'UNREAL' MVNO Launches To Test Sprint/T-Mobile Merger Claims

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Wireless Internet and mobile virtual network operator FreedomPop is launching a new MVNO in response to T-Mobile and Sprint's proposed merger, the Los Angeles, California-based company said Wednesday. Called UNREAL Mobile, the new service provider is meant to offer full-fledged mobile plans at extremely aggressive prices, with its unlimited offerings being meant to start at only $15 per month.

The company claims its historically low price tags are enabled by the proposed merger between the third- and fourth-largest wireless carrier in the country, with the duo stating their consolidation will create more competition than it eliminates. FreedomPop is testing that claim with UNREAL Mobile, pushing the pair to accept an MVNO model and pricing scheme that it would have previously rejected on the basis of it being too competitive to its own business. The reason why the new service is launching as a spin-off and not a new addition to FreedomPop's portfolio comes down to the fact that it's meant to be a postpaid competitor and not a prepaid one. Its unlimited plans start at $15 and leverage Sprint's 4G LTE network, being touted as the cheapest unlimited offerings in the country. Native encryption, VPN support, and mobile ad blocking are also on offer, together with device-agnostic SIM cards.

FreedomPop SVP Mauricio Sastre claims there's "no way" Sprint would have agreed to UNREAL's business model a year ago but with the carrier now being under pressure from regulators to prove its tie-up isn't a threat to the competitive nature of the market, it doesn't have a lot of room to negotiate a better deal than what it now agreed to. UNREAL Mobile is set to debut in early summer, with the company already accepting beta registrations via its website accessible through the banner below. The MVNO hasn't clarified how many consumers will be part of the beta program and it's yet to clarify when its service will be launching on a national scale.

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