I signed up with Republic Wireless almost two years ago and got my first phone with them over a year ago, so I am very familiar with the service. Until last month, I used the Motorola Defy XT, but in January I upgraded to the Moto X. If you’re not familiar with Republic Wireless’s low-cost (as low as $5 per month!) service plans, skip ahead to that section and circle back to read about the Moto X.
The Moto X
In short, the new phone is wonderful. Because the Defy XT was my first smartphone, I hardly knew what I was missing working with that older technology! But I now understand why many people were reluctant to sign up for RW if they had previously had an iPhone or similarly capable smartphone. By adding the Moto X to its options, Republic Wireless pushed its hardware into the present day.
I’m not a gadgets person so I’m not going to be able to tell you all the specs of this device – you’ll have to look them up elsewhere if you are interested. But I can tell you that I love using the phone. Even Kyle has been eyeing my Moto X with envy, though he has an iPhone 5. There is plenty of storage space, the battery life is sufficient, the screen is large (but not comically so), the camera works well (the Moto X took all the photos in this post except the one of our car), and the phone responds swiftly. It even comes with a built-in typing program similar to Swype, which we dearly missed when Kyle switched from an Android to the iPhone. I’m spending a lot more time on my phone now and even keep it on my person for much of the day (this is a first for me!) because I enjoy it so much – maybe that’s not a good thing!
One of the drawbacks of using RW is that you can’t bring any phone onto the service like you can with Ting, for example (read my friend Mrs. Pop’s review of Ting, another low-cost alternative carrier). That has kept many iPhone devotees and those who need the latest and greatest away. But the Moto X can go toe-to-toe with any smartphone currently on the market. If you were holding back on signing up for RW because of the out-of-date Defy XT, please reconsider jumping on the bandwagon with the Moto X! And if you are ready to upgrade your hardware, you should check out Republic Wireless’s services. Even with having to buy the phone up front (the Moto X is $299), using Republic Wireless is much less expensive than having even a stripped-down plan from a major carrier.
We were very excited when we first heard about Republic Wireless and its business model. Of course, we wanted to get away from our high-cost typical plans with the major carriers. But more compelling was our belief that Republic Wireless’s way of providing cell service is what all the companies should have been doing all along.
Republic Wireless works by utilizing wireless networks whenever possible and going over the Sprint cell network when not. To use the service, you have to register at least one wireless network (home or work are the most likely). The great benefit is that there is effectively no limit on the amount of voice, text, and data you can use (the limit is 5 G/month). Because so many of the users are under wireless networks nearly all day long (like me!), it’s very inexpensive for Republic Wireless to use the Sprint network for the remaining voice/text/data needed and they pass on that savings to their customers.
Some people think that you should only sign up for Republic Wireless if you are under a wireless network for most of the day, but that’s not true. It all depends on the quality of the Sprint service in your area (it’s very good in mine). I do like that I’m under my work or home wireless networks almost all day because the data speed is quite fast, but the service would still work if you were out most of the day. I frequently call, text, and use data when I’m out and about and it works great. Of course, your experience will be different if the Sprint network is not robust in your area, but it may still be valuable for you to consider the $5 or $10 per month plans (below).
I’ll also tell you some of the minor issues I’ve had with Republic Wireless. The Sprint network, while good in my area, does not provide as complete coverage as Verizon does (however I think it has better coverage than my previous carrier, AT&T). The one time I tried to send an MMS message it failed (not sure why), though Republic Wireless says that the Moto X can do it. (Update 3/9/2014: Since this review, I have been able to receive MMS messages.) With the Defy XT, I experienced dropped calls when moving out of a wireless network. I have heard that the switchover from wireless to cell is much improved with the Moto X, but I haven’t tested it out for myself yet (aren’t we all making a lot fewer phone calls these days?). (Update 3/9/2014: I have now twice moved from wireless to cell coverage while on a call and both transitioned without a hitch!) For me, these slight problems have virtually no impact on my life, but you should consider them alongside the benefits of the service.
Republic Wireless has recently developed a tiered service plan to give its customers even more options to spend less money on their phone services. All of these plans are no-contract:
- $5/month – voice, text, and data only when under wireless
- $10/month – voice and text over wireless or Sprint, data over wireless only
- $25/month – voice, text, and data available over wireless or Sprint 3G
- $40/month – voice, text, and data available over wireless or Sprint 4G LTE
I have the $25/month plan right now, but we want to experiment with some of the even lower-cost plans. You can change your plan up to twice per month, so for instance if the $5 or $10/month plan works for you normally but you are traveling for part of the month and want to upgrade, you can easily do so. Taxes and fees will be in addition to those prices – so in my area, the $25/month service comes out to be $28.80/month for new users. (I was able to transfer my phone number, in case you were wondering.)
One more note: Republic Wireless has a 30-day guaranteed return policy. So if you order your phone and decide that it’s not going to work for you for whatever reason, you can return it, not be out any money except for shipping, and at least be satisfied that you gave it a shot!
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.
How to Sign Up
If you are interested in signing up with Republic Wireless, I would be honored if you would use the banner below to do so. Thank you for supporting EPF!
My enthusiasm for this service has not been influenced by the possibility of commissions – in fact, my first (very positive) review of Republic Wireless was published before the referral and advertising programs even existed. I’m just excited to show others how they can escape the high-cost quicksand that the major cell companies have them in and receive an excellent service and product for a reasonable price. And who doesn’t want more value for their dollar?
Would Republic Wireless or another MNVO work for you? Are you satisfied with the service you’re getting for the price you’re paying? Do you chase the latest and greatest smartphone technology?