FreedomPop launches a cheap phone to go with its free SIM

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Well, this is unexpected. FreedomPop has unveiled its own Android phone today, for the darn-cheap-but-not-quite-free price of £59. The new FreedomPop V7 runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor, 1GB of RAM and a 2,100mAh battery. Not the best components, but respectable ones given the asking price. From the front it looks like a typical low-end handset, with less than stellar bezels and three capacitive touch buttons underneath the display. Flip the phone over, however, and you’ll find a slick aluminium frame and what looks like a skateboard-style grip tape finish on the back — we’re getting some serious OnePlus One vibes here.

Front and centre is a 5-inch, 720p IPS LCD display, which will serve up Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) out of the box. There’s no word on software updates (a Nougat release seems unlikely) though it does appear to run a close to stock version of Android. A 13-megapixel camera sits on the back, while a 5-megapixel selfie snapper hangs out on the front. The phone comes with 16GB of internal storage, and while there is a microSD slot, it only supports cards up to 32GB. Clearly, FreedomPop hasn’t built this phone itself — the company won’t tell us who it’s partnered with, however.

The point of the phone, of course, is to be a vessel for FreedomPop’s SIM card, which offers 200 minutes, 200 messages and 200MB for free every month. You might be wondering how the company makes money: Well, it has four Premium plans too, which range from £4.99 to £19.99 per month.

Curiously, the FreedomPop V7 has a dual-SIM card slot, and isn’t restricted to FreedomPop plans. That means you can use another SIM card with the phone, or switch your FreedomPop SIM to another handset whenever you like. The phone itself, then, feels more like a marketing stunt then a genuine hardware push. Indeed, the phone is only available in the UK and Spain, and in limited quantities. If you’re keen, it’ll be available starting today from "on a first come first serve basis."