In fair disclosure, I wasn't a certified FreedomPop beta tester, that's just what their documentation called all of us testing the service.
My first experience with FreedomPop was using a WiMax router, not a mobile phone. I believe it was called the "Hub Burst" device. I purchased it in June of 2014 for $89, and it provided 10GB of service per month for $23.99. I'll still be a FreedomPop customer for at least another 12 months from writing this article (more below).
Over several months, I decided to swap my main device to a 3G/4G hotspot, a WiMax Mifi. I decided to change my "Hub Burst" plan to the free 1GB plan. I believe this was the end of the free 1GB plans (although there were ways to get close to 1GB using the Friends feature, which I'm not covering here.)
I purchased a FreedomPop Spot Refurb for $29.99, and a plan of 2GB per month for $19.99. I actually really liked this device. I was able to use it for several years, although I had to move up to an LTE hotspot eventually, and placed this in a "$3.99"/month legacy 3G mode.
My first FreedomPop phone was a ZTE Force. It was slow and had virtually no memory. It was a $20 refurb, and I had it on the $19.99 1GB plan for several months, before switching it to the free 500MB plan. I'm not sure how I survived this as my "only" phone in my pocket, but I'm guessing it's because I just used Wi-fi anywhere possible, and linking it into my FreedomPop Spot.
Tinkering with the Services features and Plans features within the My.FreedomPop area was actually a lot of fun. I finally settled on the Netgear Unite Hotspot as my favorite Hotspot, and the Kyocera Hydro Icon as my favorite phone. The Hotspot still functions with AT&T MVNO sims (I've tried TracFone, and later UNREAL, which I recommend from an actual use level, although their my.UnrealMobile site, while similiar to My.FreedomPop is still more buggy than I'd like it to be.)
I probably spent close to $1,500 over device costs and service costs with FreedomPop over the 5 years I had used it. It did, however, shrink my bills, although it was never my only phone service (but at many times, it was my only -Internet- service, although having to pay $3.99/month on legacy devices, and there was never maybe more than a month I paid nothing.)
Seeing the writing on the wall several months before the sale of FreedomPop, I purchased an unlocked Android phone through another vendor. It's compatible with both GSM and CDMA sims, so I can choose almost anything, and I'm undecided if I'll be using FreedomPop (or UNREAL) as the service. I did buy the $149 12-month 5GB/month SIM from BestBuy for $120'ish before they sold out, as I'm looking forward to seeing how the final FreedomPop product ends up, and at around $15 a month for 5GB, although not unlimited, is still worth the exciting conclusion to five years of fun!
Yes, timing the cancellation correctly to not be billed after the Promo month was annoying. Dropping to a Free Plan was also annoying, especially when you had to top up $20 (or technically, $10 if you knew the loops!) if you didn't want to cancel. But I still never paid anywhere close to $50 a month for mobile phone service from the other plans I had been looking at 3-4 years ago.
My experience with Ting, however, had been absolutely nothing but annoying. I can't even complete a simple transfer from FreedomPop due to their broken billing system. I do, however, have faith in Red Pocket to modernize the FreedomPop system.