After a long wait, FreedomPop is now shipping the iPod Touch 4G Sleeve.
The sleeve can be attached to any fourth-generation iPod Touch, and allows you to connect to the firm's 4G network and make free calls via Skype and any other voice-over-IP application. Users can connect to 4G anywhere that is on the startup's 4G coverage map -- including the East Coast, Florida and California.
Currently, a sleeve-equipped iPod Touch can stream video, make VoIP calls, and serve as a hot spot for up to eight devices. The startup began taking preorders in May for the $99 sleeve, with 500MB of free data included as standard.
That's not a huge amount, certainly, but enough to check e-mail, browse the Web and make the occasional phone call.
However, data hogs can boost their data allowance to 1GB per month by referring friends, gaining an extra 10MB per month for each sign-up. The data limit can also be raised to 5GB by "engaging in partner offers and promotions," according to FreedomPop's Web site.
"Until today, the iPod touch has been a Wi-Fi only device. As of today, consumers can now receive fast and free Internet for their iPod on-the-go," said Mauricio Sastre, VP of product at FreedomPop. "By leveraging a VoIP app such as Skype, the iPod touch essentially becomes a carrier-free option that allows consumers to enjoy an iPhone-like experience without signing contracts or paying monthly fees."
Recently, the startup said its overall plan is to give every American the chance to get online for free. After the launch of a, consumers in the United States can now connect to the 4G network through a Photon mobile hotspot or a Bolt USB dongle. After making a small deposit, the user gets access to 500MB of data a month without monthly billing.
FreedomPop coverage is currently limited to the area covered by Clearwire's WiMax network for now, but the company plans to move to the Sprint LTE network next year, which will expand the availability of its service.
FreedomPop was founded in 2011, and is backed by Mangrove Capital, DCM, and Skype Founder Niklas Zennstom's Atomico.