My parents are the funniest cell phone users.
They both have phones but they rarely use them. On a recent visit home, my dad was picking us up from the airport and left his cell phone at home. Fortunately, MacArthur Airport (located in Islip, New York) is so small that he just drove by when he expected us to be done picking up our luggage. The best part is my dad had no idea he forgot his phone!
It felt like how I used to get picked up at the mall when I was a teenager.
When you use cell phones like how people used to use payphones back in the day, it's no wonder a $150-200 a month bill for two phones sounds absurd.
(my parents just put wi-fi in their house a couple years ago too – mostly because we gave them an iPad so we could Facetime!)
Anyway, a few years ago, I met the folks that ran Republic Wireless. I'd long been fascinated with their service and technology (more on that), how ridiculously well priced they were, but never pushed myself to give the service a serious look. It might just be the thing for my parents.
If you go to the Republic Wireless website you'll notice that they have plans that cost as little as $15 a month, you get 3G, 4G LTE, Wifi, and voice roaming included. You also get to pick from fantastic smartphones like the Moto G series and there are no contracts. 14 day money back guarantee.
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How Republic Wireless Technology Works
This was my first thought when I heard about Republic Wireless. It seems too good to be true.
How is it possible for the plans to be that cheap?
The reason is their technology. It's killer. They can use WiFi for talk and text (and data) first, then rely on cell when you don't have a WiFi connection. I'd say that 90% of the time I'm on my phone, I have Wi-fi.
OK using Wi-fi is sexy but here's something even better, they can seamlessly switch between WiFi and cell networks to give you the best connection while keeping the service inexpensive. You can still make calls completely on a cell network but if you move around and the connectivity weakens, Republic uses Wi-fi (and vice versa, though usually it's Wi-fi backing up cell) to fill in the data so it's a good connection (they call this Bonded Calling).
What this also means is that if you start a call on one network, it can transition to the other without losing a connection (they call this Adaptive Coverage). Start a call at home, where you have Wi-fi, but need to run an errand? It'll transition to the cell network as you walk out of your place.
This all happens behind the scenes, you don't have to do anything except set up the Wi-fi.
Republic Wireless Phones
You can buy one of their phones or bring your own if it's compatible, here's the list of phones that they know work (these are also the phones they sell):
- Huawei Ascend 5W
- Moto G (4th Gen.)
- Moto G PLAY (4th Gen.)
- Moto G PLUS (4th Gen.)
- Moto X Pure Edition
- Moto Z
- Moto Z Play
- Nexus 5X by LG
The latest one to join their lineup is the Moto G5 PLUS – 5.2″ Full HD display, 32 GB internal storage, Up to 128GB external storage with microSD card, Android 7.0 Nougat OS, 12 MP Dual auto-focus pixel camera, and a long-last battery and premium all-metal design. Available this Spring.
If you bring your own phone, you'll only have to buy a SIM card ($5) and it is compatible with the above Android phones.
Since there's no contract, you pay for the phone up front. Nowadays, a lot of companies make you buy the phone but phrase it as a “lease.” For example, Sprint will give you an Apple iPhone 7 for $0 down but charge you $27.09 a month for 18 months ($487.62) – and that's if you pass the credit check.
You can buy phone outright from Republic Wireless and the prices are competitive (similar to buying it directly from Amazon). There's also a leasing option. You can opt for financing via Affirm. Affirm is a financing company that spreads out the cost of the purchase over a year at 10% APR. A $149 phone will cost you $13.10 per month for 12 months.
Their plans require no contract and are so simple to understand:
Each plan has unlimited Talk, Text, and Wi-Fi Data. From there, you just pay more if you want more cell data:
- 0 GB – $15 / mo (no cell data)
- 1 GB – $20 / mo
- 2 GB – $30 / mo
- 4 GB – $45 / mo
- 6 GB – $60 / mo
- 10 GB – $90 / mo
I looked at my old Verizon bills and on an average month, I use a little less than two gigabytes of data a month. My lovely wife is on the same family plan and her usage is similar if not slightly less. We're on a 4 GB data plan that costs us $50 a month but also includes $25 a month in line access fees each month too.
If we moved to a 4 GB plan we'd be paying $45 a month, plus various fees and taxes, and probably save around $70-80 a month. In six months, that's $420-$480 – enough to pay for two phones.
What's also great about the plans is that you can change it on a month-to-month basis – if you know you'll need more data in a month just switch to the higher plan. When your usage returns to normal, just reduce the data package. (if only every service were like this)
Republic Wireless Call Quality / Coverage
Republic Wireless uses two of the top LTE networks (like Sprint) and has great coverage, you can confirm you're coverage by using this coverage map lookup tool.
My current cell contract with Verizon expires at the middle of the year so when that time comes, I'll be looking to port our numbers over so I can try this first hand. All of the people I know who have used Republic Wireless has raved about it. I can't wait to give it a try and save $70-80 a month!
Republic Wireless Promotions
They are constantly running promotions and I'll try to keep this as up to date as possible.
Samsung S7 and S7 Edge Price Drop — From April 17th – May 9th, you can get an additional $100 off the Samsung S7 Edge — only $599.
This is an addition to the list of discounted phones:
- Samsung Galaxy J3 – $149
- Moto G4 (16GB) – $179
- MOto G4 (32GB) – $199
- Nexus 6P (64GB) – $399
- Nexus 6P (128GB) – $449
14-Day Money Back Guarantee
There are two 14-day guarantees – first on the phone and then also on the service.
If you purchase a phone from them and are unhappy, return within 14 days and get a full refund.
If you are unhappy with the service, again you can contact them and get a refund of the monthly fee.
No contract, low price, I really see no downside… just have to wait for this contract to expire!