flame Compare Deals and save hundreds of pounds Sim Only Deals Phone Deals

FreedomPop Review and Network Coverage

17th March 2022

FreedomPop is an innovative MVNO which runs on Three’s network and stands out by offering customers very cheap allowances. It used to also offer a completely free plan, but it doesn’t anymore.

As such it’s no longer quite as good as it once was, but it still has a reasonable amount going for it, as this review will show.

You’ll find full details of the good and bad of the network below, along with a look at its coverage, so you can make an informed decision as to whether it’s the right network for you.

Summary

Pros

Cons

Very cheap basic tariff

Tethering costs extra

Lots of optional extras

Low data limits

 

No roaming

Our Verdict 

Table of Contents

Coverage

Which network does FreedomPop use?

FreedomPop relies on Three’s network, so it has coverage in all the same places. The exception to that is that you can’t get 5G on FreedomPop at the time of writing, even though Three offers it, but 4G and 3G coverage should be identical across the two.

Freedom Pop Coverage

Network Type

Coverage by population

4G 

99.8%

3G

98.7%

2G

N/A

5G coverage

FreedomPop doesn’t offer 5G yet and hasn’t said if or when it will. It’s worth noting that the network will be reliant on Three for coverage though, meaning it can only roll 5G out to places where Three already has it. At the time of writing that means parts of at least 303 towns and cities.

4G coverage

As a Three MVNO, FreedomPop currently has 99.8% UK population coverage with 4G. That's comparable to other networks, and Three's network is improving quickly.

Towns and cities with partial or full 4G coverage include:

Aberdeen, Birmingham, Blackpool, Bolton, Bournemouth, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Coventry, Derby, Dundee, Durham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Gloucester, Huddersfield, Ipswich, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Luton, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston, Sheffield, Southampton, Southend On Sea, Stoke on Trent, Swindon, Watford and York.

The full list is far too big to include here and is growing all the time, so if you don't have FreedomPop 4G coverage where you are now, you likely will do soon.

3G coverage

FreedomPop also has around 98.7% coverage with 3G, which again is competitive, if not quite as impressive as its 4G coverage.

Use FreedomPop’s coverage checker above to find out more about FreedomPop coverage in your area, including signal strengths and details on both indoor and outdoor coverage.

Plans

FreedomPop offers a small range of SIM Only plans, with the cheapest costing just £3.49 per month. However the network doesn’t offer any other kinds of plans.

FreedomPop Plans

 

Mobile Phones

SIM Only

Data only SIM

Plans available

X

X

Max Data

-

4GB

-

Contract lengths

-

1 month

-

Deals

-

Compare deals

 -

FreedomPop has a handful of different SIM Only plans, all of which come with an allowance of minutes, texts, and data.

They’re extremely basic plans, topping out at just 4GB of data, which is a very low allowance, so FreedomPop is only suited to light users.

There aren’t many extras available either, and those that there are mostly cost extra, as we’ll detail below. However, the network is also extremely cheap for its basic plans, and that’s its main selling point.

Ultimately, these plans make FreedomPop best for people who want to spend as little as possible, or who want a cheap secondary SIM card.

FreedomPop Perks and Policies

 

SIM Only

5G

Roaming

Tethering

Wi-Fi Calling

VoLTE

Data Rollover

Spending Caps

Unlimited Data

Family Plans

Credit Check

FreedomPop has a handful of extras, detailed below. Note that these extras and their prices were correct last time we were able to check, however they’re no longer visible to non-subscribers and the network didn’t reply to our request for information.

5G

FreedomPop doesn’t yet offer 5G, so it’s not available on any of the company’s plans. If that ever changes it will presumably share coverage with Three, since that’s its current network partner.

Roaming destinations

FreedomPop’s standard SIM cards don’t include free roaming on any plan. In fact, you can't roam at all.

However, the network used to offer ‘WhatsApp SIM cards’. These limit you to 3G data whether at home or abroad – so they’re less useful if you plan to mostly use your phone in the UK. But they include free data roaming in the following destinations:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the US.

Those are fewer locations than most networks now allow you to roam for free in, but they include destinations beyond Europe, which most rival networks don't. If you already have a WhatsApp SIM you may be able to keep using it to roam, but FreedomPop no longer offers this service to new customers.

Tethering

FreedomPop allows tethering but only if you subscribe to FreedomPop Premier, which costs £3.99 per month on top of any other costs.

Wi-Fi Calling

Wi-Fi Calling refers to making calls, receiving calls and sending texts over Wi-Fi, rather than over a mobile network. It can be handy as indoor locations (where Wi-Fi is often available) can also often have signal blackspots, so Wi-Fi Calling ensures you can still stay in touch. FreedomPop offers this service, and it works through the same apps as the standard FreedomPop service.

VoLTE

VoLTE stands for Voice over LTE and is also sometimes called 4G Calling. As you might have guessed from that name it means calling over 4G, rather than 3G or 2G. This isn’t a standard feature of mobile networks, but it means you can call in more places, as you’ll be able to use your phone when there’s a 4G signal but no 2G or 3G. However, VoLTE isn’t currently offered by FreedomPop.

Data rollover

Data rollover is available on FreedomPop, but you have to pay extra for it – it costs £1.49 per month. Add this to your plan and you can roll over unused data to a second month, giving you a second chance to use it.

Spending caps

FreedomPop offers spending caps as a paid extra, so you can limit the amount you spend on out-of-bundle charges. Note however that this is a standard feature on most networks.

Unlimited data

Unlimited data isn’t offered on FreedomPop, with the network topping out at a paltry 4GB. So this isn’t the place for heavy data users.

Family plans

There aren’t any family plans on FreedomPop, so you don’t get discounts for having multiple SIMs on your account.

Credit check

As FreedomPop’s plans aren’t contracts (all only lasting 30 days) you don’t have to pass a credit check to use the network.

Unique perks

One big extra on this network is FreedomPop Premier, which allows you to tether, get visual voicemail, usage alerts, and roll over unused data, among other things, for £3.99 per month.

FreedomPop also has a range of offers (most of which involve filling in surveys) which reward you with free data, so you can potentially get a lot more than your allowance offers.

Awards

FreedomPop isn’t a widely awarded network, which makes sense, as it’s focused on being as cheap as possible. So you get low prices (for the basics anyway), but the network doesn’t really excel beyond that.

Network

Network Speeds

Opensignal – Mobile Network Experience, September 2021, and April 2020

Network

Download/upload speeds

4G latency (ms)

EE

44/9.7Mbps

36.0ms

FreedomPop (Three)

25.2/6.3Mbps

48.3ms

Vodafone

21.6/7.4Mbps

39.0ms

O2

17.1/5.4Mbps

38.1ms

There aren’t many reports into FreedomPop’s speeds, but in an Opensignal report from September 2021, Three achieved an average download speed of 25.2Mbps, and an average upload speed of 6.3Mbps. However, this factored in a combination of 5G, 4G and 3G, so FreedomPop’s speeds may not be similar, since it doesn’t have 5G.

For 4G-only we have to look back to October 2020, where Three was found to have 4G download speeds of 22.2Mbps on average, which is the second slowest in the test. Its average 4G upload speeds of 8.0Mbps are also second slowest. As FreedomPop shares Three’s infrastructure and spectrum it’s likely to offer similar speeds.

Three’s latency (the amount of time it takes for the network to respond to a request), averaged 48.3ms in a report from April 2020 (used because recent reports don’t include latency), which is slower than any other tested network, so again, FreedomPop’s is likely to be similar, and that’s not so good.

Traffic management

At the time of writing, FreedomPop doesn’t publish a traffic management policy as far as we can find, but the company has previously said that it reserves the right to “engage in reasonable network management to protect the overall network, including analysing traffic patterns and preventing the distribution of viruses or other malicious code.”

It additionally stated that during periods of congestion it will use various network management techniques “such as reducing the data rate of individual bandwidth intensive users whose use is negatively impacting other users.” These limits are temporary, but for ongoing or recurring excessive use “FreedomPop reserves the right to immediately restrict, suspend or terminate your access.”

Network Frequencies

Network Frequencies

Frequency

Frequency Band

Network

800MHz

Band 20

4G

1800MHz

Band 3

4G

2100MHz

Band 1

3G

FreedomPop uses the 800MHz and 1800MHz bands for 4G. The 800MHz band can travel over long distances, making it a good fit for rural locations, where there may not be many masts. But it can also do a good job of passing through walls and other objects, making it good for bringing 4G inside too.

1800MHz isn’t quite as long range or as adept at passing through walls, but it’s available in higher capacities, and this allows it to cope better with congested areas, such as city centres.

FreedomPop may one day also get access to Three’s 700MHz, 3.4GHz and 3.6-4GHz spectrum, but this will probably only happen if or when it starts offering 5G.

You can find in depth details of those bands in our 4G and 5G frequencies guide.

Customer service

Customer service can be hard to judge, especially in FreedomPop’s case, as none of the recent studies and surveys have looked at this network.

The best we can do is look at its Trustpilot rating, which at the time of writing stands at 2.3 out of 5, which is classed as a ‘poor’ score, so customer service might not be great. It’s worth noting that FreedomPop’s site has become hard to navigate and find information on too, and generally feels a bit neglected.

Conclusion

FreedomPop is a solid network for one simple reason: it has plans that start at very low prices.

That makes it great if you’re a light user or want a second number that won’t cost you much. Paid bolt-ons such as tethering and data rollover also give it a number of additional strengths.

However, these can also make the price add up, and if you also need higher allowances than the basic tier offers you might find you’re better off on a conventional network. The lack of roaming also really hurts it, and the fact that it no longer offers free plans is a big point against it.

Overall FreedomPop is an average network at best and tough to recommend as a primary network for all but the lightest users, but if that’s you, or you want a cheap plan for a second number, then it’s well worth a look.

Alternatives

One strong alternative to FreedomPop is Smarty. While not quite as cheap, this is still a very affordable network, and it has the same coverage.

Plus, you arguably get a lot more for your money, with 5G included as standard, free roaming in Europe, and the option of unlimited data. The main downside of Smarty is also an issue with FreedomPop, namely that there’s just SIM Only plans available, so for other plan types you’ll need to look elsewhere.

In that case you could consider Three itself, which offers a wide range of plans, and again offers the same coverage, but at a typically higher price.

Mobile Networks

Sim Deals

SIM Card Triple SIM
4 GB Data UNLIMITED Minutes UNLIMITED Texts £6.00 a month View Deal
SIM Card Triple SIM
30 GB Data UNLIMITED Minutes UNLIMITED Texts £9.00 a month View Deal
View More
Sign up for our newsletter.