Three months ago I switched cell phone carriers to Republic Wireless. Now I am here to tell you all about Republic Wireless and about my experience with them.
Republic Wireless is a newcomer to the mobile phone service industry. However, being new does not give them a disadvantage. This is because Republic Wireless dominates other carriers in one major area–price.
Republic Wireless offers the following phone plans:
- $5 – WiFi Plan: Unlimited Talk/Text/Data over WiFi
- $10 – Base Plan: Unlimited Talk/Text over WiFi + Cell | Data over WiFi Only
- $17.50 – Base Plan + 0.5 GB Cell Data
- $25 – Base Plan + 1.0 GB Cell Data
- $40 – Base Plan + 2.0 GB Cell Data
- $55 – Base Plan + 3.0 GB Cell Data
Republic Wireless leverages a technology called Hybrid Calling. They believe that most of the time mobile phone users are within range of a wireless network they can connect to. When connected to WiFi, all calls, texts, and data run through the wireless network.
On the rare occasions that you are out of WiFi range, the phone automatically connects to Sprint’s network. If your plan allows you to utilize the Sprint network, calls, texts, and data (if included in your plan) will then be routed through Sprint until you reconnect to a WiFi network.
You may be wondering why you wouldn’t just stay on Sprint’s network full time. If customers do this, Republic Wireless will start losing money on each of them and will have to increase the plan prices to cover the additional costs of utilizing the Sprint Network. Additionally, it been rumored that Republic Wireless has kicked out customers who have abused the service too much.
As part of Republic’s mission to keep costs low, tethering data from a Republic Wireless phone to another device is not allowed. However, if you do opt into a plan that includes data, with a charge or $15 for each additional GB. However, don’t let this run you off. Republic will credit your account for any unused data at the end of the month. Most Republic users average less than 0.5 GB a month, which is another reason to reconsider why you may be paying a lot more for “Unlimited” data at another carrier.
Lastly, there are no contracts! All Republic Wireless phone plans are prepaid and you are never locked into a single plan. For instance, if you are on a no data plan and decide halfway through the month that you need to upgrade your plan to allow data, you can do so from your phone. You will be prorated from the day you switch the plan up to your bill cycle date. In contrast, If you decide to downgrade your plan, the difference will be credited to your account and applied to the next billing cycle.
First off, you do have to purchase a Republic Wireless phone. Republic’s phones possess a special ROM that allows the phones to utilize WiFi calling and be activated with a Republic Wireless plan. Even if you have a phone that Republic offers, there is nothing that can be done to activate it with Republic Wireless if it is not a Republic Wireless phone.
Republic Wireless offers the following phones:
- Networks: WiFi, 3G, 4G LTE
- Internal Memory: 8GB
- Expandable Memory: Up to 32GB with Micro SD card.
- Display: 4.5″ qHD
- Android Lollipop 5.1
- Camera: 5MP Tap-to-Focus
- Colors: Black or White with optional colored bands
- Networks: WiFi, 3G, 4G LTE
- Internal Memory: 16GB
- Expandable Memory: None
- Display: 5.2″ AMOLED Full HD
- Android Lollipop 5.1
- Camera: 13MP Tap-to-Focus
- Colors: Black or Design Your Own
The price tag on these phones may scare some of you away. However, think about how much you can save during the lifetime of the phone. For instance, my old plan with StraightTalk cost me $45 a month. I am now on the $10 plan with a $35 savings each month. This means that I saved enough on my new plan to pay for my $99 Moto G (no longer available) in just under three months. Furthermore, if I decided to get the Moto X (2nd Gen.) for $399, it would have paid itself off in just over eight and half months!
Republic’s cellular service is provided by Sprint. It is well known that Sprint’s coverage area is not the best carrier for coverage, but it is usually more than adequate for most customers. Check the Republic Wireless coverage map to ensure you would have sufficient signal.
Republic Wireless seems great on paper, but how does it compare in real life? I have had great experiences and some caveats along the way, so let me break it down for you.
First, the greatest thing about Republic Wireless is the price. I am on the $10 plan and absolutely love what I get for the money. Secondly, the ease of setting up a phone and changing plans is incredible. This is the fifth cell phone carrier I have tried in the past five years and none of the others have been this simple. Lastly, Republic Wireless is a company that is enthusiastic about what they do. If enough customers request a feature, Republic Wireless finds a way to make it happen, even if they don’t think it is possible. I have never seen a company so devoted to their customers.
There are a few things about Republic Wireless that aren’t great yet. First, because Republic Wireless uses custom ROMs on their phones, access to Android updates take a little longer than other carriers. Usually, this isn’t necessarily an issue, but it does delay the treat of that shiny new update. Secondly, as stated earlier, Republic runs off the Sprint network, which in unexceptional. The network works just fine a majority of the time; however, it is not 100% reliable. Lastly, you cannot blacklist networks for calling yet. Consequently, if you connect to a WiFi network that is has a high latency (a.k.a. delay or ping), call quality can be horrible until you switch WiFi networks or disconnect from the poor network.
If you are would like to predetermine if calls should work on your WiFi network, go to Speedtest.net and run a test. If your ping is above 150 ms, calls will not work properly. The lower your ping, the better the call quality should be.
Even with it’s caveats, Republic Wireless is my favorite cell phone carrier. I work from home and am in calls for 2-5 hours a day. Occasionally I experience an issue with the call and have to call the person back, but this is a very rare occurrence. Considering I save $35 a month in expenses, this is something I have no problem continuing to deal with. However, with that said, I know that issues with routine use will get resolved as Republic Wireless irons them out.
To conclude, if you are looking for something cheaper or just something new, Republic Wireless is it. You will never find a better deal or carrier.
Have any questions, comments, or just have something you want to share related to Republic Wireless or other carriers? Tell us about it in the comments below.