Linux laptop maker Purism is also in the Linux smartphone business these days thanks to the company’s Librem 5 smartphone, which is designed to run free and open source software and offer privacy features including hardware kill switches.
The Librem 5 is still under development, but Purism has been shipping some early batches to customers since last year.
Now Purism is also launching its own cellular service for customers that want a privacy-focused network for their privacy-focused phones.
The new Librem AweSIM services runs $99 per month for a pre-paid monthly plan with unlimited talk, text and data. There are no contracts, so you can cancel at any time.
But what really sets it apart from other cellular network plans is that customers get a new phone number that’s registered and operated by Purism. The company says it will not sell your data to marketers or anyone else, and your phone number won’t even be registered under your name – it’ll be in Purism’s, which could cut down on some text and phone call spam, and will limit data tracking by preventing anyone tracking your data from tying it to your personal identity.
Purism says the Librem AweSIM service is also designed to give Librem 5 customers a way to be absolutely certain that their phone will work with their wireless carrier – if you sign up for the service when you order the phone, you’ll receive a phone and a pre-configured SIM that should just work.
That said, this service clearly isn’t for everyone. At $99/month, it’s not exactly the cheapest unlimited plan out there. Purism may offer lower-priced options in the future, but is starting with just a single plan.
Librem AweSIM is also only available in the US at launch, and the service is an MVNO that operates using the AT&T and T-Mobile cellular networks. So if coverage for those services isn’t great where you live, then this may not be the plan for you.
To sign up you’ll also need to pay for the first month immediately, even though orders placed for a Librem 5 today may not actually ship for six months. The good news is you won’t be billed for the second month until after your phone and SIM card arrive.