VoIP Business and Virtual PBX

Turn the iPod Touch into an iPhone

Free data, a 4G sleeve that wraps around the iPod touch, and a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) client — FreedomPop now has all of the pieces for a full-fledged mobile service even though its technically just a data-only mobile virtual network operator.

FreedomPop isn't just connecting iPhones to 4G. As we have before reported, it plans to connect iPod touches as then, which - with the help of a VoIP client - will effectively turn them into iPhones. On Tuesday it began taking pre-orders for a $99 WiMAX sleeve that will amp up the by and large Wi-Fi-only Touch with mobile broadband connectivity.

IPhone sleeve back in March

FreedomPop first announced plans to offer an iPhone sleeve back in March and since at the time it has been by degree releasing details of its innovative business strategy. The all-data mobile virtual network operator will resell first Clearwire's WiMAX and next Sprint's CDMA and LTE (Long Term Evolution, latest standard in the mobile network technology) data services, however only afterwards customers use up their monthly allotment of free data.

Subscribers start off with 500 MB of free mobile broadband and will be able to increase that total to 1 GB either by trading unused megabytes with friends or earning more data by referring clients and buying value-added services from FreedomPop. Only afterwards customers exceed their accrued free allotment, do they start paying for access, starting a rate of one cent per megabyte. The virtual carrier hasn't but revealed what all of those services will be, even though VP of Marketing Tony Miller has confirmed to GigaOM that one of them will all the same be a VoIP.

That voice service is key because it allows FreedomPop to behave like a full-fledged mobile carrier although it's technically a data-only MVNO. The sleeves it sells for the iPhone and iPod touch are in essence mobile hotspots that double as extra battery packs. They connect multiple devices to 4G including the devices it attaches to, nevertheless FreedomPop doesn't control the iDevices themselves. In order to get voice services for the iPhone, clients would have to sign up with another carrier or use the iPhone as a data-only device with a VoIP service - that is, use the iPhone as an expensive iPod touch.

Kevin covers mobile broadband, carriers and wireless infrastructure for GigaOM. He has been writing about wireless networks and innovation for 11 years, working first at Telephony Magazine and its online successor Connected Planet. Kevin spent his early career at several small Texas newspapers. He made the shift to tech writing...

More information: Gigaom
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    Voip Only Iphone