Sprint is struggling to keep up with the competition, but the company may have a plan to bring on more customers by buying up one of the virtual carriers that operates on its network. USA Today reports that Sprint is in talks with FreedomPop over a possible acquisition.
Citing two anonymous sources, the paper claims Sprint could pay anywhere from $250 to $450 million to buy the LA-based startup. It’s also possible the larger carrier could make an investment instead, potentially valuing FreedomPop at around $200 million.
Sprint already operates several smaller carrier brands including Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, but FreedomPop is a different kind of beast. The wireless startup offers a variety of products and services including a free hotspot and a $99 case that turns your iPod touch into a smartphone. Last month, FreedomPop introduced its first phone contracts, offering 500MB of data per month for free.
If Sprint pulls the trigger, it could bring in a new customer base that’s both budget-conscious and a bit geeky. Meanwhile, the acquisition could give FreedomPop the opportunity to grow quicker and do more. Then again, it’s also possible a buyout could put an end to the startup’s free data offerings.