Cablevision’s mobile service Freewheel has begun offering customers all the data and calls they want–so long as they are within range of Wi-Fi. Now we find out whether we’ve set expectations of constant connectivity that we can’t roll back, even for cheaper phone bills.
Freewheel was announced last month as a budget monthly mobile plan–the first non-cellular plan from a major telecommunications company. For $30 a month (or $10 a month if already a Cablevision Optimum Internet subscriber), users get unlimited calls and data through Wi-Fi. A big catch: Freewheel users are currently restricted to using only Motorola’s second-generation Moto G Android phone, which comes programmed to tap into Cablevision’s 1.1 million hotspots in the greater New York City metropolitan area.
Cablevision’s Wi-Fi hotspots are likely the company’s best leg up over cheaper Wi-Fi-only plans offered by Republic Wireless. The hotspots offer a potential blanket of Internet coverage to make the gaps between Wi-Fi routers more bearable–and certainly less of a headache than wrestling with password-protected routers (or worse, vulnerable public routers).
But the greater question will be whether folks can stand not having constant access to their Internet-connected apps and messaging. Plans like Republic Wireless’s higher tiers that fall back on a cellular network between Wi-Fi might beat out Freewheel’s Wi-Fi-only plan if customers end up frustrated with the complete lack of cellular options. And a further deflating of Freewheel’s balloon: Its ads trumpet “unlimited data,” but you already get unlimited data so long as you get it the same way Freewheel customers will: through Wi-Fi.
[via Engadget ]