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Budget cell phone carrier FreedomPop has everyone talking about them. The FreedomPop craze started when the company started selling cheap 4G WiFi hotspots with free service in late 2012. But now with FreedomPop venturing into the cell phone market, TechCrunch, Mashable, and FastCompany are all talking about the carrier’s new cell phone release. The cell phone is nicknamed the “Snowden” phone by the industry because of the privacy protection features it offers. FreedomPop offers this phone along with their ultra cheap cell service.

ThePrivacyPhone is the official name for this phone. This is because it encrypts your calls, texts, and data. It is built on top of a Samsung Galaxy SII with Android OS. It includes 128-bit encryption tools and anonymizes your traffic using a VPN. You can also change your phone number anytime you want. To top it off, you can pay using Bitcoin. Simply put, if you are drug cartel, CIA, or a targeted individual then this phone is for you.

FreedomPop Bundles the “Snowden” Phone with Ultra Cheap Cell Service

The phone only costs $189. No contract. This is less than one-third the price of the Blackphone, the primary competitor. Pair this with Freedompop’s ultra cheap cell service for the ultimate deal. For the first three months, you get unlimited voice/text and 500MB of data for free. After that, it is $10 a month. Alternatively, you can opt for other phone models such as a regular Samsung Galaxy SII ($159, no contract) or an HTC Evo 4G ($119, no contract).

FreedomPop can offer cheap cell service because they piggyback off the Sprint network. They plan on offering support for many Sprint cell phone models. This means that if you’re on Sprint you can switch to FreedomPop so long as they support your device. You can check if they support your device here. Just enter your MEID number.

There are caveats though. FreedomPop can offer cheap cell service because they completely nix 2G voice and text. This means that you will only be able use the service in Sprint 3G/4G locations. You can check out the FreedomPop coverage map here. TIME also complains about hidden fees and calls the service shady. But maybe they forgot that they were talking about an incredibly cheap cell service.

Not Enough? 4G WiFi Hotspot with Free Service

FreedomPop Overdrive

The FreedomPop Overdrive – a 3G/4G WiFi Hotspot that includes a free 500MB 4G service by default. For 3G fallback, you will have to upgrade to a paid plan (approx. $20/month).

It’s important to note the cheap cell service even offers completely FREE service for some of their portable 4G hotspots. Again, there are caveats. You do have to use at least 5MB a month. If you do not, you have to pay a small fee to reactivate the device. Also, if you want to fallback to 3G service, you will have to opt for the deluxe version of their hotspot which includes 2GB of data for less than $20 a month.

With FreedomPop it is difficult to say exactly how much you will be paying a month. You can wind up spending anywhere from nothing to $30 a month if you opt-in to all their addable service such as rollover data and 3G fallback. You also have to do a bit of research before choosing which cheap cell service or WiFi hotspot you decide to purchase. This is because the FreedomPop website makes it hard for you to compare all the devices. Use Slickdeals or FatWallet to find the best deal their running. This all said, if you are living in a Sprint 4G network location then FreedomPop is a must.

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