Republic Wireless Graduates from Beta and Offers the Moto X

Over a year ago when I was looking for a new cell phone I heard about Republic Wireless, a company trying to offer something new in the cellular market. The main premise of Republic Wireless’s business model is that there are wireless networks all around us (especially at home and work) and we should be taking advantage of them. Most businesses these days use voice over IP (VoIP) for their telephone needs. When cell phones started to use data plans and WiFi, it seemed that a natural progression would be to enable cell phones with VOIP as well. However, cell phone companies and manufacturers seemed set on making VoIP unavailable/extremely hard to set up. Trust me, I’ve tried several times (and had marginal success) over the years to get my iPod or Android phone to make VoIP calls. Currently, it’s pretty easy to get a program that will make outgoing VoIP calls, but it’s still very difficult to get incoming calls over a data connection. On top of that, data only plans are hard to come by, and don’t offer much savings over the traditional cell phone plan.

 

So when I heard that Republic Wireless was trying to offer VoIP enabled cell phones I got really excited. To me this seemed a correct “next step”, and would be able to take advantage of the growing WiFi-enabled society we live in. As you might expect, Republic Wireless didn’t launch with the best cell phone on the market. In fact, when they released their second generation phone (the Motorola Defy XT) a year ago, had the same specs as my then 2-year-old phone. My greediness for new technology (and LTE download speeds) got the best of me at the time, so I went with a newly released phone instead of switching to Republic Wireless. However, Emily agreed to be the guinea pig for the family and signed up for the new service.

 

Emily has had a positive experience with her phone without many complaints (see her review). Now, her foray into the unknown is about to be rewarded with Republic Wireless’s announcement that they will be ending their beta this month. With the end of the beta come two big changes to the service: 1) A new phone and 2) a new service plan structure.

 

MotoXTo me, the most exciting news is their new phone offering, the Moto X. The jump from a phone with 3-year-old technology to a company’s current flagship model is great for everyone and makes me sad I currently have a year left in my contract! It’s nice to see that the Moto X has been getting pretty favorable reviews (see here and here) and can stand up to other companies’ flagship devices in all relevant benchmarks (see the Anandtech review). Note that the camera has been improved since the original Moto X reviews were released (Anandtech). The new phone will cost $299 (discounted from the original $500).

 

With the end of its beta period, Republic Wireless is also changing its service plan options. Instead of their one-size-fits-all $19 a month (no contract) for unlimited talk/text/data, there are 4 new options:

  • WiFi only ($5/month)
  • WiFi/talk/text ($10/month)
  • WiFi/talk/text/3G data ($25/month)
  • WiFi/talk/text/4G ($40/month)

 

Probably the most notable thing here is the WiFi only plan. Remember that WiFi with Republic Wireless means that you can still make and receive calls and texts as long as you are on WiFi. Additionally, the “standard” plan has been increased by $6 dollars/month to $25/month (still a huge savings in my opinion) and the ability to get 4G has been added. Republic Wireless uses the Sprint network, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Sprint now offers 4G coverage in our area because they didn’t a year ago when I was looking at plans. So it might be worth re-checking if you can now get coverage in your area.

 

All of the plans offer significant savings over a traditional cell phone plan (e.g. a 1GB Verizon plan is $90/month), but I’m intrigued most by the WiFi only plan. If you combined the WiFi only plan with an inexpensive/free MiFi device (e.g. from FreedomPop or Karma), you could potentially have a dirt cheap fully featured cell phone plan. The MiFi devices seem to have a battery life of 6-8 hours which is definitely not approaching all day support. However, if you are around WiFi most of the day, you could turn on the MiFi for the parts when you are away from WiFi (definitely a hassle, but not impossible). If you were traveling somewhere without ubiquitous WiFi access you can easily change your Republic Wireless plan for the month, and then switch back to the WiFi plan when things return back to normal. Ultimately, we’ll have to wait until Emily gets her new phone to see if this will be a viable option, but I remain optimistic.

 

Overall, I’m very excited about these new updates to Republic Wireless. I think the company is going in the right direction to reduce cell phone payments, and these new changes will make it a stronger competitor. I’ve decided that Emily should upgrade to the Moto X (she hasn’t yet agreed, as you’ll read about on Wednesday), and me missing out on this upgrade makes me miss Swype more than usual!

 

Right now you can only sign up for the old phone and plan, but on the Republic Wireless website you can sign up to get notified when the Moto X becomes available. If you sign up for the beta plan with our referral link or through the ad below you will get a $19 credit on your account.  We will update you all again when the new phone is finally released!  Update: The Moto X is now available! 

 

 

For those of you who were waiting for this release, are you now planning to jump on the Republic Wireless train?  Would you consider the Moto X this fall or does another phone have your eye?  What do you think of Republic Wireless’s new tiered plan offerings and my proposal to use the WiFi only plan alongside a MiFi device?

 

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21 Responses to "Republic Wireless Graduates from Beta and Offers the Moto X"

  1. I worry about my calls being at the mercy of an unreliable wi-fi connection. I’ve tried a wi-fi calling service before on a business call and it was embarrassing because my connection kept cutting out.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted..4 Ways To Destroy A Friendship With Money

    1. Emily says:

      That is definitely a reasonable concern! My experience is that the wifi networks we have at school and at home are good enough to sustain a long call. However, for any business-related calls I still try to find a landline (but that doesn’t have to do with RW, I would do that with any cell carrier). Whenever I’m out and trying to make a call RW doesn’t try to connect through any random wifi but just goes through the Sprint network. The only times I have had problems with dropped calls are when I’m walking away from the wifi connection I started the call on and it has to drop and switch to cell. However, as I stated in my first review, for me personally that happened every time I was walking and trying to connect with ATT so it was a lateral move, not a downgrade! But YMMV depending on the strength of the wireless connections you’re usually around and how reliable your current service is.

  2. Matt Becker says:

    I’ve been using RW for a few months now and my biggest complaint is with the phone itself. Everything else is pretty good, but the Defy XT is just downright annoying to use. It just takes forever to do anything. I’m excited about the Moto X as well and will probably go with the $25 plan.
    Matt Becker recently posted..How to Start Investing From Scratch – Part 2

    1. Emily says:

      How do you feel about upgrading your hardware so soon? I’m not so comfortable with it but like Kyle said he’s pushing me to do it!

  3. I’m a little disappointed with the price point of the 4g plan. I thought they’d be cheaper! For that price, it’s only $5 cheaper than my Virgin Mobile unlimited.

    I would have switched but since I just bought my phone last September, I think I’m going to wait another year and a half before I can justify switching again.
    Tara @ Streets Ahead Living recently posted..A financial confession

    1. Emily says:

      When you have that $19/month anchor, it is disappointing to hear that the 4G price is double. But I think we need to remember that RW’s plan and Virgin Mobile’s and the other creative carriers are still amazingly cheaper than Verizon, ATT, etc. We have that reminder every month because Kyle’s phone is a conventional one ($70/month after lots of tricks and discounts) while I have RW. It would still be less expensive for our two plans together to both get RW 4G over what we have now, which would be an upgrade for both of the services.

      That’s how I feel, too. I got my phone just a year ago and I don’t think that’s long enough to last with it before upgrading.

  4. Ashley says:

    I’m seriously considering RW… I pay $65 for my plan right now (and that’s on my dad’s business account) so even paying the max of $40 would be great! My only concern is that I have an iPhone soooo I’m a little nervous about giving that up… (#firstworldproblems)

    Thanks for an awesome overview of the new plans & phone!!
    Ashley recently posted..Quarter of a Century

    1. Emily says:

      Yeah, I know some people can’t part with their Apple devices. :) Kyle is my personal expert on all things gadget-y and he did buy the iPhone 5 last fall over the new Windows phone and the Galaxy S3, but he considers the Moto X a competitor alongside all the currently available phones. So it really depends if you like the iPhone for its capabilities, which you likely could find elsewhere, or just because it’s made by Apple, which obviously can’t be replicated! Kyle actually was pretty remorseful when he gave up his Android phone for the iPhone 5.

      1. Ashley says:

        haha, I think I fall into the camp of liking it just because it’s made by Apple… but that’s good to know that he considers the Moto X a competitor! I need to look into this ASAP :)

    2. Leigh says:

      If you really want to keep your iPhone and you’re currently on Sprint, you could bring it over to Ting, which has somewhat competitive pricing to Republic Wireless, depending on your usage. I also know a ton of people with GSM iPhones who pay $30/month for 100 minutes and unlimited text and data on T-Mobile prepaid.
      Leigh recently posted..Two Year Mortgage Pay-off Plan

  5. Cash Rebel says:

    Great review Kyle. I’m a bit disappointed that I just signed a 2 yr contract on my current plan. I wanted to go RW before, but I didn’t want an outdated android phone. I like the idea of using freedom pop in conjunction with the wifi only plan, but I haven’t figured out a way to do it hassle free. Maybe if you drove a lot you could keep it always charging in your car. Or solar panels on your backpack, haha.
    Cash Rebel recently posted..The Shop-Local/DIY challenge

  6. We’re currently with PTel (about $10/mo, pay as you go) and don’t think we’d be able to make the numbers work with Republic Wireless. But I think if we had it to do over, we might consider paying a bit more for a plan that allowed us to have unlimited everything…

    I’m glad they’re getting a new phone though!
    Done by Forty recently posted..They Want to Help You…

    1. Emily says:

      It makes sense to me to only pay for the usage you need. I definitely don’t need the unlimited data but it’s nice to not have to think about it or to try to guess at my usage levels when I’m picking a plan.

  7. […] through our referral link, which gives us and the signer-upper a $19 account credit.  Now that RW has released an up-to-date phone, the Moto X, I’m hoping to see another round of signups.  I don’t count this as blog income because it’s […]

  8. […] Update 1: If you sign up for Republic wireless through my referral link, we both get $19 – one month’s service (before taxes) for free!  How awesome is that? (I wrote this review before this program was introduced, so the review remains unbiased.)  Update 2: Republic Wireless is now offering the Moto X! […]

  9. […] “republic wireless 2013 review” and “republic wireless reviews 2013” – Woo hoo!  I love that people are interested in Republic Wireless, particularly now that they have a hot new smartphone available. […]

  10. […] are gearing up for some major spending.  As soon as we get back to Durham I am going to order the Moto X to upgrade my Republic Wireless phone – I’m so excited!  We’re also narrowing down what kind […]

  11. […] By the way, if you use my referral link to sign up for Republic Wireless, we both get a $19 account credit!  Republic Wireless offers plans ranging from $5 to $40 per month. […]

  12. […] Mrs. Pop from Planting Our Pennies explains how Ting works, another MNVO on the Sprint network with a different pricing structure than Republic Wireless. […]

  13. […] finally convinced me to upgrade to the Moto X on my Republic Wireless service.  We upgraded my plan to the unlimited talk/text/date with 3G for […]

  14. […] Please also read my past posts on Republic Wireless – when I first signed up for the beta wave, a review of the service several months into using it, and when Republic Wireless announced the release of the Moto X. […]

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