It's official, BioWare just announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic is going to adopt the free-to-play model by fall. The game will be available in two mods: for Subscription Players and Free Players. The subscription mode is obviously based on monthly paid subscription that costs 14.99$ and has no limitations thus allowing you to play the game as it is right now. The Free mode has restricted or limited access to some in-game features that for example limit the player to a number of warzones, flashpoints, space missions per week. You can find more details about the limitations and comparison between them here.
What is Free-to-Play?
Along with the free-to-play model, a new currency will be introduced that will allow subscription and free-to-play players to buy gear/unlock some features of the game by using Cartel Coins at the Cartel Market.
The Cartel Coins "will be the new in-game virtual currency used for the Cartel Market. Cartel Coins may be used to purchase specialty items that allow you to customize and equip your character cosmetically. With Cartel Coins you will be able to purchase in-game items including customizable gear and convenience features that will enhance the game play experience. Cartel Coins will also be available for purchase from our website in various price packs."
The Cartel Market " is a brand new feature that will be introduced with our Free-to-Play option. The Cartel Market will offer valuable in-game items including customizable gear and convenience features that will enhance the game play experience."
There are many questions to be answered regarding this new development in the course of the game, some of them can be found in the Free-To-Play FAQ.
To see more of the upcoming content and rewards check this page.