Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless has been making waves the past couple of days with their new spin on the way a carrier works.  The plan is pure genius:

  • Buy an LG Optimus One and the first month's service for $199
  • Enter all the Wifi AP information for where you live, work, and play
  • Get unlimited voice, texts, and data for $19 a month

What's not to love, right?  On paper it seems the perfect solution, and people like myself who whine talk all the time about carrier "reform" here in the states should be in heaven.  And it's Android, so that's double the kickass factor.  But chances are, if you're a member of Android Central, it's not going to work for you.

Republic Wireless uses Wifi for all their services.  If we're to believe that Wifi is everywhere (like carriers who cap their data try to tell us), then it's a perfect situation.  Cheap, unlimited, and Android.  Unfortunately, Wifi isn't everywhere -- no matter what dudes in suits try to say.  So we have to look to the fine print, which reads a bit differently.  While not on Wifi, you're limited to 550 minutes, 150 SMS messages, and 300MB data monthly while on Republic Wireless' 3G network.  Go over those numbers, and you've violated Republic's fair use policy.  When that happens you hear from Republic (in their own words):

First, you’ll be reminded of the guidelines and to what extent you’ve crossed the fair use threshold. We’ll provide you with tips for reducing your cellular footprint and plenty of opportunity to get back on track. When we contact you about your usage, we’ll let you know how much time you have to correct your problem.

OK, so nobody is going to come to your house and break your legs or cut off your wife's pinky finger.  But I'm sure the next step involves you and Republic parting company.  I know I could burn through that SMS and data limit in a busy day out of the office, and I'm sure a lot of you guys can as well. 

It sounds like I'm bashing Republic, but I'm not.  I applaud what they're trying to do here, and I'm all warm and fuzzy inside with feelings that make me want to buy everyone involved a beer or two.  Changing the status quo needs baby steps, and Republic is on the right track.  I just wanted to make sure everyone takes the time to read the fine print and make sure the service is going to work for them.  As for myself, I'll have to wait for version 2.0.

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