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Today we are pleased to announce Librem AweSIM: a prepaid, unlimited cellular service designed to work literally out of the box with the Librem 5. Sign up for Librem AweSIM and provide us with your preferred area code, and when your Librem 5 is ready to ship, we will register a new number to your SIM and install it into your Librem 5 so calls, SMS and cellular data just work when you unbox it.
While there are plenty of prepaid cellular plans to choose from out there with a wide range of features and prices, there are two main reasons why we created Librem AweSIM and why we think Librem 5 customers will love it: convenience and privacy.
One of the most frequently asked questions we get about the Librem 5 is: will it work with my existing provider? While we have tested the Librem 5 on a number of cellular providers in the US, Canada, and Europe and have published the cellular frequencies our US and EU modems support, even if the Librem 5 supports a network, without testing every provider out there it’s difficult to say in advance whether they will allow a new phone onto their network and if so which features will be supported.
As a precursor to launching Librem AweSIM officially, we set it up for early reviewers of the Librem 5, so when the reviewer turned it on, things just worked out of the box. We knew that kind of convenience and piece of mind is something many of our Librem 5 customers would also like.
We also recognize that not everyone who ordered a Librem 5 will be using it as their primary phone on day one. Some customers will hold on to their previous phone, and test the Librem 5 as their daily driver, and with every software release get closer to it being their daily phone. Having a separate phone number with unlimited service lets you try out all of the features of your Librem 5 on day one.
Librem AweSIM also means having knowledgeable and friendly customer support. Using Librem AweSIM means getting tech support from a team who not only wants to provide you good customer service but also understands what a Librem 5 running PureOS is and how to troubleshoot it.
Cellular providers have long subsidized the cost of their service by selling rights for 3rd parties to preinstall apps on your phone that you can’t remove. Yet cellular providers, at least in the US, have started to realize that they have been leaving massive amounts of money on the table compared to other tech companies because they haven’t been fully monetizing their tracking of users and data.
All of the major cellular providers in the US are working to create a “unified customer identifier” using a combination of their customer and billing information along with the unique identifiers that are on their cellphone. According to AT&T’s CEO: “Such technology would allow marketers to identify users across multiple devices and serve them relevant advertising.” AT&T has also announced plans to offer customers a $5 discount on their plan in exchange for allowing AT&T to show them ads on their phone.
These providers are also planning on using this unified customer identifier to create a new authentication scheme called Zenkey they hope websites and apps adopt. While this is in the name of security, the ultimate goal of authentication systems like this (just like with Google and Facebook authentication on 3rd party sites) is to let the provider track you as you move across the Internet.
With Librem AweSIM, we will register your number in Purism’s name, not yours, to provide a degree of separation and privacy between you and the cellular network. While this won’t stop every kind of tracking (providers can still triangulate a particular phone’s location as it connects to cellular towers) it will prevent them from linking that tracking to a specific person.
While we have big plans for the future of Librem AweSIM, we want to keep it simple to start. That’s why we are launching the service with one full-service prepaid plan that offers unlimited talk, text and data for $99/month. This means no need for you (or us) to track minutes, texts, or worry about overages. We are starting the service in the US and will consider expanding into other regions based on demand.
Customers who have already pre-ordered a Librem 5 can sign up for Librem AweSIM and we will contact you to link it to your existing order. Alternatively if you haven’t pre-ordered a Librem 5 yet you can order Librem AweSIM and a Librem 5 together in a bundle. We will charge you for the first month and then pause your subscription until you receive your Librem 5, after which we will activate the subscription and charge you monthly from that point on. You can cancel at any time. Check out our official Librem AweSIM product page for details.