Republic Wireless

If you haven't heard of Republic Wireless, we don't blame you. A new carrier that's been sitting in the ether beta for a while now, Republic is trying to take the traditional model of smartphone service and mix things up a bit. The basic premise of the service is that you get a device that's been specially made to utilize Wifi whenever possible for data, calls and texts, and then essentially "roam" on a cellular network when you're out of Wifi range. Probably the most interesting part of the service is that it's just $19 per month with no contract for unlimited calls, texts and data usage.

Originally launched in beta with the offering of an LG Optimus One, the service is now open to the public with a Motorola Defy XT as the device of choice. It's going to be for sale from Republic for $249.99 -- again without a contract -- with a $10 start-up fee. Not the most high-end device, but considering the monthly cost you can see what market Republic Wireless is trying to target here. Hopefully as the service expands, more devices will become available.

Sound interesting to you? Take a look at the source links below to learn more about Republic.

Source: Republic Wireless; Republic Devices

 

Reader comments

Republic Wireless exits beta and welcomes device pre-orders

15 Comments

Republic Wireless only works with the phones they provide, because they need special devices that work with their unconventional network situation.

That sucks. I wonder how long it's going to take for them to gain a large enough user base to attract the attention of the big manufacturers to get their latest phones. I would love a N4 on this.

Wouldn't work - they use the Sprint network. The current Nexus 4 is GSM only and will not work on Sprint's CDMA network.

That's what they say.

But I suspect it took a lot of breaking of standards to so horribly hack the standard SIP protocols so that they could lock it down to their own devices.

The monthly price is fair for an DID phone number and unlimited calls, especially since they are going to have to pay cellular data charges when people are not in wifi range. Most SIP providers want nearly that, but they don't pick up any part of your cell bill.

So you could get the same calling features by signing up with any sip providers that offers you a phone number and a sip-to-pots gateway. But you would still have to pay a data plan.

As soon as they remove the contrived restriction to use their phone they could become seriously popular.

The bloom is definitely off the Republic Wireless rose due to $350 high-end devices from Google which run on a number of prepaid networks.

Wait, does that mean that if you are Republic user, when you are travelling in another country, as long as you have WiFi connected, you can make and receive calls just like you're in the US? That sounds awesome.

SIP (Voip) is free Android to Android anywhere in the world.
Its called Internet Calling.

All you need a way to call land-lines, and for land lines to call you.
For that you need a SIP gateway, and a Direct Inward Dial number.
These are dirt cheap. Way cheaper than $19/mo.

But if your Family or GF is overseas, and you both have android or iphone calling
is free.

Except you haven't read how Republic Wireless works.

When you're on a Wi-Fi call, and leave Wi-Fi the call is handed off to cellular.

They developed hardware and software to make this work. But I'd be glad to see the phone you developed that does the same thing. Then I'll buy the phone for less than $259, and use Sprint cellular for less than $19/month.

And "SIP" or "VOIP" has nothing to do with Android or iOS. Nothing. Those terms signify voice calls made using the internet instead of standard phone lines.

This tempts me now that my usage has skewed heavily to WiFi. Just a few months ago I was scoffing at this premise.

Sprint isn't great here but it's tolerable again and improving. Certainly good enough for $19.99 a month.