Republic Wireless: Unlimited Talk, Text, 3G Data for $25/Month, Moto E for $99

motoeSeveral updates. Republic Wireless uses WiFi coverage to place mobile phone calls and texts whenever possible, saving both you and them money. They have quickly become a popular frugal option for cell service. When WiFi is unavailable, you fall back onto Sprint cell towers. No contracts, but you must buy a phone specially programmed with their WiFi software. Some recent updates:

  • Moto E. This newly-released value phone costs just $99. It won’t compete with a cutting-edge phone and is 3G-only, but it will do nearly everything you need – email, text, Facebook, internet. The reviews are actually pretty positive – read the Engadget and Verge reviews. Looks like the weakest point is the camera.
  • Moto X. Their premium phone is the Moto X at $299, which has 4G capabilities and also has solid reviews at a higher price point. See Engadget and Anandtech reviews.
  • Switch between plans for free. You can switch between any of the new plan options, up to twice per month, with no penalty. This means you could upgrade to cellular data for a week or a month if you need it, or downgrade to the $5 or $10 plan if you are traveling or don’t plan to use any data that month. Nice flexibility, and you can switch plans directly from your phone without calling customer service.
  • MMS and text short codes now supported. MMS (multimedia/picture texting) is now officially working with all major carriers and most regional carriers. You can also now text shortcodes.

Plan Options

Here’s a new graphic that explains the plans pretty succinctly:

  • $5/month = WiFi only. This is basically like VoIP home service, but on a smartphone. You must route all calls and text through WiFi.
  • $10/month = WiFi + Talk + Text. Unlimited talk and text, no cellular data.
  • $25/month = WiFi + Talk + Text + 3G Data. Unlimited talk, text, 3G data.
  • $40/month = WiFi + Talk + Text + 4G Data. Unlimited talk, text, 3G/4G data.

Prices don’t included taxes and surcharges. Below is information quoted about their Acceptable Use Policy:

Our policy is targeted toward the top 1% of users, based on mobile data consumption —that means users who consume more that 5GB of cellular data or 100MB of roaming data. The vast majority of our users will never reach these limits. In fact, the first time you hit this threshold, we give you a free pass —once in any six-month period we’ll allow you to exceed the limit— and your speed won’t be reduced. If you hit the threshold twice within a six month period, your speed will be reduced to 2G speeds for the remainder of the month of billing. We’ll make sure you’re aware if your usage starts to approach either benchmark.

My Thoughts
I think Republic Wireless has found a good balance between offering “unlimited” data and still making sure people use WiFi at home/work whenever possible as that is critical to their business model. If you remember, their initial limit back in 2011 was about 500 mb of data, which many (including me) thought was too restrictive. Now, it’s 10 times as much at 5 GB of data, and you get a free pass every 6 months. I like that they are continually improving their service in a relatively open and transparent manner.

With the announcement of their new $99 Moto E phone, I finally bought one with the goal of letting my parents use it (and play with the technology myself…). Their previous phone was a Virgin Mobile Kyocera flip phone, so this should be a huge upgrade. They do have an iPad, so it shouldn’t be too hard to pick up. Hopefully, they can cycle between the $10 and upgrade to the $25 plan when they travel. I don’t think they need data on a daily basis. Learn more at RepublicWireless.com.

Comments

  1. Hi I was wondering how this phone plan would compare to the grandfathered SERO plan I currently have with Sprint. I have 500 minutes, unlimited talk and text for $40 a month with upgraded phones that could handle 3G. Trying to figure out if this would be a better deal for me or not. Thanks!

  2. an additional note, to qualify for the $100 rebate, the phone must be purchased
    before june 30, 2014, and the phone/rebate form needs to be sent in within 30 days of purchase.

    https://www.mototradeup.com/?q=terms_and_conditions

  3. Their rate plans look really affordable! They could give these other MVNOs a run for their money if they offered coverage from one of the GSM providers but at these same prices.

    @Heather – A couple of things to consider:

    1)If you ever go to a 4g phone, Sprint might add a $10/mo Premium Data charge.
    2)Republic offers coverage from Sprint any so you probably aren’t gaining or losing anything there as far as coverage. Exception being if Republic does not allow roaming and you need roaming.
    3)Obviously Republic’s phone selection is very limited.

  4. I tried RW a while back, and it was a nightmare. Also, they don’t let you resell the proprietary phone. So if you try them, you are left with a brick once the 30 day return period is up.

    • Hi Clocks,

      I’m sorry to hear that. But I’ve been using Republic Wireless for 1.5 year (2 lines/$45 unlimited talk/data) and have nothing but praise. Of course the phone is Motorola Defy nothing fancy. But if you don’t have to get the iphone the RW is very economical choice currently IMO.

  5. Can you throw some light on number porting options?

    Thanks!

  6. @clocks – So you can’t resell to another RW user? Good to know. Since it is an Android phone, I wonder if there is some way to hack/root it and install another OS on it that would allow it to be used on Sprint or another Sprint MVNO.

    @Nanda – I’m pretty sure by law now you can port your existing number over to and out of Republic Wireless as needed.

  7. RW sucks… The DefyXT is the worst phone I’ve ever used. There are taxes and fees ($3 on the $19 plan, or 15%) on the plan, unlike any prepaid you can refill with cards. In addition to no taxes and fees, refilling with cards offers huge discounts on ebay/amazon/various websites.

    RW can take their $300 no-resale value brick phone and take a hike. I have a $65 Samsung Fascinate that (with Cyanogen) runs loops around the DefyXT. Unlimited everything + 3g on Verizon StraightTalk runs $33 (after discounts) and it sure beats $29 (post taxes/fees) unlimited Sprint RW 3g on their proprietary phones.

  8. it says you have to do the Motorola trade up within 30 days of purchase of the old phone , which is not possible with option 1, considering the Moto X doesn’t go on sale until November. Thoughts?

  9. JohnnyH in your post dated 11/3/13 you state: “Unlimited everything + 3g on Verizon StraightTalk runs $33 (after discounts) and it sure beats $29 (post taxes/fees) unlimited Sprint RW 3g on their proprietary phones.” Can you are anyone else explain how you are getting straight talk with unlimited everything + 3g for $33 (after discounts)? If this is possible I guess RW starts not to look that good.

  10. You can now sell Republic wireless phones if the service does not work for you. Republic wireless will activate the sold phones for a new member and it’s coming some time in December. So your phone is no longer a brick.
    Republic wireless provides roaming and they do not charge extra for roaming. Roaming is free.

  11. I LOVE Republic wireless. I have been with them since Beta testing. I have had ZERO issues with the phones or the plan. I have traveled all over the country and more times than not I will have service and those with other phones (and service companies) can not get a signal. I drove from Texas to Washington State and I was the only person (out of 6) that never lost a signal, even traveling through mountain passes!! Looking forward to my new Moto X, and especially the new $9.00 plan (got that 10% discount for being a current customer).

  12. What, exactly, is Republic giving you for $5/month? Any disconnected phone works on Wifi only.

  13. Naveen Says:
    November 16th, 2013 at 1:40 am

    What, exactly, is Republic giving you for $5/month? Any disconnected phone works on Wifi only.

    It looks like wifi only. Which means if you buy either one of their 2 phones you can make unlimited calls and text plus surf the internet where wifi is available. If you are in a area where there is no internet service then nothing works.

  14. @John – Good to know about the phones. Quick peek on eBay shows the Defy XT selling for about $50. The Defy XT started at $199 but costs $99 new now.

    @Toni – The $10 plan is definitely a nice price for unlimited talk and text. You could replace your landline with that plan.

    @Naveen – From what I can tell, they are letting you use their proprietary software which makes calling and texting (MMS included) via WiFi easy-to-use. Anyone can technically do VoIP for free with Google Voice but it takes a little tinkering. Also it’s a nice option if you just wanted to downgrade for a month if you didn’t need your phone for a while.

  15. Moto X was starting shipping. this phone has custom ROM not sure if the hardware itself has been changed. Almost no value if sell in ebay. But you can ask RW to give you a 19.99 discount or service credit.

  16. In the weeks to come I think I will purchase RW and give it a try since they have a 30 day money back return. I will report back later with my review.

  17. We’ve had our Republic Motorola smart phone and discount plan of $10/ month since November. We couldn’t be more happy with the service. Sprint provides the coverage and there have been no issues with lost calls or interrupted service. We were even able to port our old phone# over to this new plan.

  18. Tried RW in July 2014. I think they got better about quality but I still decied to not stay with them. In addition to poor (in our area) Sprint quality you get very good service on WiFi but you’re paying essentially for Google Voice features. Even worse limits apply:
    * no international texting (same as GV)
    * no international calling at all
    * no call forwarding and other “phone line” features

    Also note that Motorola runs promotions occasionally and you can get same phones for better prices. You can hook them up to Google Voice and get what RW sells for $5/mo for free. Or you can use your Vonage account and get slightly more for free on first line. I never tried that part though.

  19. I was thinking of switching to Republic Wireless when my Sprint contract is up in November. Thanks for the comments both positive and negative.

  20. Mohit Singh says:

    I love RW and have had them for me and my wife for close to 9 months now. Have Moto X for both of us

  21. I’ve had Republic Wireless for a year and you get what you pay for. I’ve had the Moto X for 11 months and just got the Moto E last week. When walking/driving away from Wifi the switch to cellular service sometimes takes forever and causes dropped calls. Also, the Sprint coverage is shoddy even though Sprint coverage should be available. But hey, I pay $27 a month so I put up with the annoyances.

  22. Frugal Guy says:

    I got to say I too LOVE RW. I’ve been using Republic Wireless for 1.5 year (2 lines/$45 unlimited talk/data) with Motorola Defy which is nothing fancy. Prior to that we were using Sprint and paying ~$80 for two lines no data. RW is ridiculously cheap. I researched quite a bit before joining RW and now fully satisfied. We live near a metro and no complaints about the service. I quietly laugh at my friends/relatives who pay between $100 and $150 with 2 lines & iphones. Of course iphone is their priority.

    But again when do you stop your upgrade cycle with iphone? Compared with the latest iphone 6 & 6+ the old iphones are looking like a pre-historic relics to me. When do you get off the iphone hampster wheel? Of course I understand people have priorities.

    But if you don’t have/need to get the iphone the RW is very economical choice currently IMO.

  23. Have been using the Moto X for almost a year, and I’ve been largely satisfied with it. The phone itself is great, cell coverage is usually ok, and I love being able to use wifi particularly in office buildings with bad/no reception. However, the low price comes along with low levels of official support. I’ve lately been having occasional issues receiving MMS texts (causes the messaging app to crash), and while this is a known/long-standing issue (with forum discussion on their site going back a couple years), the official line apparently is to use a dial-code-and-reboot trick every time. Cheap deals are often going to come with some headaches, so just be aware of that.

  24. Any thoughts on lyca mobile? Seems better value with 4G data and unlimited international calls to 5 numbers.

  25. This might be a silly question but do you have to buy the phone directly through RW? Or can you purchase the phone separately through somewhere else (like Amazon) and just get the monthly plan through RW?

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