Home / Tech News & Announcements old / Cablevision to launch Wi-Fi-only mobile phone service Freewheel; $9.95/month if bundled with home internet, $29.95 for other customers (Janko…

Cablevision to launch Wi-Fi-only mobile phone service Freewheel; $9.95/month if bundled with home internet, $29.95 for other customers (Janko…

Cablevision is getting ready to pick a fight with your mobile phone company.  Next month, the cable operator is going to introduce a low-cost mobile phone service dubbed Freewheel that’s based entirely on Wi-Fi connectivity. Freewheel will offer existing Cablevision internet service subscribers unlimited talk, text and data for a mere $9.95 per month. Consumers who don’t use Cablevision’s internet service can sign on for $29.95 per month. At launch, Freewheel is only working with one handset: Cablevision will sell Motorola’s Moto G for $99.95, and the phone will come preloaded with apps that automatically authenticate with any of the company’s hotspots. Cablevision started building out its own Optimum Wi-Fi network in 2007, and now has more than 1.1 million hotspots in the New York tri-state area. The company adopted Fon-like Wi-Fi sharing last year , essentially turning its customers’ Wi-Fi routers into public hotspots by adding a second, separate network that can be accessed by any Optimum customer, and now by any Freewheel subscriber as well. In addition to that, Freewheel customers have access to some 300,000 hotspots across the country, courtesy of the CableWiFi initiative that brings together Wi-Fi access points from big cable companies like Comcast , Cox and Time Warner Cable. And of course, the device will also work with any other Wi-Fi network a user has access to, whether it’s at home or at their office. However, Freewheel users may have a harder time staying connected on their commute: The service doesn’t include any fall-back option to connect to mobile networks when Wi-Fi is unavailable, which means that users won’t be able to make calls or access data services when they’re not connected to a Wi-Fi network. That’s why the company is primarily targeting users who are in what it calls “Wi-Fi-rich environments” like college campuses and urban areas with a high density of mobile hotspots. Cablevision has also in the past made a point of highlighting how big of a hit Wi-Fi already is with its customers. Each Cablevision internet household already has 2.88 devices accessing Wi-Fi on average, and customers have used Optimum Wi-Fi nearly one billion times during Q4 of 2014, consuming 19 petabytes of data, according to statistics shared by the company. Cablevision isn’t the first company to use Wi-Fi as an alternative to traditional mobile networks.

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Cablevision to launch Wi-Fi-only mobile phone service Freewheel; $9.95/month if bundled with home internet, $29.95 for other customers (Janko…

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