[BYOP] Republic Wireless Just Got Better

Category: Telephony

I've written about and recommended Republic Wireless as a way to save money on your mobile phone bill. They've recently made some changes to their plans and offerings which may save you even more. Read on for the scoop...

Bring Your Own Phone to Republic Wireless

For several years, I have recommended hybrid WiFi/cellular phone services to save you money. In case you missed that introduction, hybrid phones use available WiFi for phone calls whenever possible, switching to cellular networks only when the WiFi signal is absent or too weak for quality calls.

One of the best examples of hybrid calling is offered by Republic Wireless. This strategy of automatically switching between WiFi and cellular saves Republic money on the blocks of minutes it buys from carriers, and rewards customers who try to use WiFi as much as possible with lower monthly bills.

The Republic Wireless technology that switches you from WiFi to a cellular signal as needed is pretty cool. Republic says "Our Adaptive Coverage™ technology, enabled with Bonded Calling™, actually senses the quality of your phone’s connectivity over WiFi and uses available cellular data as back up to fill in any gaps in your conversation." In practice, that means you can walk from the bedroom to your garage, or from the kitchen to your car, and not drop a call. Your phone will seamlessly use the best combination of cellular and WiFi signals wherever you happen to be.

Hybrid Cellular

Republic Wireless is one of the pioneers in this arena, and the company is not resting on its laurels. In recent months, Republic has expanded its selection of phones, and now even lets you BYOP - “bring your own phone.” Read on to see what else is new from Republic Wireless.

From its launch in 2011, Republic sold only a handful of Motorola phones at close to full list price. The company uses proprietary circuitry to work its WiFi/cellular switch-offs as smoothly as possible, and it could only modify those few phones. But as of August 11, 2016, Republic is selling SIM cards that include their secret sauce, so users can just pop a Republic card into their existing phones to enjoy the savings of hybrids.

Your Choice: Buy or Bring?

Nine new Android phones have been added to Republic’s store, as well, including some of the most popular phones from Samsung. Here’s a list of new phones; in parentheses are the installment payments available through Republic’s financing affiliate:

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – $799 (starting at $48 a month)
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 – $699 (starting at $42 a month)
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 – $179 (starting at $11 a month)
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 – $549 (starting at $33 a month)
  • Nexus 6P – $499 (starting at $30 a month)
  • Nexus 5X – $349 (starting at $21 a month)
  • Moto X Pure Edition – $349 (starting at $21 a month)
  • Moto G4 – $199 (starting at $12 a month)
  • Moto G4 Plus – $299 (starting at $18 a month)

Republic has lowered its service plan prices as well. Formerly, the 1GB plan was $25 monthly; now it’s $20. The 2GB plan was $40 monthly; now it’s $30. A $45 per month 4GB plan replaces an older $55, 3GB plan. If you are a heavy data user, 6GB and 10GB data plans are available.

But on the downside, the company ended the innovative practice of crediting customers’ accounts with cash rebates for unused data blocks every month.

Will Hybrid Phone Service Work For You?

If you’re one of those people who uses the phone while walking down the street, riding in a taxi, or driving (shame on you!) a hybrid phone is probably not right for you, because WiFi isn’t consistently available under such conditions. You’ll end up using a lot of mobile data (more expensive for you) and a lot of cellular minutes (more expensive for Republic).

But for most of us, WiFi is steadily available at home and at work, where we spend 90 percent of our waking hours. You can also use the WiFi provided by Starbucks, Walmart, public libraries, and many other public places to make phone calls, download files, and use Web apps with a hybrid phone.

My understanding is that Republic Wireless uses either Sprint or T-Mobile for cellular service. So before committing to a switch, check with Republic Wireless to see which cellular provider they use in your area, and then make sure there's a strong signal available.

Have you tried Republic Wireless? Does a hybrid mobile phone plan make sense for you? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below…

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Most recent comments on "[BYOP] Republic Wireless Just Got Better"

Posted by:

Shawn Rosvold
22 Aug 2016

I have been with Republic Wireless for more than two years. When our Verizon contracts ended (costing us almost $200 a month) we signed up with Republic. Our current plan is $25 a month each for unlimited text, data, and voice with no contract. We signed up for the rebate program which cuts our bill if our cell data use is low. So last month, I paid $13 instead of $25. The service is terrific, and I highly recommend them.

Posted by:

22 Aug 2016

Per Shawn: How does one get the "rebate" plans now? Or are they only for those who have had Republic for "two years"?

I've been attempting to find this information on their website-- no luck. Just get sent back to sign up for one of the new plans.

Posted by:

22 Aug 2016

I've been using Republic Wireless for over a year. I bought their Moto X and am very pleased with it. My monthly bill has been averaging $12.50.

Posted by:

22 Aug 2016

@ Kaytee, Republic Wireless no longer has rebates as the above article states. Their plans are 15,20,30,45, 60 and 90 dollars a month. Pick the one that fits your needs.

Posted by:

22 Aug 2016


The following statement appears in the article. So I'd say you won't find "rebate" plans on the website.

"But on the downside, the company ended the innovative practice of crediting customers’ accounts with cash rebates for unused data blocks every month."

Posted by:

22 Aug 2016

I recently switched from AT&T to Consumer Cellular and save bundles. Instead of $110/mo my bill is $57.50, same plan, and CC uses AT&T towers, etc.

Posted by:

22 Aug 2016

How do I purchase BYOP sim card?

Posted by:

22 Aug 2016

"Have you tried Republic Wireless?"

Thanks to you Bob, YES I HAVE tried republic! IT IS GREAT. I pay 10 bucks a month plus 1 buck tax

my plan is wifi/cell for calls wifi only for data. the service is xlnt,

I even got to keep my old number.

Posted by:

22 Aug 2016

Just wondering how you check to find out how strong the Sprint or T Mobile signal is in your area before buying a phone.

EDITOR'S NOTE: You can check with a friend or neighbor who uses one of those carriers. Or ask at the local T-Mobile or Sprint store. But the latter may paint a rosier picture.

Posted by:

22 Aug 2016

We signed up for Republic Wireless about 3 years ago and have been saving really big bucks ever since. Our life style is a perfect fit. We mostly only use our phones to do data stuff at work and at home where the Wifi connections are fast. Occasionally when at a restaurant or motel or store or downtown, I'll tap into free Wifi to do data intensive stuff. Other than that we make phone calls from anywhere we want and still get a huge refund back each month. The average monthly cost for both our phones together usually totals out to around $26 per month... that's for 2 PHONES! Most people cannot believe it when I tell them how much we paid for unlimited text, phone and data... they look at me with a suspicious eye, meanwhile they are locked into a contract costing them $100 and more per month.

Posted by:

Charles Heineke
22 Aug 2016

I've been using Republic Wireless for about 18 months. It's been a great service on their own Moto X (1st Generation) phone. Being an early subscriber, I'm grandfathered into their innovative rebate program, where I get back a credit on my account each month for any date not used. That's no longer available for new customers, but their plans are lower than other carriers and start at only $15/month. Also, you won't have an armload of taxes. On my last bill I only paid $2.37 in taxes and nothing else except for my service. Other carriers often charge more for taxes and fees than my entire bill, which usually runs around $15/mo. or less. Since I use wi-fi most of the time, I use very little cellular, so I get a refund on that. Even with the new plans, which don't offer a refund, the cost is still very low. Since Republic is getting such good reviews from outside sources, you owe it to yourself to at least investigate it. They're now offering a Bring Your Own Phone program and you can use both GSM and CDMA services.

For Bruce (see above), you can learn about bringing your own phone and just buying a SIM card by visiting their FAQ page: https://community.republicwireless.com/docs/DOC-2912. You'll need to have one of the phones they specify on that page.

Posted by:

22 Aug 2016

A couple of months ago I switched to Google Project Fi that has pretty similar approach. They charge $20 for basic service with unlimited calls and texts plus $10 for every 1Gb of data with subtraction the amount of all unused data at next bill (you pay it in advance). This Project Fi is another mobile virtual network operator that uses T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular (and Three - outside of the US) and Wi-Fi (for calls like Republic Wireless). They claim to service in more than hundred countries outside of the US (but the rate for calls are 20 cent per minute). Since it's Google project, it tightly linked with other Google's services, like Google Voice, so now instead of listening voice mail I read transcripts of them. Obviously you need special phone - from Nexus family that I've got at sale for $249 (LG Nexus 5X with 32Gb memory). For years I used T-Mobile, so I don't feel any difference in quality, but pay way less (also saving some taxes that appeared since Jan 1, 2016 in California for month-to-month cell services). The Android updates come first here, the Android itself doesn't have any bloatware (except Google's own - if you are paranoid).

For now the only problem for me is to keep an eye at apps that are hungry for data, like Gasbuddy in my case that siphoned in background almost half Gb in one day until I caught that. Also I suspect they include into bill data that I use in Starbucks (now Wi-Fi to Starbucks comes from Google, so it's a kind of a grey area).

Switching was seamless - literally in second or less it went from T-Mobile to Fi. But if you want to transfer you cell number to Fi and if you have Google Voice number in your Google account, you'll lose it, so if you want to keep it, transfer it to another Google account before the switch.

So far so good, I had no problem with services nor quality. Soon I'll test it in vacation trip across the US from Niagara Falls back to Los Angeles, so will see.

Posted by:

22 Aug 2016

It was unclear to me from this article whether BYOP models were limited to those also sold by Republic. From the info on the website, it's now clear to me they are. very limited. That's too bad. No using my LG G3 with them.

Posted by:

22 Aug 2016

Straight Talk and Cricket are both still better deals and service. I know people that use Republic and the service is horrible and the price is still more than ST or Cricket.

Posted by:

Andrew Rein
22 Aug 2016

The Republic site says for BYOP: Only available on Android™ 6.0 Marshmallow.
See https://republicwireless.com/bring-your-own-phone/

Posted by:

22 Aug 2016

@dic ST and Cricket better deals and service ????? My wife has a Republic wireless plan that has never cost more than $14 per month in the last 2 years. The cheapest plan I could find at ST was $30. She's careful about only using data when on wifi but other than that texting and phone calls are excellent wherever she is. If you want phone and text and use very little data when out of wifi range, Republic is very inexpensive.

Posted by:

22 Aug 2016

I am on Tracfone. And pretty happy. I bought a Moto X Pure Edition Unlocked from Best Buy for $250.00. Using on Verizon Network.
$1.00 for the Sim Card Kit (Best Buy and Target)
1 year Airtime Card $100 that is triple the minutes. 400 = 1200 airtime minutes expires after 1 year. Then you need to buy another airtime card.
That is 1200 Voice, 1200 Data and 1200 Text.
And the minutes carry over. I am not a big talker so that is plenty for me. So it is about $8.50 a month.

Posted by:

Joe R.
23 Aug 2016

3 lines with Republic, ported in my home no. when other companies said I couldn't. Very satisfied with service & price, now thinking of new phone & even lower priced plan. Like it said, since most of our calls are made in WiFi range, no problem. Does eat up data if using GPS when traveling, though.

Posted by:

24 Aug 2016

Thanks, I'm looking into Republic now. Have Consumer Cellular and I think it is great, so far.
$15 1000 mins a month phone, I use aprox 300-600 mins. I don't gab for hours.
$5 per month for 500MB Data & 2000 texts a month. I do about 100 texts.Aprox 100MB.
Most times I am on Home or Work WIFI & Blue Tooth. Some times at a free WIFI place. Mostly on a PC for most of my work, entertaiment, browsing & social network.
Whilst driving, try not to use Cell Time except for phone calls which cost me nothing. But, I like that Republic deal.

Posted by:

15 Jun 2019

I've been with RW for years. My 1st phone under the original way of doing business (refund on any data not used) had to be replaced.

My new phone had to use the RW's new way of no refund for unused data.

Last month I traveled for 2 weeks in Europe and couldn't use my data or phone with the RW SIM card. But I was able to buy a SIM card for Europe since my Motorola phone from RW is unlocked. So I had over 800 mb left on my phone for data last month that under the original plan I would have had a refund.

This month, I'm traveling out West and am using more data than normal. I now have a little over 300mb left of my 1GB. And I have another trip to do out West for business. So I will probably buy for the 1st time another 1GB of data for $5.

I think RW should have honored the original plan for those who started with the company early on even if they did, like me, buy a new phone.

My only gripe with RW. Otherwise, I'm very happy. My bills are the $20 minimum plus my $3.97/mo (my local area) taxes. I use WiFi wherever I can to keep my data useage down.

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