When I bought my iPad (3rd Generation), I got the 4G option. I thought it would be great to have access on the go no matter where I was (coverage permitting). It was definitely nice, but there was a down side. I was paying for data on the device no matter how much or how little I used. When it comes to my iPad, I use it more on WiFi than I do 4G, which is the complete opposite of my iPhone which is used more on cellular since I have it with me 24/7.
I got tired of paying for the flat rate (WAY OVERPRICED) plan that I had with Verizon, so I began searching for alternatives. Here are the alternatives that I came up with to choose from:
1. Use open WiFi hotspots.
2. Get a pay as you go Mobile Hotspot.
3. Don’t use the iPad on the go.
Option 1 wasn’t going to work because even on an iPad, open WiFi hotspots terrify me and I avoid them like the plague they are.
Option 2 seemed feasible but the data plans are about the same and you are stuck in the same boat of paying no matter what you use. Not any real benefit over the onboard 4G.
Option 3 is just lame. Nuff said.
So what do I do? Well, I found something that is proving to be exactly what I want for my iPad! The solution is a service from a company called FreedomPop. They offer a very reasonable tiered pricing structure, but even better than that, they have a free tier! Wait, what?!
FreedomPop has a FREE tier that gives you 500MB of 4G data for $0.00/month. Crazy, huh? So I can use as much of the 500MB, or none of it, and I pay $0.00 a month.
What’s the catch? From what I can tell there really isn’t any “catch”. They do try to up sell you some additional features for your account, but you don’t have to sign up for them if you don’t want them. There are no outrageous overage fees either, which is what I was expecting to get caught on. If I go over my 500MB, I just pay per MB and it ends up being the same price I was paying Verizon for the flat rate, so not a big deal.
So what about the hardware? They have a pretty cool little 4G modem called the FreedomPop Photon. It is a very small device that fits easily in your pocket. The modem costs $99, which by the way is a fully refundable deposit, so you aren’t even stuck with useless hardware if you decided to cancel your service.
Coverage? This may be the only thing holding you back on this service swap. They don’t have the biggest coverage map at this point. I assume this will grow over time if the company is successful, but fortunately for me the coverage is pretty good where I am. Not to mention I am not paying a lot for data, so it’s worth waiting around to see if coverage expands.
Overall I am very happy with this service. More than that, I am happy to see someone trying to disrupt the ridiculous industry that is cellular data. We as consumers have been getting the shaft on cellular plans for too long, and it makes me happy to see someone try and throw a wrench in the large carriers’ works!