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Republic Wireless

Update: Jan 2016


Things change quickly, so plans and phones change, but I'm still using Republic Wireless and am still happy with it. I pay less than $12/month for my phone service including tax. I have 4G Cell data when I need it and unlimited text and calling.

Republic Wireless remains a good choice for anyone who:

  1. Is on WiFi most of the time. It makes almost all my calls through my WiFi connection, not the Cell network. It also uses WiFi for data when it can.
  2. Is in places that Sprint services well when cell connections are needed.


[Minor updates Aug 2014]

I switched phone plans to Republic Wireless and really like it. I'm paying less, have a much better phone, and am getting better service. My monthly fee is $10 plus tax. My call quality and service are excellent.

Republic wireless is pioneering the hybrid phone. They make a ROM for the cellular phone to switch between cell calling and WiFi calling. They find that their customers have WiFi access most of the time, so they can use WiFi instead of cell service and pass the savings on. They, like Boost Mobile, Ting, Virgin Mobile and others re-sell the Sprint network.

It also allows many people who have excellent WiFi and poor cell reception in their homes or office to be able to use the superior WiFi coverage instead of the weak cell coverage for their cell phones.

The Plans

All plans include unlimited WiFi Data (web browsing, email, news, etc), text and talk service. So, the only thing that changes is how much cell service you use. In addition to unlimited WiFi the plans are:
  1. $5/month. No cell service, just WiFi.
  2. $10/month. Unlimited cell talk and text. Data is WiFi only. This is the one I chose.
  3. $25/month. Unlimited cell talk and text plus 3G data.
  4. $40/month. Unlimited cell talk and text plus 4G data.

The $10 plan works fine for me because I have a GPS in my car so I don't need to be using my phone for a GPS device. That means I don't require mobile data. I can check my email when I get somewhere with Wifi access. I can download podcasts and other MP3 files to play later, instead of streaming them.

Change Plans twice a month for free

Republic Wireless understands that any one plan is not necessarily what you will always want to use, so twice a month you can change your plan. You pull down the notification area and choose the option "Change Plan". Then you select a different one. That's all it takes. You might go on vacation and want cell data, so you change to that plan and then switch back when you return.

For example, my plan at $10/month is about 33 cents a day. The $25/month plan that has 3G cell data is 83 cents a day, or 50 cents a day more. So if I switched to that plan for 10 days, and then switched back, I'd have to play 50 cents more for 10 days, or $5 more. My monthly bill would be $15 (plus tax). Then my bill would return to $10/month. If I switched to 4G LTE service for the 10 days, it would have cost me $10 more for a $20 monthly bill before returning to my $10/month plan.

The Phone

They only offer 2 phones, both from Motorola. Both are excellent smart phones. The MotoX phone for $299 and the Moto G for $149.  I got the Moto X and love it. Far and away the best phone I've ever had. Three of my friends got the Moto G and all of them love this lower priced  very well made and reviewed smart phone.

The Contract

They don't have a contract in the normal sense, but you will have spent $149-$299 on a phone that only works on their network! You have 30 days to return it for a full refund. If you don't stay with them, then you will have a very nice very small Android tablet that also makes a great MP3 player, but doesn't work as a phone and costs a lot for a very small tablet.

They do give you 30 days to try it out and make sure you like it. Until then, you can return it for a full refund. The phone itself is warranted for 1 year by Motorola, but if something happens to it Republic Wireless will act as the broker and will handle the warranty work quickly and efficiently.

Support

Support is great. They have an active user forum and solid email support. There is no one to call for phone support. There is no store to walk into. They are committed to excellent service and provide it. I broke my first phone. My fault. I emailed them, they sent me a new one with 2 day shipping and with prepaid return postage.

My Experience

  • Love the phone
  • Excellent phone clarity
  • Perfect transition if I'm talking on the phone and then take a walk in the park, the phone switches from WiFi to Cell and back without me or the person I'm talking to noticing any change.
  • Good camera
  • Very good battery life.

Who Should not get it (disappointment awaits)

  • You want a really really big phone (over 5" maybe 6")
  • You need to tether your phone to support notebooks using your cellular data. Republic Wireless is based on reducing costs by replacing cell usage with WiFi usage. Tethering goes the other way, replacing WiFi usage with cell usage so is contrary to their business model. It is explicitly denied in their terms of service.
  • Sprint doesn't give you good coverage where you spend time and need it. They have excellent free roaming, but if the cell coverage or more importantly the 4G LTE Sprint high speed data coverage won't work for you, you should look elsewhere.
  • You want to be able to walk into a store and talk to someone. There is no brick and mortar store in the Portland area. You cannot even call someone, support is done on their website and by email. It is not done in real-time. They have begun to experiment with live chat, but it is in beta and a small test. The community forum is very active and support people frequent it as well. If you are uncomfortable with email and Internet support, this is not the company for you.

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Date: December 2013


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This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

 
 
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