FreedomPop Moto E2 & free Sprint LTE cellular data review 2016
get a Moto E2 smartphone for $29.99 and 1GB* of FREE Sprint LTE cellular data every month (is this too good to be true?)

My $29.99 FreedomPop Moto E2 LTE smartphone
 

FreedomPop Moto E2 with free Sprint LTE cellular data
Rating: 5/5 by Steve
Last Updated: May 23, 2017

note: FreedomPop has THREE different services. It's important to understand the difference between the three services so you don't order the wrong phone, hotspot, or sim card. (#1) FreedomPop has been selling smartphones and hotspots with free Sprint LTE data since 2013. (#2) FreedomPop started selling a GLOBAL GSM sim (and hotspots) in 2016. And (#3) FreedomPop just started selling a new LTE GSM sim (and hotspots). All three services have a free monthly plan which includes 200 voice minutes and 500 texts, but the amount of free data is different. The (#1) Sprint-based services have a free plan with 500mb of domestic Sprint LTE data. The (#2) Global sim service has a free plan with 200mb of "global" 3G+ data. The new (#3) LTE sim service has a free plan with 200mb of domestic AT&T LTE data. All three services allow you to get up to 500mb more free data every month by adding FreedomPop friends. I have used, tested, and reviewed all three services, and they each have their pros and cons. The key is to understand the differences between the three services so you can make sure you are ordering what you think you are ordering!

My FreedomPop Reviews:
#1. FreedomPop Sprint LTE (CDMA) smartphones (and hotspots) Moto E2 Review 2016 (this review, below)
#2. FreedomPop GLOBAL GSM sim Review 2016
#3. FreedomPop AT&T Nationwide 4G LTE sim Review 2017 (brand new, highly recommended)

How to Order the FreedomPop Moto E2 and/or other Sprint-LTE-data FreedomPop Smartphones

Since I bought my FreedomPop Moto E2 and wrote this review (December 2016), the price of the FreedomPop "Certified Pre-owned" (refurbished) Moto E2 smartphone has gone back to $39.99. You can order it for $39.99 on the FreedomPop website online store. I think it's still a great deal at $39.99, and still highly recommend it.

3/30/17 update - the $29.99 FreedomPop Moto E2 LTE smartphone special offer is back! You can order it here. When you order, you may also get an offer for a second Moto E2 phone for $19.99.

FreedomPop currently has another special offer $29.99 Sprint LTE-data smartphone, the $29.99 Huawei Union LTE smartphone. I don't know much about the Huawei Union, but it has the following specs: a 4.5" screen, an 5MB camera (no flash and no selfie camera), 1GB RAM, 8GB memory (plus a microSD slot that accepts up to 32GB), and a 2000mA removable battery, and it was originally sold in the US by Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile. I personally like Motorola phones, so if the Moto E2 offer is available, I'd probably go for it, otherwise, the Huawei Union is probably a decent little budget smartphone, and for $29 bucks, there isn't much risk so you may want to try it out.

FreedomPop also has a variety of other more expensive Sprint-LTE-data smartphones on their online store. FreedomPop smartphones use Sprint for coverage, and you get 500mb of free Sprint LTE cellular data very month (or 1GB with 10 FreedomPop friends) plus 200 free voice minutes and 500 free texts per month when you use your free FreedomPop phone number with the FreedomPop app. All of their phones also work on wifi.

When you start the offer/ordering process, make sure you enter a correct email. The email address you enter will be used to set up your FreedomPop account, and your temporary account password will be emailed to it, as well as your tracking number when your order ship. So double-check that you have entered your correct email address. Also remember, after you order your phone and before your one-month free trial is over (the one month trial starts when your phone ships), you will want to downgrade your PLAN and your SERVICE to free per my detailed instructions below.

Review Contents:
1. Background:
2. The Moto E (2nd Gen LTE), aka "Moto E2" smartphone:
3. The FREEDOMPOP DIAGNOSTICS App:
4. The free Sprint LTE cellular data:
5. The FreedomPop free talk and text app (200 free minutes, 500 free texts):
6. How To Downgrade Your PLAN and SERVICE (to insure your phone service is COMPLETELY FREE)
7. How to get an extra 500mb of free data every month (1GB total)
8. Why and How is FreedomPop giving away free service? What's the catch?
9. Conclusion

Background:
I first heard about FreedomPop a few years ago when I was looking for a new cellular service provider, but I didn't consider them because I didn't trust that a "free" service could really be free, and figured there must be a catch or the service must be bad. Instead I ended up at Republic Wireless, where for over two years we've had great, cheap, reliable cell service. We still have three phones with Republic Wireless (my wife, my daughter, and my son), and I highly recommend Republic. That said, this fall I needed to get a new phone (and number) for myself, and I decided to try the FreedomPop GLOBAL GSM sim, and see how (and if) their free phone service worked. As I cover in my FreedomPop GLOBAL GSM sim review, the service actually worked, and was actually free! After a few months, I decided to try getting a FreedomPop Sprint smartphone. I didn't really need it, but their Moto E2 was on sale for $29.99, and I knew I could get 1GB of free Sprint LTE data per month on it. I use Google Voice/Hangouts for my phone number, and I figured (correctly) I could have my Google Voice number ring on both my ZTE ZMax2 (with a FreedomPop GSM sim providing AT&T/TMobile data) and this new FreedomPop Moto E2 with Sprint LTE data. Well, I've had the Moto E2 for over a month now, and just like the FreedomPop GSM sim service, it really does work, and it really is free (after you pay for the phone). With FreedomPop, if you are able to pay attention and know what you're doing, you really can get free smartphone service, either with their GSM global sim or with their Sprint (CDMA) smartphones, which I will cover in this review.


My monthly FreedomPop bill... $0. It really is free service.

The Moto E (2nd Gen LTE), aka "Moto E2" smartphone:
The first thing I've got to say is that although the FreedomPop Moto E2 is "certified Pre-owned" (aka refurbished, aka used), as far as I could tell, the Moto E2 I received seemed brand new. The phone was clean with absolutely no marks on it at all. Two thumbs up to FreedomPop. Everything works and the battery seems great.
Specs: The Moto E2 is a good budget 4.5" smartphone. It isn't fancy, and it isn't very big (by today's standards). It has a decent 4.5" screen, with good image quality. It has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, but you can add a MicroSD card (up to 32GB). It has a 5MB camera. It reminds me a lot of our three Moto G smartphones (same size, very similar specs) that we still use today. Now that I also have a larger 5.5" ZTE ZMax2, I prefer the larger screen size for around the house, but would grab the Moto E2 if I want a smaller phone when I'm out and about and mainly need to just text and check emails.

The FreedomPop Diagnostics app on the FreedomPop Moto E2 allows you to test various phone systems and components to make sure they work properly, and also provides troubleshooting help and access to the phones settings and information. The FreedomPop Moto E2 has a 2390mAh lithium-ion battery. I fully charged the phone and then left it on wifi overnight. The next morning the estimated remaining battery charge was 10 days left.


The FREEDOMPOP DIAGNOSTICS App:
One very cool thing about the phone is that FreedomPop includes their FreedomPop Diagnostics app on it. The app show you the phone information and has troubleshooting help, and also has a TEST section, an ACTION section, and a FACTS section. The FACTS section gives you all the phone specs and details, the ACTION section is basically the same as Android Settings and allows you to change your various phone setttings, and the TEST section allows you to test the various phone functions, including the speaker, microphone, display touch sensor, and battery. I tested everything and everything worked. The display touch sensor test is cool because it creates a grid on the entire display and you touch each little square to confirm all of the display screen senses and responds to your touch. I also tested the battery and it showed it was good, but then I did my own test to confirm. I fully charged the phone and then left it sitting overnight. In the morning I checked and the battery was at 95% and showed 10 days of use left. I was satisfied, as my major concern with buying a "used" phone is that the battery doesn't have much life left. In this case, the phone was essentially never used, or the battery was replaced. I'm guessing the phone was really never used, but if you buy a "Certified Pre-owned" FreedomPop smartphone, it's nice knowing that as soon as you get it, you can use their diagnostics app to check all of the phone systems and functions, including the battery.

The free Sprint LTE cellular data:
The Sprint LTE cellular data is blazing fast. I tested it with SpeedNet, and got 26.58Mbps download and 4.56Mbps upload. It's about five times as fast as my home wifi data speeds. We're perfectly happy with our home wifi connection, so the LTE speed is a bit of overkill for us. At least for us, it's super fast. It also can burn through a lot of cellular data if you're not careful. I forgot to take a screenshot the first time I ran the SpeedTest test, so I ran it again. When I checked my cellular data use, I believe the two tests ate through 62mb of data! So be careful. Having access to super fast LTE data means you can burn through it much faster, depending on what you are doing. As for the Sprint signal strength around town, at home, I consistently get an LTE Sprint signal, while around town, some places I get LTE, and other places are 3G.

FreedomPop Sprint LTE data speed
26.58Mbps down, 4.56Mbps up

my home wife data speed
5.64Mbps down, 1.57Mbps up


The FreedomPop free talk and text app:
I tested the app a few times to make calls and send a few texts, and it worked. But I'm using Google Voice and Hangouts, which I prefer.

How To Downgrade Your PLAN and SERVICE (to insure your phone service is COMPLETELY FREE)
When you buy the FreedomPop phone, you agree to a free one month trial of their service. After the one month trial is over, you will be billed for the service (typically about $27 per month) unless you downgrade to the free service. But if you downgrade, then your ongoing service is free. The key is to realize that you are signed up for a paid PLAN and a paid SERVICE, and you need to downgrade BOTH (your plan and your service). The way you downgrade is the same as with the FreedomPop GSM sim kit. The "30 day free trial" starts when your phone ships (not when you get it). You can downgrade anytime, and I recommend doing it sooner rather than later.
 FIRST - DOWNGRADE YOUR PLAN:
   > Go to "My Account > Plans". You should see that you have the "Global 1GB Unlimited" plan for $19.99/mo
   > Find and click on the link "Details and Plan Management"
   > Then click on "To downgrade your plan, click here"
   > You will get the following warning screen: "Warning: you are about to downgrade your plan. By downgrading your plan, if you are on a trial, you will lose all additional minutes/messages/data. Any usage incurred above your new plan limits will incur additional charges."
   > Click "Downgrade anyway". You will need to click on a couple more screens and enter your password to confirm your decision.
  > Please understand how FreedomPop works: Before you downgrade, if you have already used more than the free amount of data (500mb or 1GB if you've added 10 FreedomPop friends), stop using data and wait a day or two to downgrade your plan. It can take up to two days for data to get reported, and any data usage that gets reported after you downgrade from the free trial that is over your free plan limit will result in charges. To be safe, just downgrade your plan right away and/or before you use very much data.

 SECOND - DOWNGRADE YOUR SERVICES:
 > Go to "My Account > Service". You should see that you have the "FreedomPop Premium Plus" service for $7.99/mo
 >  Click on the "View Details" button.
 > At the bottom of the next page, you will see "To deactivate the FreedomPop Premium Plus service, click here"
 > click the link to deactivate the service. You will need to click on a couple more screens to confirm your decision and decline any other service. You will eventually get the message, "YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY DOWNGRADED".

 THIRD - DISABLE AUTOMATIC TOP-UP (optional, costs $5)
  After you have downgraded your plan to the free plan, and deactivated the Premium Plus service, your account is now FREE. However, there is one more thing to understand. You are subscribed to "Automatic Data Top Off", and if you get within 100mb of your monthly data limit, FreedomPop will automatically sell you $15 worth of data. If you don't want to be automatically sold more data, you need to disable the "Automatic Top Up" feature as follows:
 > Go to "Billing > Billing Settings". You will see that Automatic Top-up is ENABLED.
 > Click on EDIT. When you uncheck the box, you will get the following message: "Because actual data usage may be delayed by up to 3 hours, to protect ourselves from fraud and leakage, you must have at least $5.00 in credits to turn off Auto-top up."
 > If you click "OK" to disable the Automatic Top-Up, you will be charged $5 and you will get a $5 credit on your account. After you've disabled Automatic Top-up, anytime you get within 100mb of your monthly free data limit (after your $5 credit is used), the data for your account will then get turned off and your account will be suspended until the start of your next billing period. I recommend spending the $5 and turning off the automatic top-up feature. You can also set a monthly cellular data limit on your android (match the cycle to your FreedomPop billing cycle). When you set the monthly limit on your phone, you can set up a warning level and then a hard stop level for data.


How to get an extra 500mb of free data every month (1GB total)
Once you've downgraded to the free plan, you'll get 500mb of free Sprint cellular data every month.
You can get another 500mb of data by adding 10 "FreedomPop Friends" to your account. You will get an extra 50mb of data for every "FreedomPop Friend" that you add to your account, up to 10 friends or 500mb max. Any FreedomPop account (with it's own email) can be a "friend", so a person with three accounts can be three friends. Once you add a friend, you get the 50mb bonus data every month. So after you get to 10 friends, you don't really need to keep adding friends, though you may want to add a few more in case any of the "friends" close their accounts. As long as your "friends" have active accounts, you'll get the bonus data every month. You can also friend yourself if you have multiple accounts (i.e. a phone and two GSM sim kits). Each of your accounts can friend each other. Just remember if you're setting up multiple accounts, each account requires its own email address. If you leave a comment below, I'll send you a FreedomPop Friend request. In addition, if you go to the end of this thread at SlickDeals, you'll find people who have just joined FreedomPop and have posted their email addresses which you can use to send them a friend request.
If you're really motivated and want even more free data, you can also buy up to five FreedomPop GSM sim kits (often only 99 cents each) and set up a separate account for each sim (I have four GSM sims and thus four accounts). Each of these accounts can share 100mb of data to another account (up to 500mb max of shared data). Thus, if you had five additional accounts, you could share 500mb to your phone account. Thus you could have 500mb (free) + 500mb (via friends) + 500mb (shared) = 1.5GB total.

Why and How is FreedomPop giving away free service? What's the catch?
I didn't bother trying FreedomPop for a long time because I figured there was no way they could provide free phone service. I was pretty sure there must be a catch. I now realize I was looking at it wrong. FreedomPop isn't giving away free phone service... they are giving away free trials. Like any other business, they must (eventually) make money to stay in business, and they won't make money if they just give away free service. So they are giving away free trials (which you can downgrade to free service if you know how to follow instructions) to get more customers and build their market share. They are anticipating that some of these new customers will decide to continue with or change to one of the FreedomPop PAID plans or services (ie. for higher data limits, data roll over, premium voice service, or a variety of other paid services). They've determined that the best way for them to get lots of new customers (and hopefully some paying customers) is by offering free trials. They may also expect that some people won't pay attention, and will forget to downgrade their plan, or will only downgrade their PLAN and not their SERVICE. I have to admit that FreedomPop doesn't make it super easy to downgrade to the free service, but at the same time, it also isn't all that hard. I think a lot most of the negative reviews of FreedomPop that I've seen are by people who sign up but then don't pay attention and/or who don't correctly downgrade both their PLAN and their SERVICE, and then are "surprised" and angry when they get an "unexpected" charge on their credit card. I've had five different FreedomPop accounts for several months, and have never received any unexpected charges. But I can see how some people who don't pay attention could end up with "unexpected" charges. So the only real catch with FreedomPop is that you have to pay attention and downgrade both your PLAN and your SERVICE before your free trial is over, and you have to either set a cellular data limit on your phone so you don't go over your free data limit, or pay the nominal $5 credit and turn off auto-top off.

Conclusion
The FreedomPop Moto E (2nd Gen LTE) smartphone with free Sprint LTE data is a great little budget smartphone. It works, and the Sprint cellular data works. For $29.99, I think it is a fantastic budget smartphone data. There is almost no risk to try it, as FreedomPop has a 30 day money back guarantee. If you downgrade your PLAN and your service, the monthly service really is free. The phone works great on wifi, and you get 500mb of Sprint LTE cellular data (or 1GB if you add some FreedomPop Friends).

I recommend that you get one and try it out. It seems like a perfect backup and/or emergency phone. It's also a great "first phone" for a kid or teenager where you're concerned with they breaking or loosing the phone. Because I have a Google Voice number that I can have ring on multiple phones, I have it ring on my larger 5.5" ZTE Zmax2 (with a FreedomPop GSM sim) and also on my FreedomPop (Sprint) Moto E2. This way both phones ring (increasing the odds of me hearing at least one of them when I'm home) and I can decide which one I want to take with me when I go out.

Again, the FreedomPop Moto E2 smartphone works and the service really is free. If you're looking for a backup phone or a phone for your kids, this is a great option to consider. Even if you're not, why not get one and have it available if you ever need it? Having an extra working smartphone around that doesn't cost anything seems like a good idea to me. If you do buy one, leave me a comment below with your email address and I'll send you a FreedomPop Friend request to get you some more free monthly data.

 

Comments / Questions / Feedback:

Comment by Channel 2012 on Wednesday, December 28, 2016
I recently picked one of these up as a Christmas gift for a family member and am very impressed so far. For the price, it's a very competent little smartphone (way better than those cheap Tracfones from ZTE and Huwei, which are often even more expensive).
The only issue I've noticed so far is that there is a setting in the dialer ("assisted dialing", or something along those lines) which is enabled by default that will prevent "premium voice" calls from working, as it appends extra numbers before the telephone number that was dialed. When this happens, the call will connect, but one will just hear an error message from Sprint (something like "the number or code you have dialed is incorrect"). I tried doing the Profile reset and stuff, but this actually created new problems, with data being slow to register, or not even working at all. After doing it a couple more times, I was finally able to get things back to how they were before. Then, I sifted through the settings and disabled that assisted dialing feature, (in the stock dialer) which caused outbound calls to start working immediately.
Now, everything works perfectly whether using VoIP or premium voice, both inbound and outbound. I'll check back in if anything changes, but I suspect that this is going to be a real winner.
TL;DR Disable the "assisted dialing" feature inside of the stock dialer to get outbound calls to work without the "number or code you have dialed is incorrect" error.

Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Thanks for your comment. I appreciate you sharing your experience and suggestions! When I first got my FreedomPop Moto E2, I just confirmed the FreedomPop app worked for making calls and sending texts, but since then have been using hangouts with a Google Voice number. I'll have to open up and check the dialer to see if I have the same setting and can duplicate your findings.

Comment by Sue on Sunday, March 19, 2017
Your reviews are fantastic, so complete and clear! I just want to mention that I ordered the $29.99 Kyocera Hydro, and after the order processed and I chose a phone number, they offered me an add-on Huawei Union for $19.99. Not that I need another phone, but if nothing else, I can use it for streaming music sometimes. With friends, each of the phones should end up with about 900 Meg usable data each month.

Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Sue, Thanks for your comment. When I ordered my Moto E2 for $29.99, I was offered a second Moto E2 for $19.99. I didn't know much about FreedomPop then, so I skipped the second offer. I now wish I'd gotten the second phone. I don't need it, but it was only 20 bucks! Oh well. You are correct that after you add friends, each phone will have about 900mb of usable data each month. Please make sure you downgrade the plan and the service on both phones, and I recommend checking the "account overview" page after you downgrade to double check and make sure you are fully downgraded. Good luck and enjoy your new phones! And thanks again for commenting!

Comment by Tim on Thursday, April 06, 2017
Hi, I've had several freedom pop phones for several years and with close and watchful management, they can indeed be free. I did find some drawbacks and just want to see if anyone else had the same issues. One big drawback is it seems that the phone must be connected over WiFi when it first powers up in order to work, then it can switch to 4g when you leave the WiFi area. I've been out with my kids and had to reboot the phone or a battery die, and upon starting the phone back up if I am not near WiFi I cannot get the phone to register/authenticate and therefore it is a brick until I can get back to WiFi. Does anyone else have this issue?

Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Tim, I've never had the issue you describe. I just tested my Moto E2. I powered it off, then turned off my home wifi, and then powered my phone up again. It only had access to the Sprint LTE data, but powered up and registered and authenticated. I got the standard message saying "FreedomPop SetUp Complete" and it told me what my number was. I then opened the FreedomPop Messaging app and successfully sent a text. So I'm not having the problem you appear to have, and I'm not sure why it might be happening. Let me know if you figure it out. Thanks for commenting. 

 

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