• Go to page :
  • 1 2
  • Text Only
Voting History
rated:
Republic Wireless, a hybrid cell service that uses wifi as well as traditional phone networks for calling, finally opened up last week to the public after being in an "invitation only" beta phase for the past year (no more "waves" or waiting; anyone can join now and purchase a phone and service). Phones are expected to ship by mid-December.

Service is $19/month (plus applicable taxes, federal/states fees, etc.) for unlimited calls, texting, and data. If you decide that the service does not work for you, you may return the phone within 30 days for a full refund.

That being said, this service is not for everyone. A few things to know:

1. There is only one phone available (the Motorola dual-band Defy XT [Model 557D], which you must purchase from RW for $249). You cannot purchase a phone elsewhere and then use it with RW. They hope to add additional phones, but you shouldn't expect that to happen any time soon.
2. Customer service is "community" based, which means that the main avenue for assistance is posting on a message board and getting help from other members. There is no customer service phone number to call, although you can initiate help requests with RW online. If you need a lot of handholding when dealing with technology, RW is probably not a good match for you.
3. You must have access to the Sprint network to activate the phone (RW is based on the Sprint network).
4. They do not currently offer MMS (and, although they are working on this, it may never be a feature).
5. The Defy XT cannot be rooted (so, you will not be able to upgrade from Gingerbread, which comes installed, to Ice Cream Sandwich if you wish).
6. The Defy comes pre-loaded with a number of apps that cannot be removed at this point, making memory an issue for some users. An OTA update is expected to resolve this (e.g., by allowing users to uninstall unwanted pre-installed apps), but it is unclear whether that will be successful (or, when the update will be ready).
7. The service is still in beta, even though it is now an open beta. Although anyone can now purchase the service without an invitation or being on a waiting list, be aware that RW is still tinkering with addressing issues and making improvements. Expect some glitches and ups and downs as this continues.

Still, a great option for many people (including me, hopefully, since I've now ordered a phone after having been on their waiting list for over a year!), and you can't beat the price.

If you are considering joining RW, you would be well-advised to browse the message board and read some of the discussions about the service as well as the posted documentation/FAQs so you know better what it involves and what you will be getting (ignore references to "waves"; they are no longer relevant). (There are also some previous discussions on FW that may be informative, although much of the info will now be out-of-date.)

Member Summary

Republic Wireless (394.30kB)
Thanks UncleRico
Disclaimer
Most Recent Posts
Sorry that you had a bad experience. If calls were dropping for you after a minute, though, I'm not sure why you stayed ... (more)

azs1 (May. 07, 2013 @ 12:57p) |

I setup my dad with RW a few months ago and his experience mirrors snotvornoe1. A lot of dropped calls, also had a lot o... (more)

DenverDiver (May. 07, 2013 @ 1:29p) |

I do urge anyone who has similar experiences to work with customer support (or, first, post on the community boards for ... (more)

azs1 (May. 07, 2013 @ 2:24p) |

Staff Summary

Although not for me, if you friend have a smart phone just use WHATSAPP from the app store and free MMS over data connection

This was long time coming..
moved to Page Plus recently and couldnt be happier!

Any first hand reports?

I have been using it for months, from first phase and the service is
really good. Except for sometimes and I guess its AT&T(my dsl provider) to blame
and not them. When I am not on wireless, I am on Sprint network.

bobley said:   Any first hand reports?

Hmm according to their forum website, TWO phones can be used on their network: Defy XT and LG Optimus
Link

FlyingDelphin said:   Hmm according to their website, TWO phones can be used on their network: Defy XT and LG Optimus
Link


The LG Optimus is no longer available for purchase. This is the phone they used in their initial release last year; it is now in the process of being phased out.

azs1 said:   FlyingDelphin said:   Hmm according to their website, TWO phones can be used on their network: Defy XT and LG Optimus
Link


The LG Optimus is no longer available for purchase. This is the phone they used in their initial release last year; it is now in the process of being phased out.


TY for clarification

I have been very happy with this service. I started with the LG optimus and recently upgraded to the defy xt. I have used it in the northeast, washington DC, South Dakota*, Wyoming*, and Texas with no issues.

*Need Dual band for Wyoming and South Dakota as you will be roaming on Verizon 100% of the time.

I am looking at Ting as a better option --- more phones available --- besides this outfit isn't even available in all 50 states

germanpope said:   I am looking at Ting as a better option --- more phones available --- besides this outfit isn't even available in all 50 states

It is available in all states; however, they cannot provide phone numbers with local area codes for Hawaii, Alaska, or New Hampshire.

Great phone and great service. I wish they were gsm so I could use the phone in india. Is it easy to port current number? Since community customer service I am really worried about number portability

azs1 said:   The LG Optimus is no longer available for purchase. This is the phone they used in their initial release last year; it is now in the process of being phased out.

can I buy a used one? I like the mo. fee, and will be a big wifi user, but $250 is a big commitment...

evanm said:    as you will be roaming on Verizon 100% of the time.

does that roaming cause problems with their quota system?

vickh said:   azs1 said:   The LG Optimus is no longer available for purchase. This is the phone they used in their initial release last year; it is now in the process of being phased out.

can I buy a used one? I like the mo. fee, and will be a big wifi user, but $250 is a big commitment...


At this time, it is not possible to buy a used phone and activate it with RW. This is something they expect to be available in the future.

vickh said:   evanm said:    as you will be roaming on Verizon 100% of the time.

does that roaming cause problems with their quota system?


There are no roaming fees, and they abandoned the "quota" system long ago.

vickh said:   azs1 said:   The LG Optimus is no longer available for purchase. This is the phone they used in their initial release last year; it is now in the process of being phased out.

can I buy a used one? I like the mo. fee, and will be a big wifi user, but $250 is a big commitment...


Nope. Republic Wireless does not allow you to bring your own phone.

KPACOTKA said:   Great phone and great service. I wish they were gsm so I could use the phone in india. Is it easy to port current number? Since community customer service I am really worried about number portability

Most numbers can be ported (not those based in HI, AK, or NH, though). Here is a link to their FAQ on porting: https://community.republicwireless.com/docs/DOC-1332

Just signed a new 2 year contract Friday after waiting on this for close to 2 years. *sigh*

Maybe in 2014...

CoreyC said:   Just signed a new 2 year contract Friday after waiting on this for close to 2 years. *sigh*

Maybe in 2014...


Woops! If you are on their mailing list, you should have gotten an email this past week inviting you to pre-order a phone.

Well, you always have the option of breaking your Big Cell contract and reselling your new phone; it could actually be much cheaper for you in the long run to do that.

azs1 said:   germanpope said:   I am looking at Ting as a better option --- more phones available --- besides this outfit isn't even available in all 50 states

It is available in all states; however, they cannot provide phone numbers with local area codes for Hawaii, Alaska, or New Hampshire.


They can. They have just decided not to. That tells me they are a second rank company.

I use T-Mobile, and have a $50/mo unlimited phone/text/data pre-paid plan. I have a phone that also does WiFi calling.

What would Republic Wireless bring to me?

VirtuaL said:   I use T-Mobile, and have a $50/mo unlimited phone/text/data pre-paid plan. I have a phone that also does WiFi calling.

What would Republic Wireless bring to me?


Pretty much the same, but for $19/mo.

azs1 said:   vickh said:   evanm said:    as you will be roaming on Verizon 100% of the time.

does that roaming cause problems with their quota system?


There are no roaming fees, and they abandoned the "quota" system long ago.


I don't think that's 100% accurate.

They suspended the wifi usage ratios for the "duration of the beta" from what I saw written on their site. That does not mean that when it comes out of beta that they will not bring them back. It would be impossible for me to imagine a scenario in which they do not have guidelines on how much mobile data/voice you can use for $20.


I used to know the formula for it back when I was interested in it. I know that they say

6 minutes of voice = 3 texts = 1 MB of data

(the following may not be exactly right)
I think it was something like 1200 units of mobile usage where

1 unit per minute
2 units per text
6 units per MB
(end)

They don't care how much wifi you use but they did (and probably will after the beta) warn you if you crush their mobile data usage guidelines.

germanpope said:   They can. They have just decided not to. That tells me they are a second rank company.

Whatever you say... You are of course free to use whatever criteria you wish in determining whether a company is first/second/third/whatever rate.

(Not all geographic areas are in their network, so they cannot assign numbers from those rate centers. However, there is not a problem using the service/phone from those areas.)

JDubTrey said:   azs1 said:   There are no roaming fees, and they abandoned the "quota" system long ago.

I don't think that's 100% accurate.

They suspended the wifi usage ratios for the "duration of the beta" from what I saw written on their site. That does not mean that when it comes out of beta that they will not bring them back. It would be impossible for me to imagine a scenario in which they do not have guidelines on how much mobile data/voice you can use for $20.

....They don't care how much wifi you use but they did (and probably will after the beta) warn you if you crush their mobile data usage guidelines.


The TOS say that they "can" drop you if you spend more than 4 hours talking to the same number via voice service within a 24-hour period (presumably to give them grounds for action if someone is simply leaving the voice line open for hours or otherwise misusing it). Other than that, there are no limitations at present, and even heavy voice users have been able to continue with the service.

Nor is it likely that they will impose limits on the vast majority of users once out of beta. Part of the beta for them is seeing how the pricing model functions with real users; presumably, they are finding that they are still making money even without imposing usage ratio limits.

Of course, it's also likely that there will be some individuals who try to push the limits as far as they can (there are apparently some individuals now who cost more than they pay), and I expect that you are correct that there is/will be some point beyond which RW will not be willing to keep them as a customer.

Last I looked there was no SSM Gateway (email to text) on RW...is this still true?

Also, be aware that you're stuck using their proprietary software/version of OS as well (for the "hybrid" calling technology). So if you plan on rooting to try out other flavors of Android; their phones are not for you. It might not even be possible to for the specific models of phones they use anyway.

jm123456 said:   Last I looked there was no SSM Gateway (email to text) on RW...is this still true?

I believe so.

You might be interested in this thread: https://community.republicwireless.com/message/10699#10699

kuroukage said:   Also, be aware that you're stuck using their proprietary software/version of OS as well (for the "hybrid" calling technology). So if you plan on rooting to try out other flavors of Android; their phones are not for you. It might not even be possible to for the specific models of phones they use anyway.

Good point; I'll add that to the OP. Although the Optimus could be rooted, you cannot root the Defy (and, if you try, it will violate the warranty).

They had a made a mistake and are fixing it, They issued the DEFY with a single band, they are replacing it for free with the Dual Band version..

I'm in Eastern PA and for what I need it is fine. i'm paying roughly $23 a month Keep in mind I got in on under the initial offer , I still use Google Voice on this phone, Do the math for ourself and see if it fits what you need. Keep in mind they are offering the Motorola Defy DUAL band only at this time. they say there are other phones in the works.

I use to be with Verizon paying $35+ just for voice then switched to Virgin Mobile at $35 / month

I was on the waiting list for this but got tired of waiting and went with Virgin Mobile prepaid. Now that this is available I'm still glad I went with VM. Here are my reasons:

$250 up front is too much. That phone had better be great. I doubt it is though since you cannot root it.

VM let me pick from about a dozen phones, and I got thru the door much cheaper, around $60. The monthly cost is $25 + tax, so at $6 more per month it will cost more in 30 months or so. I doubt I will have a phone for longer than 2 years in row, if that long. So this is actually cheaper in the long run, despite the higher monthly cost. And if at some point I hate it, I'm only out $60, not $250.

With Google Voice, it's essentially the same deal with wifi calling. The data is unlimited, and 300 minutes per month (the $25 deal from VM) might as well be unlimited for me. I use it very rarely, if at all. It's the same Sprint mobile network as Republic, I believe.

VirtuaL said:   I use T-Mobile, and have a $50/mo unlimited phone/text/data pre-paid plan. I have a phone that also does WiFi calling.

What would Republic Wireless bring to me?
A savings after the breakeven point of $25 a month....

azs1 said:   germanpope said:   They can. They have just decided not to. That tells me they are a second rank company.

Whatever you say... You are of course free to use whatever criteria you wish in determining whether a company is first/second/third/whatever rate.

(Not all geographic areas are in their network, so they cannot assign numbers from those rate centers. However, there is not a problem using the service/phone from those areas.)


These kind of companies don't own networks. They use others networks.

I don't know how you can say they can't assign numbers when the rest of the folks in this secondary market do.

Do you just make things up to try to sound smart? Or can you actually back up what you say with facts?

germanpope said:    These kind of companies don't own networks. They use others networks.

I don't know how you can say they can't assign numbers when the rest of the folks in this secondary market do.

Do you just make things up to try to sound smart? Or can you actually back up what you say with facts?


I'm not sure why you are being so aggressive here; there really isn't any call for it.

I am not "making things up to sound smart"; I am only restating what RW says (including here and in multiple threads on their message board).

azs1 said:   germanpope said:    These kind of companies don't own networks. They use others networks.

I don't know how you can say they can't assign numbers when the rest of the folks in this secondary market do.

Do you just make things up to try to sound smart? Or can you actually back up what you say with facts?


I'm not sure why you are being so aggressive here; there really isn't any call for it.

I am not "making things up to sound smart"; I am only restating what RW says (including here and in multiple threads on their message board).


If they are a MVNO of Sprint there is no reason they cannot provide the number.

I don't consider it aggressive to call into question a company that doesn't find it important to provide a nation-wide offering --- when they can.

Feel free to let them know about this discussion and invite them to participate. If I called this wrong, I'd be happy to amend my post. And this isn't a shill forum --- everything about the deal/company is open to discussion and can be vetted here.

if i live in an area that has Sprint coverage (albeit it poor Sprint coverage), will i be rerouted onto the better verizon towers??? and does this apply for both voice and data roaming, or just voice?

germanpope said:   azs1 said:   germanpope said:    These kind of companies don't own networks. They use others networks.

I don't know how you can say they can't assign numbers when the rest of the folks in this secondary market do.

Do you just make things up to try to sound smart? Or can you actually back up what you say with facts?


I'm not sure why you are being so aggressive here; there really isn't any call for it.

I am not "making things up to sound smart"; I am only restating what RW says (including here and in multiple threads on their message board).


They can say what ever they want. But if they are a MVNO of Sprint there is no reason they cannot provide the number.

I don't trust their marketing material at all. I don't consider it aggressive to call into question suspect marketing that you point to.

Feel free to invite one of your friends from the company to respond to my issue.


It is aggressive to claim that another FWer who is simply providing information is "making things up to try to look smart," and now to imply that I am some sort of shill for the company (I in fact have no association with them at all).

I'm not even remotely interested in arguing with you. You seem to have something personal against the company, but that is your issue not mine.

You are free to explore the RW message board for additional information on this issue, or to sign up and post an inquiry yourself. I'm sure there are people there who can explain these limitations to you much better than I can.

StrawManArg said:   I was on the waiting list for this but got tired of waiting and went with Virgin Mobile prepaid. Now that this is available I'm still glad I went with VM. Here are my reasons:

$250 up front is too much. That phone had better be great. I doubt it is though since you cannot root it.

VM let me pick from about a dozen phones, and I got thru the door much cheaper, around $60. The monthly cost is $25 + tax, so at $6 more per month it will cost more in 30 months or so. I doubt I will have a phone for longer than 2 years in row, if that long. So this is actually cheaper in the long run, despite the higher monthly cost. And if at some point I hate it, I'm only out $60, not $250.

With Google Voice, it's essentially the same deal with wifi calling. The data is unlimited, and 300 minutes per month (the $25 deal from VM) might as well be unlimited for me. I use it very rarely, if at all. It's the same Sprint mobile network as Republic, I believe.


Though I made the exact same choice, it really is academic because the $25 plan is no longer offered (and the re-entry loophole was closed in late September). Discounted $25 cards make VM service about the same price as RW with its taxes (and VM users can setup their own wifi calling). However, that doesn't really help people who don't have the $25 plan already.

Also it was explained on the site that RW's net is slightly bigger than VM's because RW has access to Sprint affiliate tower sites that aren't considered roaming but that are excluded from VM/Boost users.

Even at $20 vs $35, I think RW is still a little too grass-roots for me with one phone, that costs > $200, nebulous guidelines and beta status/support.

Good luck to them, however.

Skipping 30 Messages...
I do urge anyone who has similar experiences to work with customer support (or, first, post on the community boards for help troubleshooting). In most (not all) cases, these issues can be resolved satisfactorily.

That being said, Republic is not a service for everyone. It does not always work optimally out of the box (e.g., if your router settings need tweaking, or the phone settings need to be adjusted, or you are in a dead zone for cell reception), and you have to be comfortable and willing to do some troubleshooting to maximize your experience. That's one of the reasons that they have the 30-day money back return period; it gives folks plenty of time to try out the service and see if it's a good match for them (both the phone service itself and the customer service model). Republic fills an important niche for low-cost phone service, but it's not a universal solution.



Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

TRUSTe online privacy certification

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2014