FreedomPop, a soon-to-launch mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) focusing solely on data, reached an agreement with Sprint to resell its 3G and 4G data access. The deal will allow FreedomPop to trade up on its agreement with Clearwire, exchanging its limited 72-market WiMAX footprint for Sprint’s eventual near-nationwide LTE coverage.
VP of marketing Tony Miller said that FreedomPop still plans to launch late this summer or in early fall with Clearwire-powered WiMAX modems and its even more anticipated WiMAX sleeve, which fits over the iPhone 4 and 4S. “We’re going to launch with Clearwire, but we’ll be live with Sprint by the end of the year,” Miller said.
At that point FreedomPop plans to offer tri-mode WiMAX-LTE-CDMA modems and sleeves, but as Sprint’s LTE network nears completion in 2013, it will begin phasing out WiMAX radios and rely solely on its Sprint network. Miller said FreedomPop may revisit the Clearwire deal in 2013 if the carrier can launch its own LTE network as planned, but even then Clearwire has only committed to the same limited LTE footprint it currently covers with WiMAX.
What’s astonishing is that Sprint is throwing the gates of its LTE network wide open to wholesale partners shortly after it launches next week. Typically, operators keep their latest and greatest technologies for themselves – it took years before most carriers started offering MVNOs access to their 3G networks. But according to Miller, Sprint isn’t just being liberal with its network, it’s also being flexible in its pricing policies.