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Republic Wireless Offers $19 a Month ‘Unlimited’ Plans Without Contracts

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The competition for no contract, low cost smartphones just get a hell of a lot more interesting today thanks to the launch of Republic Wireless.

Republic Wireless‘ new “unlimited” everything plan offers unlimited calling, texting and data usage all for $19 a month.

It can do this by catering to customers who spend most of their time on WiFi. Instead of sending calls over the cell network, when connected to WiFi your phone will use it to make calls. If you aren’t on WiFi, the phone will use Sprint for voice, text and data.

By using a “hybrid calling” model, Republic Wireless is able to keep costs down. But, there’s a catch. If your calling and data usage on cellular networks is too high, Republic Wireless can revoke your membership. Yes, that’s how they put it, you’re not singing a contract, you’re joining a club of WiFi lovers.

This is a concern, but Republic Wireless says that you can use 550 minutes, send 150 texts, and download 300 megabytes of data without getting booted from the program. I could have trouble with Data, but would be just fine on the texts and voice.

When you get down to it, the plan is almost the same as entry level plans on AT&T and Verizon due to the cell limits in place. The key here is that the phone will use WiFi on its own, without you needing to make a change or use a different service.

When you are connected to WiFi, the phone automatically uses it, no choosing settings or forgetting to toggle a switch, the phone knows what you want to do.

republic wireless

Republic Wireless brings an everything unlimited plan for $19 a month.

The phone, while smart and capable may be the biggest holdback here. Republic Wireless is launching with the LG Optimus with Android 2.3. I reviewed a similar LG Optimus model earlier this year, and was impressed, but wouldn’t make it my daily driver. You can get the phone without a contract for $199, or for a limited tim for just $99 with the coupon code welcome19.

The company is reportedly working on support for additional smartphones, perhaps including the Galaxy SII. Ultimately a company like this will need to offer compelling handsets for bargain callers and smartphone geeks.

Right now this plan beats Virgin Mobile by $16 a month, or almost $200 a year. Compared to the cheapest plans for on contract carriers like Verizon and AT&T, without unlimited data, texts and minutes, you will still save over $700 a year.

Republic Wireless has an attractive value proposition, especially for users who spend most of their time surrounded by WiFi, but I think we will need to see better phones before a significant number of consumers make a switch from Verizon and AT&T to Republic Wireless.

Will you switch over to Republic Wireless?

Via Techcrunch

Josh Smith is Editor of GottaBeMobile and Notebooks.com. He's always looking for ways to help you get the most of your gear and loves to talk about tech on radio and TV. Josh uses an iOS and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows Computers. Josh Smith on Google+ Email: [email protected]

7 Comments

  1. Raul Santiago85

    11/08/2011 at 10:51 am

    I don’t know that I’d get it yet. But they’re definitely onto something that the main carriers should enable. Being able to make calls over wifi would be great. It would solve “dead zone” issues and should improve reliability of service. There aren’t enough wi-fi hotspots where I live to have a service like this. I use about 8gb a month. I’d be booted from the program the day after I signed up. I hope that the majors will develop and promote the broad use of voice over wi-fi. They’d be able to offer customers unlimited over wi-fi minutes, if they wanted to, and also relieve stress on their networks.

  2. Jeff Katz

    12/23/2011 at 2:46 pm

    Well, I got it. Works great. My concern: They recently went to totally unlimited everything, no caps.  I don’t see how that’s possible at $19/month, and I am concerned they won’t survive. However, I got in early for a 100 buck phone and at this rate, am going to drop Verizon and take my chances. The phone works very well on Wifi (better than cellular in home and work for VOIP) BUT only offers 3G, so it’s great for those with little demand on the ‘net.  Unlimited texting of course is nothing because it’s a bandwidth joke to even charge for that (the major cell carriers can go shove it), but I really wonder if RW can make it with this model.  Even if they jack the rate to 30 bucks a month, it’s still a steal relative to the big carriers.  I just don’t get it, but I hope they last.

  3. Michele

    02/08/2012 at 3:13 pm

    Does the phone only use Sprint towers when it doesn’t have wifi available? I’m in a very very light Sprint coverage area. I bought the LG Optimus Q from Straight Talk and it got zero signal. I know things are a bit different with Straight Talk, but I really don’t want to relive this level of disappointment when I get the new phone from RW if at all possible.

    • Val

      03/25/2013 at 1:50 pm

      StraightTalk uses ATT.

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  5. martha dunaway

    06/19/2013 at 4:20 am

    can you use a prepaid three g phone you already own and get it switched to your republic service?

  6. sydnasty

    11/15/2013 at 10:54 am

    No you cannot BYOD.

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