Republic Wireless – Empowering, Not Impoverishing


 This post brought to you by Republic Wireless. All opinions are 100% ours.

There’s been a lot of behind-the-scenes activity with mobile carriers as of late.  AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon launched new prepaid plans. To bolster its positioning nationwide, AT&T agreed to buy all-inclusive mobile service Leap Wireless last month (which includes its prepaid Cricket service) for $1.2B.  This was after T-Mobile merged with the “$40 period” plan provider MetroPCS in May. Verizon, not to be left out, has been buying regional mobile Co.’s for, well, forever.

Since almost everyone has a mobile phone, why all the commotion?  The simple answer is market share. Mobile phones have become a necessary, everyday appliance.  We love to tweet, email, text, surf the web and yes, even talk on our mobile devices. But with the average American spending more on their monthly cell phone bill than they do on groceries or health insurance, the real question is, can I get these services cheaper? The answer to that is yes! The average cell plan borders on $100 per month (the average prepaid costs in the vicinity of the $30-$40 price points).  Enter phone service startup Republic Wireless, with a whopping, all-inclusive (unlimited data, talk, and text  - no SMS yet)  $19 plan. That’s an average savings of $80 a month.  But wait – what’s the catch? Are you giving up anything? Well no, and yes.

Republic Wireless uses Hybrid Wifi Calling, meaning their phones (rather, phone - more on that in a sec) gives precedence to WiFi for making calls. That’s good right?  Well yes because we are used to using WiFi almost everyone for our mobile devices. Place your call, and use whichever signal is best — Wi-Fi or cellular (using Sprint’s network). Republic’s icon sits in the notifications bar; when the arc is green, you’re on Wi-Fi, and when it’s gray, you’re on the cellular network. Placing a call on Wi-Fi requires no additional steps, as long as you’ve already set up that Wi-Fi network to automatically connect. Unfortunately if you are on a Wi-Fi call and lose WiFi, your call will drop. Hopefully in a future release you’ll be able to seamlessly be connected to the Sprint phone network.  But for $19 bucks a month, we can live with that!

Phone options? Currently you have one option -  you need to purchase their proprietary phone, a Motorola DEFY XT. It’s a decent, basic Smartphone, water and scratch resistant that includes a 480x854 pixel, 3.7 inch Gorilla glass dustproof display; a front-facing 0.3 megapixels VGA Webcam; a rear-facing, 5 megapixels camera with auto focus/LED Flash, 4x digital zoom; running Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS, massaged to run on Sprint with 3G Coverage, providing access to over 450,000 Apps through Google Play.

Overall, not a bad offering: Super cheap calling, on the reliable Sprint network, with a decent phone to boot.  You can bet AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon are cringing behind the scenes with this competitor.  Who knows, maybe one of them will buy them…

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