Wireless internet and mobile phone service provider FreedomPop is now working with Intel to launch a a “WiFi-first” smartphone in 2016.
The phone aims to come with free cellular service and use Intel’s Sofia Atom x3 processors. For texts, calls, and data connections, it will prioritize the use of WiFi instead of mobile data, but it will have the capacity to switch between these data services.
FreedomPop currently maintains almost 9 million WiFi hotspots in the U.S. When asked about the state of WiFi compared to mobile data, founder and CEO of the company Stephen Stokols said, “Carriers spend billions of dollars building out the LTE network, but 90% of mobile downloads are over WiFi and 10% on cellular networks,” as quoted by Forbes.
“Ultimately, the consumer is paying $50 to $120 for that 10% of the time they need that LTE data connection.”
Though the identity of the phone manufacturer is still unannounced, FreedomPop is planning to helm the sales and distribution of the product, thereby becoming the company’s flagship in the future. Stokols also revealed Intel’s eagerness to work with the company for the sake of penetrating the almost impenetrable mobile market. In a phone interview with Re/code, Stokols said, “It may mean more to Intel than it does to FreedomPop in some respects.”
On the other hand, general manager of Intel’s phone business Sam Spangler said in a statement, “We look forward to working jointly with FreedomPop in improving the customer’s Wi-Fi-first experience via this new smartphone utilizing FreedomPop’s Wi-Fi network.”
FreedomPop and Intel’s smartphone plans is similar to that of Google’s Project Fi, which aims to provide users its own mobile virtual network operator via the Nexus 6 phones. Currently, Project Fi customers are expected to pay $20 for unlimited calls and texts, and $10 for one gigabyte worth of data.