Free 4G Internet on the road

Have you ever found yourself stranded at an airport, longing for a free internet connection? Although there are a number of airports that offer free WiFi  (a service for which I am VERY grateful), free WiFi is hardly ubiquitous.

Enter FreedomPop, a nationwide 4G wireless internet service that, among other things, promises:

  • Free Data – guaranteed 500MB FREE every month
  • Fast Speeds – internet at 4G speeds (10x faster than 3G)
  • No Gimmicks – no data caps or throttling speeds
  • Take It With You – use at home, the office, or wherever you go
  • No Contracts – cancel anytime without fees or commitment

While it promises a lot, there are some catches: The first 500MB per month is free, but you pay (a lot) for data use beyond that. There are ways that you can earn additional free data, by completing offers or referring friends, but this seems like more of a hassle than it’s worth. Also, you do have to pay for the device ($50-$100), but the website states that the payment is a refundable deposit.

The service isn’t as fast as most of the newer LTE networks (it uses the slower, older WiMax technology), but it should be sufficient for basic web surfing. Also, the free service is throttled; your data speed is reduced, and FreedomPop tries to up-sell you during the signup process.

“Wherever you go” is also up for debate. Since the service currently uses Clear’s WiMax network, the coverage area is limited or nonexistent in some cities. Check the coverage at http://www.clear.com/coverage to see if the service will work in your area.

Despite the drawbacks, FreedomPop still offers something I have found nowhere else: A free internet connection that will work for me most places I’ll travel. My device shipped a few days ago; expect a post in a few weeks with my reaction about how it goes.

Do you use FreedomPop to connect to the internet for free? If so, leave your impressions in the comments!

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