This review of a cell provider is non-affiliate and unsolicited, I receive no compensation of any kind (including samples or discounted service) for this post.
THIS IS A REPOST OF A 7 YEAR OLD REVIEW FROM ME. IT’S PRESENTED FOR HISTORICAL INTEREST AND A VERY GENERAL VIEW OF THE COMPANY. NONE OF THE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PLANS IS STILL RELEVEANT.
In May 2013 I moved to America and before I came I got looking for a cheap cell phone option. I stumbled upon “Republic Wireless“, which had the shockingly good deal of unlimited calling, unlimited data, unlimited long distance in the US and Canada and unlimited texting for $19 / month + tax. The plan I’m on has been grandfathered in (I still get it – they call it the Beta Plan), but for new subscribers the costs have gone up a bit (and more recently maybe down a bit – more on that below).
People are STILL astounded when I detail the service I get for the price I pay. All three versions of their prices have been drastically lower than what most cell providers charge.
The original offering was for a phone that would work over Sprint’s network or wifi – when available. They made it clear that heavy users on Sprint’s network could end up costing them money, and they reserved the right to kick people off who abused it. They STRONGLY encouraged users to do as much on wifi as possible, but didn’t enforce it beyond detailing how much of your activity was via wifi or Sprint’s network – I don’t believe they’ve ever kicked anyone off for abuse.
For a while they had à la carte plans where you could decide which parts of the above service you wanted to pay for. They now call this their Republic Wireless Plan 1.0. The $25 plan is equivalent to what I detail above, however it doesn’t allow usage of Sprint’s 4G network (neither does the Beta Plan), for that you need to be on the $40 plan.
One modification they made to their service, I imagine to reduce abuse, is if you exceed 5 gigabytes of data transfer, they reduce your speed the next month. I wasn’t even aware of this change to their service, which they must have implemented at some point during my time with them. I only use about 0.5 gigabytes of data a month, so this has been plenty for me.
Recently, they’ve switched to a “Republic Refund™ plan” (aka Republic Wireless Plan 2.0), which is hard to figure out from their website. I’m a guy with a PhD, and I’m not positive I’ve got this right, so that says to me that they need to make it more clear. Hey RW! Instead of trying to make clever ads about the data refund (the simplest part of your new plan), how about being clear about the details!
My understanding is that, for $5 you can get unlimited service over wifi, while for $10 you get unlimited phone calls, texting and long distance in the US and Canada on Sprint’s network (including their 4G, if it’s in your area). You then pre-purchase data on Sprint’s network for $7.50 per ½ GB or $15 per 1 GB. If you don’t use the entire amount, they refund it in a pro-rated manner. If you exceed what you’ve bought, they’ll sell you additional data. The end result of this is that you’ll pay $15 per GB of usage, however you need to pre-pay for it, with the unused amount being refunded at the end of the month. It’s beyond me why they don’t just charge people for their actual usage at the end of the month.
Currently users can switch between the 1.0 and 2.0 plans once – so they can try it and go back if they don’t like it. After August 1st, 2016 all 1.0 users will be put onto the 2.0 plan permanently. Motorola DEFY Beta Plan users will continue to receive their same plan and in fact are unable to go on either the 1.0 or 2.0 plans.
If I were able to switch to the newest plan, I *BELIEVE* it would be cheaper for me than what I’m current paying, which is pretty astounding.
The price is pretty killer. To get all the functionality you get from Republic Wireless for the incredibly low price is great.
The calls over wifi can sometimes be a nice feature that other cell phones don’t have. When you’re travelling internationally, if you can get on a wifi network, you can use your phone as if you were at home – making and receiving calls as well as texting. Receiving has often been spotty for me in these situations, but outgoing calls and texts have always worked great.
The service can be hit or miss. When I’m on wifi, often calls will cut out and I’ll have to call the person back using the cell network. They wrote at one point about their service seamlessly switching between networks, for example if you were driving through wifi networks it would use them, then return the call to Sprint’s cellular network. This has never worked for me and whenever I’ve tried to switch between them, I’ve instantly been disconnected.
Often times the sound quality is quite poor. I’ve had a number of conversations where I’ll ask the person to speak up repeatedly, and I can’t ever hear them. These have all been with telemarketers, so perhaps this is a feature not a bug.
Because they want users to do as much on wifi as possible and minimize their data usage, they don’t allow tethering (when your cell phone provides an internet connection to other devices). I’ve had a few situations where I really would have liked to do this and it was a pain that it wasn’t possible.
Their phones (you can pick between 2 of them) are tightly integrated with their service, such that you’re required to use their phones, which you must buy from them, and their phones can’t be repurposed to another network – if you ever want to sell it or switch to another provider. All their phones are Android devices, you can’t use your iPhone.
Recently I was hanging out with friends, and they were laughing at my Motorola Defy XT saying they hadn’t seen a Motorola phone in years. I was the one laughing when my bill arrived though =).
One of the things I loved about Republic Wireless is that it was a simple, straight forward, great deal. With their revised plans, things got a bit more complicated but people had more choice. With the newest plan, the actual deal is quite simple, but the way they present is quite convoluted.
Who Should Use Republic Wireless
I got my wife onto Republic Wireless when we first started dating, and I think it’s a great plan for anyone who isn’t picky about their phone or call quality and who loves a great deal. The vast majority of consumers could, and should, be on Republic Wireless and drastically cut their cell phone bills.