Frequent travelers to Europe have yet another roaming data provider to consider, and this one has a pretty strong value proposition — it’s (mostly) free. FreedomPop, home of the free (if very limited) wireless service, is rolling out a global SIM card/hotspot combination that customers can buy to get 200 MB per month of 3G/4G data at no cost.
Getting started won’t be free — the hotspot costs $50 and the SIM card costs $10 — but frequent travelers should be able to make that back by not having to pay anything to get data while roaming. Similar to other data roaming services with unified SIM cards, this SIM/hotspot combination automatically connects to partner networks in individual countries once you cross over borders. And, like those other services, it probably won’t work perfectly well all the time. Still, if you just need a little extra data to check email and Facebook while abroad (don’t forget to turn off auto-play on videos!), $60 plus free monthly service seems worth looking into.
Right now, FreedomPop’s global service is available in the U.S and 24 European countries, with a number of countries in Latin America and Asia (plus South Africa) joining the ranks soon. FreedomPop’s 200 MB of free data can be accessed in any of those partner countries, although data speed should be expected to fluctuate by country and network. If 200 MB isn’t going to be enough (and it admittedly won’t be for most), FreedomPop at least makes pricing pretty simple — $10 per additional 500 MB.
FreedomPop is in the process of making their service and the SIM/hotspot combo available, but you can sign up for email updates about availability on their new global site.