FreedomPop Gets $50 Million Investment From Russian Billionaire

  • Mikhail Fridman’s LetterOne backs Wi-Fi-based wireless carrier
  • FreedomPop expanding its free mobile service beyond U.S.

FreedomPop Inc., the Wi-Fi-based carrier backed by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom, received a $50 million investment from Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman and his partners as the mobile provider expands in Asia, Europe and Latin America.

The investment is set to help the Los Angeles-based wireless company grow beyond its home market, according to a statement Tuesday from LetterOne, an investment vehicle of Fridman and his partners. LetterOne will also provide FreedomPop with strategic advice.

FreedomPop, which lets customers use mobile devices free of call charges, seeks to benefit from LetterOne’s experience in operating in emerging markets. FreedomPop, founded in 2012, already operates in the U.S., U.K. and Spain and plans to add eight new markets by the end of next year.

“L1’s unique ability to open new markets and new growth opportunities will deliver real value for us beyond what any typical late stage investor could do,” FreedomPop Chief Executive Officer Stephen Stokols said in the statement.

LetterOne, which co-owns wireless carriers VimpelCom Ltd. and Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS, is aiming to invest as much as $3 billion in global technology pioneers. It injected $200 million in Uber Technologies Inc. early this year.

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