Free phone service to offer smartphone that conserves cellular minutes and data

WASHINGTON — Free phone service FreedomPop says it will soon offer a smartphone that lets users tap into any Wi-Fi network to make and receive calls and go online without having to use expensive cellular minutes and data.

FreedomPop offers free and low-cost mobile service, including unlimited talk, text and data.

According to CNET, FreedomPop will offer a Wi-Fi first phone, priced between $99 and $199, launching in 2016.

A Wi-Fi first phone is designed to seek and join available Wi-Fi networks, to avoid a user having to dip into a monthly allowance of minutes and data. Using Wi-Fi, the phone is capable of making Voice over IP phone calls, sending and receiving texts, and use of the Internet.

The phone will be capable of using mobile cellular service, but only if Wi-Fi isn’t available.

CNET reports the phone will use Intel’s SoFIA platform, built on an inexpensive smartphone chip that integrates the modem with the processor to cut manufacturing costs.

FreedomPop says it has nearly 10 million nationwide Wi-Fi hot spots.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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