FreedomPop joins the ranks of carriers offering limited “unlimited” data plans

Since it launched two years ago, FreedomPop has been moving beyond its original freemium mobile broadband concept. It moved away from iPhone(s aapl) sleeves and mobile hotspots to start selling smartphones and voice services. Now FreedomPop is adopting what has become an old standby among budget mobile carriers: The unlimited data plan that really isn’t unlimited.

FreedomPop on Thursday launched a new $20-a-month smartphone plan called Unlimited Everything for its new line of LTE phones. It comes with all-you-can eat voice and text and 1 GB of LTE data. Once that gigabyte of 4G data is used up, speeds are throttled back to 3G levels for the remainder of the billing period. It’s a format many other smartphone driven mobile virtual network operators like Straight Talk and H20 Wireless and even major carriers like T-Mobile(s tmus) have adopted.

Photo: Flickr / Wesley Fryer

Photo: Flickr / Wesley Fryer

To FreedomPop’s credit, at $20 it’s selling its limited unlimited plan at a far cheaper price than most carriers. FreedomPop is also offering a feature that other carriers aren’t offering on their buffet plans: unrestricted tethering. You can use your phone as a mobile hotspot as much as you like with the plan, but tethered devices will also have their speed throttled once you hit your 4G data cap.

FreedomPop today also announced the first batch of LTE Android(s goog) phones it’s selling directly to customers: the Samsung Victory, Galaxy S3, and the Galaxy S4. Last month it began selling the iPhone 5 and supporting older iPhone models. FreedomPop also revealed that its over-the-top communications app – which allows you to access FreedomPop’s voice and messaging network on other carriers – is now available in Google Play for Android phones.

This post was updated at 9:30 AM to correct information on FreedomPop’s tethering policies for the new Everything Unlimited plan.