop Premium Plus service. Remove this. Again, you may be warned that you’re losing something special, then probably offered an alternative free trial. Continue until the service is removed.
    3. By default, a service called Automatic Top-Up is enabled. This final step is a matter of personal preference, but it’s a tricky issue and you need to be aware of how FreedomPop works with it, and without it. The common approach is to disable it, but you may want to actually leave it enabled. Here’s how each option plays out:
      • Leave it enabled: When left enabled, the Automatic Top-Up function will kick in when you’re 100 MB away from reaching your monthly data limit, and you’ll be charged $15, which will be added as credit on your account. So, if your monthly data pool is 700 MB, once you hit 600 MB the Automatic Top-Up will trigger and you’ll be charged the $15 for credit. Then, if you go over your data limit (i.e. 701 MB), data will be charged at a rate of $.03/MB (rate at the time of writing) subtracted from that $15 credit. If you are using only minimal data, or you’re good about keeping track of data usage, you can leave this enabled and just make sure you never hit that 100 MB shy-of-the-limit mark (better make it 120 or 150 MB to be safe). Note that if you do hit that mark and the $15 charge doesn’t go through (perhaps because your credit card on file is a virtual credit card with a $5 limit) your account will be suspended until you provide a new, valid form of payment (a new card), after which you will be charged the $15 auto top-up fee. If you do get charged that $15, that credit expires after 30 days (some say 90 days). However, you can reactivate the expired credit by going Billing, Overview, click the Credit Balance tab, and Click here to Reactivate. Keeping that credit active will allow you to use your full data allotment and then some, charged at $.03/MB (rate at time of writing) until you have less than $2 credit, after which auto top-up will kick in again. If you want to be sure you’re never charged that $15 auto top-up, it’s best to set a hard data limit on your device to make sure you never come close to your limit.
      • Disable it: Given the above, you might think that disabling it has to be the better option. Well, keep reading. If you want to disable Automatic Top-Up, go to Billing, then Billing Settings. Under Automatic Top-Up, click Edit. You’ll have to pay $5 immediately, and this $5 will show up as a credit on your account balance. With this credit in place, you can use the full amount of your free monthly data (i.e. 700 MB), and if you go over, data will be charged at a rate of $.03/MB (rate at the time of writing) subtracted from that $5 credit. If you use up all $5 in credit, your service will be suspended until you add more credit, or until your next month of service begins. If you don’t add more credit and your credit balance remains $0, then the following month and from then on, if you come within 100MB of your data limit (i.e. you use 600 MB of your 700 MB limit), your service will be suspended until the following month, because you don’t have any credit to cover those overage charges. Note that, just as in the above scenario, that credit expires after 30 days (some say 90 days). And same as above, you can reactivate the expired credit by going Billing, Overview, click the Credit Balance tab, and Click here to Reactivate. (To me this seems like it would be a pain to do, however often.)
    4. Make sure you’re not signed up for any other paid services. There has been a report of a new account having a paid international calling plan already activated. This may have just been a fluke, or user error, but it doesn’t hurt to check your account settings and make sure you’re not signed up for something you don’t want.

What else do I need to know?

Sometimes they offer this SIM without the free minutes and texts. If you only care about the data, this doesn’t matter, but if you want the included free minutes and texts, make sure the SIM you’re buying mentions them.

Your plan becomes active as soon as your SIM card ships. Yes, even though you can’t use it until the SIM arrives. Use this time to downgrade or make other changes to your plan.

If you make use of a “free trial” cancel it 1 or 2 days before the trial ends. I would actually suggest not using the free trial at all to play it safe, but if you insist on using it, apparently the best time to cancel it is within 2 days of the end of your billing cycle. You may experience a suspension of service until your new month begins (a reason to simply skip the trial in the first place and stick with the free plan).

You need to set the network APN to get internet access working. Follow the instructions that come with the SIM card. If you know how to set an APN manually, it is

Enable roaming in your device settings. This may not be necessary, but it may prevent problems, especially if you use the service overseas. There are no roaming charges, so don’t worry about that.

The service goes through a server based in the United Kingdom. This can have some strange effects. One problem is that it means the data connection has a relatively high latency when using it in the US, as everything has to be piped across the Atlantic. Another problem is that it can make your phone think it’s actually in the UK, resulting in the UK version of Google coming up, and so forth. If you use Google Hangouts, this can cause problems making calls to US numbers. You can avoid this by making sure all numbers in your contact list are prefixed by the plus sign (+) and the relevant country code (which for the US is actually the number ‘1’). For example, a friend with a New York number should be +1-212-555-5555. (If you can’t figure out how to make the plus sign, try long-pressing the zero button.) While it may be a pain to change a bunch of numbers, you can find apps which you can use to bulk edit your phone contacts to make this easier. Ultimately, as international travelers know, it’s better to store your phone numbers with + and the country code, as it saves you from having to manually edit a phone number when you move from one country to another.

Get 500 MB extra per month, free. By adding “Freedom Friends” — other FreedomPop users — you get 50 MB per person you connect with. So if you connect with 10 friends, you get the maximum of 500 MB free extra data. Note that if you don’t know 10 other people using FreedomPop, you can find other Freedom Friends online at certain forums, such as in this thread on Slickdeals. Note that you probably don’t want to use the “Invite your email contacts” function in your FreedomPop friends page, as this requires giving FreedomPop your email password (to scan all your email contacts) and sends all of them an email (basically spamming them). If you look below that, there should be an option for “Invite by email address” where you can enter in one or more individual email addresses of the people you know who are using FreedomPop. Once they accept your request, you’ll both get 50 MB extra data per month (up to a limit of 500 MB extra).

Share data with Freedom Friends. Another perk of Freedom Friends is that you can share data with one another. You can give a friend 20, 50 or 100 MB of your data for that month if you don’t think you’ll need it.

Earn additional free data by completing offers. These will give you a data boost for your current month only.

Free international calls to certain countries. At the time of writing, there’s a free international calling plan called Global Free 100. This feature alone may be of great appeal if you have friends or family overseas. Go to My Account, International and you should be able to add it there if it’s an option for you. The plan gives you 100 minutes of calling to a variety of countries. For some of these countries, the free calling applies only to landlines, whereas others it’s to both landlines and mobile phones – which is kind of a big deal, as calls to mobiles overseas are typically not cheap. When you sign up, make a note of the list, as it’s seemingly impossible to find again after sign-up (a couple screenshots here). Note that your international minutes are completely separate from your domestic minutes: i.e. a call made to Germany will only deduct minutes from your international minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What size is the SIM card? As the name implies, it is a 3-in-1 SIM card. It’s a standard “old” style SIM card but you can break away the outer plastic to make it a micro-SIM (smaller) or nano-SIM (smallest). Keep the outer plastic, as you can it as an adapter to put the SIM into a device that uses a larger SIM card.

Will the SIM work with my device? You need an unlocked phone or tablet which is compatible with AT&T or T-Mobile. A phone from one of these carriers that is still locked will not work. Some newer smartphones from Verizon and Sprint have SIM card slots and GSM radios for roaming overseas (you’ll have to look up your phone’s specs). If unlocked, these devices should work with the FreedomPop SIM card. This applies to the Verizon Moto E and the newer iPhones. If your phone doesn’t have a SIM card slot, there’s no way you can use this SIM.

To make calls and texts with the FreedomPop Messaging app, you need an Android or iOS device. Other devices can use the SIM as if it were a data SIM, including Windows Phone devices and Wi-Fi hotspots. Additionally, it is possible to make and receive calls on other devices by configuring a 3rd party VOIP client with FreedomPop’s SIP settings. For more information on that, see this thread.

How do I log in to my account? After you order you should receive an email containing your account info and your password. Some people never get the email, in which case you’ll have to contact FreedomPop support.

I can’t sign into the app, but I know my email and password are correct. If your email address on your account contains a special character, like a plus (+) sign, this may be the problem. Change your account email to one with no special characters and try again.

I’m being asked to enter a code after I insert the SIM. What’s the code? This probably means that your device is not unlocked, and you’re being asked for a subsidy unlock code. Generally you can only get this from your provider (i.e. AT&T) or through a phone unlocking service.

I put the SIM in and can access the internet, but I can’t make calls. Calls and texts must be made through the FreedomPop app, as mentioned above. This isn’t a regular SIM; it’s a data SIM with a VOIP service over the top.

How is data rounded? Data is rounded to the nearest 100 KB (0.1 MB). So if you turn on data and only use 10 KB, they’ll deduct 100 KB from your data pool. Unfortunately, if you log in to your account to view your data usage, they only show data usage rounded to the nearest MB, so it’s hard to see exactly how much data you’ve used.

Are MMS included? Not in the totally free plans. You can add the MMS and Group Messaging service for $1.99/month.

Is there any inactivity or non-usage fee if I don’t use the SIM for a few months? There have been reports of people being charge a $.01 fee each month they don’t use their SIM at all.

Can I have more than one SIM? Yes, but it’s best to have one SIM per account/email address. If when buying a SIM card you’re offered an extra SIM for $.01 as a promotion, note that you may be charged $5 to activate the 2nd SIM.

I’m trying to buy a SIM but I keep getting the FreedomPop UK website. You must have clicked a link to their UK site at some point. Once you do, it constantly redirects back there. Clear all cookies with the name FreedomPop in them or use another browser.

How do I get the internet to work over mobile data? Try reading the instructions that came with the SIM about setting the APN. If you’ve done that and you’re still having problems, try installing the FreedomPop Messaging app. Some people have reported that this fixes your APN settings for you.

I’m trying to use the service in a supported country, but getting no signal. Try doing a manual network search and selecting the various options.

Will this work at all in countries not on the list of supported countries? No, though you will still be able to make calls and send texts over Wi-Fi.

Since the service is based in the UK, can people in the UK call me as if it’s a local call? No. Your FreedomPop number is a US phone number. For what it’s worth, there is also a FreedomPop UK SIM, which you could try to get through a friend or relative there if this is important to you. I’d suggest there are probably better, easier ways to keep in touch though.

Does this use LTE? No. The Global SIM works on 3G (HSPA+) and 2G (EDGE) only. Note that if you need LTE service in the U.S., FreedomPop now offers a Free 4G LTE 3-in-1 SIM that works on AT&T’s LTE network. The Global SIM works with T-Mobile’s network in the US, and in many areas T-Mobile has shut off their 3G service, which means your device will fall back to T-Mobile’s 2G service. Data on 2G will be very slow, and you shouldn’t expect the calling service to work.

Can I easily swap this SIM into another device? Yes. Your service is tied to the SIM card.

Will this work in a tablet or hotspot? Yes, if it has a GSM radio (compatible with AT&T or T-Mobile’s network in the US).

Will this work in an old ‘flip’ phone? No, not for making calls or texts. Technically it would still work for data, and most old phones do have basic internet functions, if that suits you (it probably doesn’t).

How much data does Skype / Google Hangouts / Whatsapp / Facebook Messenger use for voice calls? Here’s a comparison.

I read something about an Unlimited WhatsApp plan? On the Global SIM, FreedomPop started offering a free plan that gave you unlimited WhatsApp use in addition to your data allowance. Existing users can switch, though their minutes and texts will be reduced to 100 each if on the free plan. More information here.

If I call FreedomPop customer service with the app, will it deduct from my minutes? Apparently, yes, those minutes will be deducted from your plan minutes. This is true whether you’re connected over mobile data or Wi-Fi. So, if you have to call customer service, do it from a landline or another service.

If you have a question that isn’t answered here, leave a reply below!

39 thoughts on “Complete Guide to the FreedomPop Global & LTE SIM

  • Fuyun Ling

    Hi. Your article is very helpful. In one place, you said: “If you make use of a “free trial” and then cancel it, you may be charged retroactively.” The same information is also stated in a Slickdeals post. However, when I asked Freedompop contact us web page, I got a different answer as follows: “No, not at all. The account may suspend until the month cycles, though. That’s not a bad thing, but is terribly inconvenient. …” Just want to make sure what is really things going on. I hope you can find out.
    Thank you very mcuh for your service to the community!

  • gaiageek Post author

    I don’t know with certainty (which is why I wrote “may”), but the greater point is that if you want to avoid any possible charges or complications (I’d call having your service suspended a complication), this is the safe path (not using the free trial). If you want to make use of that free trial, go ahead and do so as long as you are prepared to deal the service being suspended until the next month and/or the possibility that you may get charged and have to write customer service to get the charge reversed. Alternatively, take precautions as suggested in the article to make sure that any such charge would fail to go through (and your service would just be suspended). If you do try the free trial, I’d love to hear back from you as to exactly what happens when you cancel it.

  • gaiageek Post author

    Sounds like he knows what he’s talking about. I’ll make an update to the guide. Thanks for that!

  • James Jeffries

    Great article as it’s very hard to get accurate info from FreedomPop. Under What Else Do I Need to Know, you seem to say that 100% of all VOIP phone calls are handled by an UK server, and you go on to describe how to make phone calls within the USA. Do you really mean that and is that true? Meaning that if I’m here in the USA and using a phone with the 3 in 1 Sim card and calling my neighbor across town that my phone call is routed through the UK? And that I’d have to dial +1 (area code) (phone number)? Any clarification or additional info would be appreciated.

  • gaiageek Post author

    Good question, James. We know that FreedomPop uses an APN which is based in the UK, probably because they’re reselling a service that’s based there. This in turn has the result of making the phone “think” it’s in the UK in terms of certain internet services, like Google Hangouts. As far as an actual call goes, I can’t say whether the data packets are actually being routed through the UK or not. It wouldn’t surprise me, but there’s also good evidence for it not being the case (the decent audio latency). How you have to dial really depends on the app that you’re using: If you’re using the FreedomPop app, you can probably dial just ‘1’ followed by the number. We just know that in the specific case of Google Hangouts, all US numbers must be prefixed by ‘+1’. This is actually the proper way to store US numbers in your contact list if you travel internationally any way, as it ensures that, no matter what country you’re in (even the US), the call will go through as a call to the US.

    I hope that helps. Let me know if you have more questions.

  • James Jeffries

    Thanks for you comments on FreedomPop’s GSM voice services. Wonder if you know and can comment on the differences, if any at the end of the day, between a GSM phone activated on FreedomPop as a BYOD phone, and a GSM phone activated using a FreedomPop 3 in 1 SIM card. I suspect that they both can have the same data plan and are basically the same, but it’s not easy to get info from FreedomPop.

  • gaiageek Post author

    James, as far as I know, the BYOD option is for FreedomPop’s Sprint-based service. Choosing between the two depends on whether your device is compatible with Sprint (CDMA) or with AT&T/T-Mobile (GSM), and if your device happens to be compatible with any of the above, whether you prefer one over the other. I think most people would agree that having the combined coverage of AT&T and T-Mobile is superior to Sprint’s coverage. Additionally, with GSM-based service, you’re able to easily swap the SIM card for another SIM and another service.

    There may also be some differences in the plans that I’m not aware of. The Sprint-based service is beyond the scope of this article.

  • Fuyun Ling

    The main difference between these two plans is that the GSM SIM free plan has only 200MB data but the CDMA plan has 500MB. Of course, I agree that GSM plan may has better coverage and other advantages. I happened to have an unlocked GSM/WCDMA phone that is why I joined the GSM plan. Otherwise, in US I will choose the CDMA plan
    If I remember correctly, you said the voice call does not use data quota. This is actually not true from my experience. With no WIFI connected, each minute of call actually uses 2MB data. So 200MB can only support 100 minutes of voice phone call. That is not much. Not sure what happens when Wifi is available.

  • gaiageek Post author

    2MB as reported by your phone, or as reported in your FreedomPop account? Any mobile data used to make calls with the FreedomPop app is supposed to be reimbursed to your account. If you use Google Hangouts or another service, this isn’t the case, of course. Making a call over Wi-Fi through the FP app will still result in the deduction of minutes.

  • gaiageek Post author

    The deduction on FreedomPop’s end isn’t instantaneous. If it doesn’t show up in 24-48 hours, I would contact FP about it. It worked for me even when I used a 3rd party SIP client with my FP login info.

  • James Jeffries

    Great Info from both GaiaGeek and Fuyun. I didn’t realize that BYOD was only for Sprint/CDMA. That now makes sense and would explain why FP have both options. FP really never makes this clear at all. I do know that to BYOD CDMA phone that it has to be locked to Sprint or it won’t activate. One option that I find invaluable using CDMA (I’ve been a FP customer for over 1year) is the Premium Voice that at least switches to cellphone connections on outgoing phone calls when the data service isn’t good.. With VOIP, I often experienced drop outs or a one way loss of the connection, which isn’t unusual from my reading and research.. I don’t know how well VOIP works with GSM. I may buy an inexpensive, unlocked GSM phone and activate it with the 3 in 1 Sim just to try it out – esp VOIP. It was good that Fuyun pointed out esp the data b/w differences between the 2 services. The rollover feature of Premium services really seems necessary practically speaking. You’re both great and so helpful – wish FP personnel were half as helpful!!.

  • David

    I have a Sprint phone with a clean IMEI and an unlock code. FP still wants to charge me @19.99 to BYOD. Not a very attractive deal.

  • gaiageek Post author

    David, the BYOD offer is for their Sprint-based service which is an entirely different beast. If your phone has a SIM slot and supports GSM bands, such as a Sprint-branded iPhone, you just need to order and insert the SIM card. For finding out if your device supports GSM bands, look up the specs of your model on or a similar site.

  • Fuyun Ling

    In your guide, you said “With this credit in place, you can use the full amount of your free monthly data (i.e. 700 MB), …”. However from this guy who appears working for FP in the link:, he said you can only use up to 100 MB below your limit. The $5 is for covering overage above the limit due to the reporting delay. Can you take a look of what he said?

  • gaiageek Post author

    It’s not clear to me that the poster in that thread is working for FP. My info comes from an exchange by private message with the FreedomPop rep on Slickdeals, in which they said “If auto top is disabled with no credit on the account, the device will suspend when you come within the last 100MB of your data plan.” This suggests that as long as you have credit (supposedly at least $2), you will not be suspended when you come within 100MB of your limit, and this makes sense as that’s what the credit is there for: to cover additional usage over your limit due to the reporting delay, and to allow you to keep using data service (and pay for it). Keep in mind, if you use up that credit or don’t renew it the following month, your account would be suspended the following month when you’re 100MB below your limit.

    Now, I can’t say with 100% certainty that this is the case because I haven’t tried it myself. However, given everything I’ve seen, this makes sense to me, so this is what I’ll stand by until I see a user report saying otherwise.

  • Fuyun Ling

    Just curious. Instead of “Pay for the SIM card with a virtual credit card” as you suggested, what about I pay for it using Paypal. Then I cancel Paypal’s preapproved payment of FP. Will this achieve the same result?

  • gaiageek Post author

    I don’t know, but I would think that FreedomPop would be alerted to this, and you then may have a problem as you wouldn’t have a valid payment method on file. If you try it, let me know.

  • Fuyun Ling

    But if it is the case (wouldn’t have a valid payment method on file), won’t the virtual credit card has only $5 balance have the same problem?

  • gaiageek Post author

    Only if they attempt to charge your card and it doesn’t go through. If you never hit the automatic top-up point and have all services disabled, that should never happen.

  • Steve Wall

    I currently have an iPhone with a freedompop global sim card and frequently miss calls when I am not connected to wifi. I see that Freedompop also offers CDMA phones. Would these phones have the same problem?

  • gaiageek Post author

    Steve, the CDMA-based service uses VOIP as well, so you’d probably run into the same issue unless you pay $4/month for premium voice, and even then reviews suggest there are issues with that service. I suggest trying the FreedomPop LTE SIM which uses AT&T’s LTE network. See the link above in the question “Does this use LTE?”, but note that isn’t a global SIM (US coverage only). Alternatively, if you’re willing to switch to Android, you could get a dual-SIM phone and use a 2nd SIM for voice calls, which is my preferred solution.

  • gaiageek Post author

    A note on an update to the info on this page: It was previously understood (and confirmed to me by a FreedomPop rep) that the auto top-up trigger point was 100MB less than your monthly limit. There’s now a FreedomPop support page which says that auto top-up will trigger at 20MB less than your monthly limit. The page in question has again been updated (July 2017) and it looks like the top-up trigger point is back to 100MB below your limit. The article has been updated accordingly.

  • Akos

    Excellent guide Gaia, I commend you on it. I am based in Europe and use my global sim there in several countries, but also frequently travel to the US. So I have to say even though the FP service has many faults, I get huge benefits at minimal expense. So I think you may have read my FP forum posts about service coverage in Eastern Europe, etc.

    Something you do not mention in the guide is having multiple devices or SIMs under your email account. I do have two, one data only and one Global 3in1. Having both gives me some headace sometimes and would like to have them split into different email addresses. I wrote to FP about this and let’s see what happens.

    Also a recent experience is that I used up all my data and got disabled as my previous credit card expired. I went ahead to update my credit card details and loaded $5 credit just to be on the safe side and to be able to turn off auto top-up. Regardless of doing that, FP still charged my card with $15 which means I now have $20 in credit. Disappointing.

    I also wonder whether it is possible to use your account credit for anything besides pay-as-you-go data. This is some messed up s***t that they charge your card with $15 all the time and have it expire in a month if you don’t use it. And then you can re-activate. Messed up.

  • gaiageek Post author

    Thank you, Akos! I’ve also used the SIM in Europe and found it to be very useful, despite the catches.

    I do actually address the issue of multiple SIM cards under the question “Can I have more than one SIM?”, where I state that it’s best to have each SIM tied to a different email address to avoid such headaches. I believe some people have had success with deactivating the 2nd SIM and reactivating it on a separate email, but I’d be concerned about a charge to reactivate it, so it seems like it would be easier to just get another SIM if you can catch one of the sales again.

    I have heard that people have triggered auto top-up been charged the $15 after providing a new payment card, and I’ve updated the guide to mention that. It is annoying, their system, and the best suggestion I can make is to set a hard data limit on your device to make sure you never trigger auto top-up (although in your case, now that you have that credit it, you may as well use it).

    Interesting question regarding whether you could use your credit for something else. You could contact FreedomPop on Twitter or through Slickdeals and ask if you can convert that $20 in credit to either one month of the 1GB plan or 5 months of the data rollover. It seems like a long shot, but maybe you’ll get someone who can help you out. Let me know if it works!

  • David

    Some tips on how to ensure NOT getting charged at all? Nothing as in NADA!

    1) Remember that FP isn’t a traditional voice/text/data plan. Voice service and texts are provided VOIP over the data network using the FreedomPop app, not over the traditional voice network like other cell carriers. FP’s so called voice and text service is actually uses data thru VOIP and you have to use their battery hogging VOIP app. Their VOIP plan is only 200 minutes and 500 texts. There are better VOIP providers such as Google’s Hangouts app+ free Google voice service for unlimited talk + text VOIP services. Like FP’s VOIP service, Google voice VOIP assigns you a number.

    2) Use a virtual credit card (BOA or Citi cards) when setting up FP account. Set a $6 limit on the VCC (test authorization that drops off has been raised to $5)

    3) After signup, immediately downgrade to basic free voice, remove the Premium services, disable premium voice and disable voicemail. Don’t wait until 30 days is over- you WILL forget

    4) Add 10 FP friends to get additional 500MB- see thread

    5) Your downgraded plan with have 200MB + 500MB more if you add 10 FP friends.

    6) Use Google Voice for VOIP unlimited talk and text with hangouts dialer app, CSIPmobile, or any other VOIP client for voice and texting needs. If you choose to use FP battery hogging VOIP app, you will have 200 minutes and 500 texts. FP is in reality a data only company. Not a text and talk provider over native 2G networks like every other cell carrier out there. You are better off using Hangouts + Google voice for unlimited talk + text VOIP services.

    7) Close your virtual credit card so no charges go through.

    8) Add the free Global 100 VOIP plan to your account to make free VOIP international calls to 50+ countries. You can use FP VOIP app to make these international calls or use another VOIP app like CsipSimple if you can extract your FP VOIP credentials- there’s an XDA guide for that

  • TOM

    so in point #3 above called…. Disable it…..the question is if I want to use almost all of 700mb, I then set phone to to say 685mb. I pay the
    5.00 with disable. Now if i never go over 700mb, do I have to reset each month to another 5.00 or does it rollover ? . Sounds like I have to
    login and reset to 5.00 each month. thanks

  • gaiageek Post author

    Tom, if you disable auto top-up, then as long as you keep it under 700MB you won’t eat into that $5.00 credit. However, as you point out, you will have to login each month to reactivate that credit. This seems to be the only way to use all of your 700MB without getting additional charges (from auto top-up).

  • gaiageek Post author

    Akos, the Global SIM now only supports T-Mobile’s network in the US. The issue seems to be that, in some areas, T-Mobile is only running 4G/LTE and 2G/GSM – no 3G service. Since the Global SIM doesn’t allow LTE access (in any country), this limits people to 2G access in these areas, essentially making the service unusable (unless you’re ok with dial-up internet speeds). For people in this situation I recommend switching to FreedomPop’s LTE SIM, which offers faster speeds and lower latency anyway, the only catch being that it doesn’t work outside the US. It’s not that hard to switch SIMs if you go abroad though. The LTE SIM is available for $0.99 right now here: 100% Free Talk, Text, & 4G LTE Data w/ the NEW 3-in-1 SIM Kit from FreedomPop

  • Akos

    Thanks for these comments gaiageek. Do you know if the same applies to FP’s data only sims? I have one of those back in Europe and I am wondering if the same applies to them as the global sim. Since I have a proper European sim and roaming has officially been abolished, the global sims have no use to me and I’m looking to just cancel them. Problem is both have around $10-15 credit on them that I am looking to lose.

  • gaiageek Post author

    Akos, from what I know, the data only SIMs that were sold are just Global SIMs that didn’t include the free minutes/messages, so I’d treat them as the same. I would still keep at least one Global SIM active if you’re sometimes in Europe, as it basically costs nothing to do so and it may come in handy if you’re in a spot where your primary European SIM isn’t getting a signal. Similarly, your primary SIM may not support tethering, or may not work in a Wi-Fi hotspot or USB modem, whereas the Global SIM does (confirmed personally).

  • Huhu

    This is a useful summary. My experience: In Slovakia the global sim works fine on the Telekom SK network. The phone sometimes chooses O2 network. But that doesn’t work _ connected by no data going through.
    In Hungary it does not work.

  • gaiageek Post author

    Thanks, Huhu. I updated the article to include your report from Slovakia. It’s a shame that there’s still no service in Hungary.

  • Josie Choy

    Totally confused – hoping you can help! I have always had the free plan with the 3-in-1 Global Sim then my son went over his data back in Dec/Jan and we got charged the $15 for which I no longer see the credit balance for or can locate where to reactivate them as you have stated. After that they started charging me $4.99/mo and here’s their response:

    “The $4.99 is renewal charge for Global 200 Basic Plan. Please be informed that we are transitioning our Global SIM cards from our current 3G network provider to a top nationwide GSM network provider. In order to keep providing phone and data service to Global sim device, we had to increase the price of our basic plan to $4.99/month instead of free, but rest assured that you are still receiving the best value possible”

    I have been paying it since Feb thinking that’s the only option I have. With that said, here are my questions:
    1) Am I locked in to this $4.99/mo plan that I didn’t even ask for? Are they saying that with my current 3 in 1 Global SIM, they no longer offer a free plan?
    2) Can I still get a free plan with FP? If so, do I need to purchase a new SIM for the LTE network?
    3) If I switch to LTE, wil my Global SIM still work when I am traveling overseas?
    4) Are the prepaid LTE plans worth it or a good idea – I’m thinking about the $20 for 3 mos or the $50 for 12mos plans but fearful to be stuck with it if it doesn’t work well
    5) Using a new LTE SIM – does that mean new account and new phone number?

    All I need is a free or very low cost plan that allows my middle schooler some talk/text/data to use without breaking the bank. We find it a bit inhibiting to not be able to reach him or vice versa when he’s outside of wifi area so the AT&T LTE network offer sounds appealing, assuming that means he can use LTE to call us without burning his data. Am I on the right track? What would you recommend as the best option for him to have based on what we’re hoping to accomplish?

    Appreciate your feedback!!!

  • gaiageek Post author

    Hi Josie,

    There have been some big changes with FreedomPop this year, one of them being the shift away from the Global SIM in favor of the LTE SIM, which runs on AT&T’s network and, more importantly, does NOT work outside the US. So, while you’re certainly NOT locked in to the current $4.99/month plan you’re on with the Global SIM, if you want to have that service for use overseas, you will have to keep paying it. That said, for the price, you’d probably be better off getting a SIM in whatever country you land in next time you travel than pay $60/year to keep that one alive, unless you’re in Europe regularly (and even then it’s not a great value).

    To make matters worse for both the Global SIM and the LTE SIM on the free plan, FreedomPop has reduced the “FreedomPop Friends” data to a maximum bonus of 50MB (5MB x 10 friends). So even if you’re taking advantage of that, you’re getting at most 250MB, which isn’t a lot (it used to be 500MB, for a total of 700MB a month).

    If you want to switch to the LTE SIM on the free plan, I believe you can use the upgrade link that should show up when you log in to your account for the Global SIM – if you’re certain you don’t want to keep it – and that should allow you to keep the same phone number if you wish, though I personally advise against getting too attached to your FP phone number, and would recommend using a Google Voice number instead (and the Google Voice app). Alternatively, you can buy a new LTE SIM from Target. Note that there are new procedures for activating the SIM and getting on the totally free plan. I may try to update this page with that info soon (it’s been hard to keep up with all their changes).

    If you feel that 200 or 250 MB of data isn’t enough for your middle schooler, yes I’d consider the 3-month or 12-month SIM card options from FP as decent options, as those get you 1GB per month – but those would be new accounts. Alternatively, if you want a SIM with a real phone number instead of having to use an app for calls and messages, look into the Red Pocket 360 Day Prepaid Wireless Phone Plan (Basic) on eBay. For $60 you get a year of service, with 500MB, 100 SMS and 100 minutes per month. It also frees you from having to deal with FP’s unpredictability.

    As for that $15 you got charged and should have as credit, you’ll have to contact FP about that. I suggest doing so through their Twitter account if you can.

    I hope this helps!

  • Josie

    Hi again GaiaGeek,

    Thanks for your reply. So I just need some clarifications to what you said:

    “If you want to switch to the LTE SIM on the free plan, I believe you can use the upgrade link that should show up when you log in to your account for the Global SIM – if you’re certain you don’t want to keep it – and that should allow you to keep the same phone number if you wish, though I personally advise against getting too attached to your FP phone number, and would recommend using a Google Voice number instead (and the Google Voice app). Alternatively, you can buy a new LTE SIM from Target. Note that there are new procedures for activating the SIM and getting on the totally free plan. I may try to update this page with that info soon (it’s been hard to keep up with all their changes).”

    – I don’t see the upgrade link being offered (of course) so I guess my only choice is to buy a new LTE SIM and start over with a new account and ph number in order to go back on the free plan? Any activation fee or traps that I should know about before doing so??
    – What is the advantage of using Google Voice vs FP app to make calls, etc?
    – An update from you ref the latest changes would be awesome!

    “If you feel that 200 or 250 MB of data isn’t enough for your middle schooler, yes I’d consider the 3-month or 12-month SIM card options from FP as decent options, as those get you 1GB per month – but those would be new accounts. Alternatively, if you want a SIM with a real phone number instead of having to use an app for calls and messages, look into the Red Pocket 360 Day Prepaid Wireless Phone Plan (Basic) on eBay. For $60 you get a year of service, with 500MB, 100 SMS and 100 minutes per month. It also frees you from having to deal with FP’s unpredictability.”
    – If I go with the 12mo SIM, will using AT&T network be easier for us to reach our son vs what we had before? In other words, if AT&T is strong in our area, can he potentially have WiFi connectivity and be reachable at all times now that FP is using that network? And if so, are those calls included and not utilizing our 1GB data?
    – Great idea ref trying out Red Pocket – only problem is even less SMS and minutes 🙁 Are they the only option that’s comparable to FP?

    Thanks for your feedback!

  • gaiageek Post author

    When you log in to you should see a header at the top saying something like “Switch up to lightning fast LTE internet! Click here to upgrade”. If you don’t see that, you could still contact FP support and ask if they can upgrade you. I would think they can.

    Google Voice has the advantage of unlimited minutes and texts, and not having to worry about losing the phone number if you ever end your FP service (or they go out of business). The advantage of using the FP app is that any data used for calls should not be deducted from the monthly data allotment (this answers another question of yours). If your son is regularly making voice calls, this can add up and it may be better to use the FP app. He can actually use both if he wants, and just use Google Voice calls only on Wi-Fi.

    The Global SIM now only connects with T-Mobile in the US, and it’s not allowed on their LTE network (only 2G and 3G). Add to this the fact that in many areas, T-Mobile has shut off their 3G in favor of more LTE coverage, and you may not be getting good service with the Global SIM in the US (one of the reasons they discontinued it). If you get good reception with AT&T, then yes, he should get decent coverage with which he can use mobile data (and thus calls/messaging), and can additionally use Wi-Fi for receiving calls and messages when it’s available (e.g. at a friend’s house).

    I’d say Red Pocket is the only comparable plan to FreedomPop right now that uses a good network and with which you can use the same device you’re already using. There are some deals for free service with Sprint right now, but I don’t know much about it, and either way I haven’t heard good things about Sprint’s network so I wouldn’t recommend it – but it’s something you can look into if you really want to stick with a free plan.

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