Republic Wireless leaves beta — pre-order your wireless freedom today!


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]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. At least they don’t only have the original Optimus

    1. I thought that was a pretty nice phone for what it is, especially for the type of network Republic is trying to be. I’d be more inclined to take that over the Defy XT.

      1. i’ve still got the optimus (on RW) and i loathe it. if RW weren’t ‘interesting’ and cheap i’d have left long ago because of this dam phone. it stinks. the defy should be much much better, but still not high end enough to completely satisfy. if have any complaints about RW it’s that i’ve got no “great” phone to choose from (oh and i hate CDMA networks).

  2. I’d love to see this company take off! I’m so sick of paying $90+ a month for what I use and I’m sick of this just being “normal”.

  3. Another piggy back carrier, they shouldn’t be around too long! LoL!

    1. if by piggy-back you mean MVNO… then you’ve got an odd outlook on the market. MVNO business has been growing steadily over the years and all MVNOs (not just RW) are in a good growth position right now since the public is finally starting to accept the idea that the network is just a dumb pipe. Sprint and to a lesser extent T-Mobile have restructured their businesses very specifically to enable more MVNOs; they sell in bulk to a single entity and let THEM deal with all the whiners and anti-power-users.

      1. I think the business of MVNO’s is working just fine, but Republic Wireless’s plan seems a bit risky for them. Personally, I want to have my cell phone plan from a company that owns their own frequency and towers. MVNO’s are always at the mercy of the MNO’s, and I’m sure they have contracts with the MNO’s that have to be occasionally renewed. If an MNO is selling plans with capped data limits, and the MVNO is selling plans with unlimited data limits, how long do you think that will last? Sooner or later the MNO will start charging the MVNO more, and the MVNO will have no choice but to chance their plans or pricing.

        Another thing I wonder about MVNO’s is with grandfathered plans. For instance, if you have an unlimited plan with an MVNO, and then the MNO changes their terms with the MVNO, the MVNO would have to change your plan or else it would really be costing them.

  4. I would like to be optimistic about this, but the idea of just using WiFi wherever you are is not realistic. I know there are a lot of wide-open WiFi networks now, but as time goes on I expect this to gradually change. Manufacturers of home routers are making it easier for people encrypt their home networks. And with businesses, I expect to see them gradually shifting from wide-open networks to sign-in based systems in order to track who is using their network.

    Frankly, I’m surprised at how easy it is these days for someone to hop on a random open network and be truly anonymous online. You would think that the government would be stepping up to do something about this.

    So what this Republic Wireless comes down to is a company riding on Sprint’s network which (I presume) does not provide data service.

    1. Well, let me add that it’s not clear to me whether or not they are providing data service through Sprint’s network. I would presume they are not in order to keep costs down. But if they ARE providing data service…. Hah! Don’t expect it to keep going like this for long.

      1. they do provide unlimited data included in the cost of service. the only major feature they DON’T support is MMS. personally, i don’t like MMS anyways, but that’s what is missing with RW. i don’t know how the unlimited data part isn’t clear to you guys, it’s plastered all over their website. maybe for the cost you’re just not willing to believe that data can possibly be included, but that’s another story entirely.

        1. Yeah, I see it now. I’m not sure how I missed it the other day. I will say, that’s a good deal. But it seems to me they are hoping that users won’t use much data through them. I don’t think that will work out though, and ultimately they will have to either raise their cost of set data limits in order to stay in business.

    2. unlimited data is included. but it’s on Sprint’s CDMA network which, despite all the 3G marketing Sprint and Verizon have done over the years, is really just a 2G network. so it’s not in the 10’s of megabits like 3G on t-mobile or 3G on AT&T, but it’s the same pseudo-3G you get with Sprint and Verizon. and they are already profitable with the user base they currently have, as stated in the CEO’s presentation to NC State (public on youtube, google it if you like)

      1. Well there is a clear difference between Verizon’s 2G and 3G service. 2G connections could get around 100Kbit/sec, while 3G connections could get around 1Mbit/sec.

  5. In my opinion this just grabs suckers that will end up not being able to place a call
    I mean straight talk uses att and or Verizon for $45 unlimited
    How cheap are you that you need wifi to call?
    My experience on wifi calling was pretty bad as well and that was on sprint

    1. i’m not sure how your choice of carrier (Sprint) mattered when you played with wifi calling in the past… for what it’s worth, every Google Voice call already goes through the same network that RW uses – as a Bandwidth.com subsidiary, and a sibling to Phonebooth.com, RW should be able to perform as well as Google Voice does (your local wifi not withstanding). DISCLOSURE: i’ve been with RW just over a year (still have the optimus)but i’m not an employee and my opinions are my own. as a long time CDMA hater, RW is good enough and cheap enough to keep my business. and it’s the wifi calling that makes them better, never mind cheaper, than other MVNOs.

  6. It works in the new york area. Optimum has almost 5000 free hot spots in this area. I have 3 phones on my wireless plan with 1gb of data and I haven’t gone over yet because 80% of the time WiFi works. 7-16mb speeds not bad.

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