Confession: I’m a Republic Wireless Evangelist

I’m sure that many of you have never even heard of Republic Wireless. But given that I’ve been a customer for more than a year now, I have a lot to say about the benefits and drawbacks of going with a non-traditional cell phone plan. And I tend to talk about it with anyone who will listen.

Republic Wireless is a relative newcomer in the wireless cell phone space but it has garnered a large following based upon it’s ridiculously low rates. In general, Republic Wireless configures their phones so that your calls are made over wifi wherever possible. When you’re not near wifi, your calls are made over the Sprint network. They save a ton of money by leveraging the free wifi (and thus not touching cell phone towers) and they pass some of those savings along to you.

The most basic plan available is a wifi only plan which basically means you have unlimited talk, text, and data over a wifi network only. That means when you’re not near wifi (while driving comes to mind), you’ll have no service. That plan may work for some, but in this day and age, I do believe having a working cell phone with you at all times is a safety requirement, even though all cell phones do have the ability to call 911, regardless of service plan.

Their other plan starts at $10 per month for unlimited talk and text anywhere. When you’re near wifi, your calls and texts will be over wifi. But when you’re away from wifi, you calls and texts will be over the Sprint network. Then they give you the option of buying data in blocks from there. 1/2 of a GB for use over the course of your billing month is $7.50. 1 GB of data for use over the month is $15. There is no requirement to buy data if you don’t want it. That’s where we fall and where I think many people can fall when they really take a look at how often they are not near wifi and need the data.

You can’t go anywhere nowadays without running into multiple “free wifi” spots at restaurants, hotels, schools, libraries, and coffee shops. I’ve been without data for over a year now and the only time I don’t have wifi is when I’m in the car. I had developed the bad habit of checking things that were not necessary at red lights, etc. I think fellow drivers are much safer now that I no longer have the temptation to check anything while driving!

When we have visitors, I expect them to ask me for my wifi password so that they are able to stay connected without using their precious data. And I hope that they are as generous to me in return when I visit them.

But, if you must have data, adding $7.50 or even $15 to your plan (to total $17.50 or $25 before taxes, respectively) is significantly cheaper than what the traditional cell phone companies charge. And if you don’t use the full 1/2 GB or 1 GB in the month, you get the difference that you didn’t use refunded to you. The math involved in that refund is a little complicated, but a great benefit nonetheless.

For those of you concerned with the speed of the data, if you’re in a 4G area and have a 4G LTE enabled phone, you’ll be connected to the 4G network. Otherwise you’ll be connected to the 3G network. Bottom line, by comparison to the traditional wireless services, you’re basically guaranteed significant savings by transitioning to Republic Wireless, even if you need data.

Now to the downsides. And I only see two downsides. One, the choices of phones is non-existent. They have two (well three if you count the Moto g, certified pre-owned option). And they are Motorola’s. The “basic phone” is the Moto e which is more than sufficient for many basic users. And the higher end phone is the Moto x which has most of the bells and whistles more expert users have come to expect. You can compare and contrast the phones here.

So, for those of you who cannot live without an iPhone, Republic Wireless may not be for you. I encourage you, however, to give it some considerable thought. I was an iPhone junky but couldn’t justify the significant monthly cost difference and I’ve been incredibly pleased with my Moto x. Like with all phones there are the occasional ID10T errors or unexplainable happenings, but their impact on my daily use is basically nonexistent.

The second downside is that you have to buy the phone. And they’re not cheap. The Moto e is $129 and the Moto x is $299. There is no way to bring your existing phone into a Republic Wireless plan unless that phone was used by another Republic Wireless user and they’ve given it to you. But the return on your investment is only a few months, depending on which phone you’ve chosen and how much your current plan is costing you each month.

For our family, the decision is simple. Republic Wireless rocks and for our two cell phones we pay a total of $23.66 a month, including taxes. A far cry for the approximately $100 we used to spend. I also must note that Republic Wireless isn’t the only alternative wireless plan out there. I’ve heard great things about Ting and even somewhat positive things about Straight Talk.

So, if you’ve had enough with ridiculous wireless bills, please take a look at these alternatives and see what kind of impact (if any) these money savers will have on your lifestyle. My guess is that any compromise you may have to make will be justified by the savings you reap.

Spread the word!
Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Facebook

Our Frugal Life