Remember Republic Wireless? It’s the hot new carrier in town that promises to alleviate you from the burden of overpriced cellular plans and contracts. Through technology called “Hybrid Calling,” Republic can offer unlimited talk, text and data for just $19 — that is borderline criminal (the other carriers would have you think as much, anyway).
Hybrid calling banks on you having a WiFi connection at home, at your workplace and in other public spots to alleviate the strain on the cellular network. It’ll use your WiFi connection to do all its dirty work when you’re connected, and will seamlessly hand-off to Sprint’s network to take care of things when you can’t seem to find some WiFi waves to surf on.
Well, the service — which was previously in a rather “open” beta — is now going to launch on a wide scale. The service is now open to anyone who wishes to use it, and pre-sales have started today. The only phone available right now is the Motorola DEFY XT, and you can walk away with one for $250. The devices are said to be shipping mid-December, and your first monthly charge of $19 won’t take place until your order has shipped.
Unfortunately, this network is not BYOD (bring your down device): currently this is the only phone you can use so bringing your shiny new Nexus 4 over won’t work out. This will be a deal breaker for many, I’m sure, but with a service as ambitious as Republic’s and in such an early state of infancy you have to deal with this sort of stuff as they evolve over time.
The future might not be too bright, anyway. Since Republic is in bed with Sprint for cellular coverage they could be tied to CDMA technology for eternity. Unless they begin renting spectrum for their own private use and have the capital to provide the necessary infrastructure it’s wise not to hold your breath for a GSM-based incarnation of Republic anytime soon.
This service will still be of value to many people, though. For starters, if your child absolutely needs a cell phone then why not get them a cheap one with a cheap monthly cost? It may not be the phone they want, but if they’re not buying it then they shouldn’t have any complaints.
And if you just want to get with the smartphone times without having to incur the bloated cost that tends to come with them in this day and age I can’t see why you would pass this up. There are other affordable options out there, of course, but you couldn’t touch these prices for this monthly price even on the great Straight Talk plan.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and want to order a DEFY XT be sure to remember that you can only order up to four. Republic will urge you to get WiFi access in your home, but they aren’t denying folks who don’t have it like they were originally rumored to be doing. You can pre-order it over at RepublicWireless.com starting today.
[via Republic Wireless]