FreedomPop brings its freemium 4G model to the home

Updated. FreedomPop isn’t content with experimenting in the mobile broadband space. It wants to test its free bandwidth model in the residential ISP space as well. The newly minted virtual operator will begin selling a home broadband service in January, giving 1 GB of data for free each month to each customer.

The service will look almost identical to the mobile service, which awards each customer 500 MB for free and incentives to earn and trade megabytes through social networking and promotional programs, FreedomPop Stephen Stokols said. The residential service will use Clearwire’s(s clwr) WiMAX network initially, making it available in larger cities covering about one-third of the U.S. population. It will link into the same social features and eventually host the same value-added services such as VoIP, Stokols added.

The key differences will be that residential customers will receive a more powerful stationary modem called the Hub Burst, get access to bigger pool of free data and pay cheaper data rates once they consume that free allotment. In fact, Stokols said FreedomPop plans to increase the size of the bucket of free data it gives its mobile customers beyond 500 MB. We’ll have to wait until next month, though, to see the new pricing and policy details on both the residential and mobile service, Stokols said.

Update: FreedomPop began taking pre-orders for the $89 Hub Burst on its website Wednesday though it still hasn’t released any additional service plan details.

Why residential broadband? Stokols said it’s a market just screaming for a low-price alternative. By FreedomPop’s calculations the typical residential DSL or cable user consumes less than 6 GB of month, but still pays the same $50 or more a month as power users. “We can provide a meaningful broadband plan for around $10 a month for that user,” Stokols said.

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock user alexmillos