iPad mini, Samsung LTE tablets get free phone service; next up, free Internet services

July 31, 2014

Amongt the latest “free” trends are phone calls on your tablet and a bevy of free Internet services being made available to third world countries.

A company called FreedomPop now offers discounted LTE models of the iPad mini and Samsung Tab 3 tablet with free data, text and voice (phone) capabilities.

The company says you’ll be able to associate will be able to associate a unique phone number with any FreedomPop tablet and make free calls and texts.

“The line between smartphones and tablets continues to blur,” says Steven Sesar, FreedomPop Co-Founder and COO. “As a result, people want to use the device they’re most comfortable with, in a way that is most useful to them. We felt it was important to offer an expanded FreedomPop tablet experience by including telephony, and not just to enable calls but also for using apps like WhatsApp or Uber that require a device phone number to integrate seamlessly.”

FreedomPop sells the iPad mini for $319 and the Samsung Tab 3 for $199.

If you already have an LTE tablet, FreedomPop offers the same deal 500 MBs of LTE data, 200 voice minutes and 500 texts for free.

One of FreedomPop’s backers is Skype Founder Niklas Zennstom’s Atomico.

(For news, trends and insights about the the tablet market, sign up for the free Tablet Business/Productivity Update newsletter)

Facebook and free Internet services

Meanwhile, Facebook and Internet.org have announced a plan to provide free basic Internet services in emerging markets.

As a start, the free Internet.org app will provide free basic Internet services to Airtel subscribers in Zambia with plans to roll the service out to other parts of the world.

Airtel subscribers in Zambia and we’ll continue to improve the experience and roll it out to other parts of the world.

"With this app, people can browse a set of useful health, employment and local information services without data charges," Guy Rosen, a product manager at Facebook said in a blog post. "By providing free basic services via the app, we hope to bring more people online and help them discover valuable services they might not have otherwise."

The initial list of free apps and services available includes: 



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