“Freewheel,” Cablevision’s new Wi-Fi calling service, has gone online. Announced in January 2015, the service offers non-Cablevision users unlimited data, texting, and voice for $30 per month ($10 per month for Cablevision Optimum customers). According to Cablevision, Freewheel will make use of the company’s burgeoning collection of Wi-Fi hotspots, and will work exclusively with the Motorola G smartphone (which the company is selling for $100). The plan is Wi-Fi only, with Cablevision targeting cost-conscious customers living in areas with heavy Wi-Fi coverage; there’s no provision for cellular backup.
“Cellular was built for voice and Wi-Fi was built for data, which is why Wi-Fi is the preferred choice for data usage today,” Cablevision said in a statement. “Freewheel integrates a high-quality device backed by the strength of our professionally maintained, carrier-grade Wi-Fi network.” It remains to be seen whether a Wi-Fi-only plan is a workable one, budget prices notwithstanding. Nevertheless, Cablevision undoubtedly sees Freewheel as another differentiator in its fierce competition with Verizon.