If you haven’t heard of Republic Wireless yet, perhaps it’s time to acquaint yourself. The company recently announced that their handsets would be available in Micro Center locations nationwide.
Republic Wireless is a wireless communications provider that turns the traditional wireless model on its head. Established in 2010, Republic uses a “hybrid calling” system and model that utilizes Wi-Fi first, and cellular networks second. The calling application is a proprietary Android app that hands the user off from Sprint’s CDMA network to Wi-Fi and vice versa when necessary.
For just $25 a month without a contract, users are offered unlimited calling, texting, and data over 3G. Of course, there is some fine print associated with the unlimited use:
Our Terms of Service permit us to reduce your speed for a billing period if you exceed 5GB of data while using cell or if you exceed 100MB of cell data while roaming during the billing period. Don’t fret though! We’ll forgive the first time you exceed the data limit for each scenario. Plus, if you go 6 consecutive billing cycles without exceeding the stated data limits, you’ll earn another free pass for each scenario.
Not terrible, but also not really “unlimited.” Then again, unlimited doesn’t really exist anymore, so Republic is doing well here. Furthermore, the carrier has a few other options – just $5 a month will give you unlimited service over Wi-Fi only, $10 a month to add a cellular option for talk and text, the aforementioned $25 plan, and finally a $40 dollar plan that offers unlimited data over 4G in addition to the Wi-Fi benefits.
Users are also afforded the ability to change plans twice every billing period.
Simply put, the Republic Wireless plans are pretty fantastic.
So what are the drawbacks? Obviously, there are some issues with the cellular to Wi-Fi handoff, but all reports say Republic had improved the service by leaps and bounds since it launched. There are a limited number of phones available. Because phones need to be specifically altered to work on the proprietary network, there are only a few options – thankfully, the Moto X is available on Republic which is a great phone. However, because phones are specifically engineered for the Republic network, once you leave, that phone becomes an expensive paperweight.
As with most life-altering decisions, there are some benefits and some disadvantages to weigh when determining whether Republic Wireless is a fit. The good thing for those that decide to take the plunge - more brick-and-mortar stores that ever now carry the devices.