This summer marked a big event for me. For the first time in 15 years, I looked for a new cell-phone carrier: Republic Wireless.
You see – I’d been with the same cell phone carrier since college – Verizon – and frankly, I hadn’t run into any issues.
That is, until a couple of months ago when I went to upgrade our two Verizon phones to last years model “iPhone” – for 99¢ each…. They wanted to charge me around $180 in fees to do it.
I walked out the door and immediately started shopping around.
When we got home, I began scouting out other companies and even asked the Crumbs Facebook Community for service provider recommendations. Many of you had already evaluated this area of your budget and were using services like Ting and Page Plus.
After several days of internet sleuthing, one company really stood out to me and kept coming up over and over again: Republic Wireless.
Naturally, I did what anyone else would do: I googled them.
Here were the top results (as in user submitted reviews, less-biased). Notice the stars for the four major carriers.
Then notice the stars for Republic Wireless.
Tiffany and I were intrigued and wanted to know more. I talked to a few reps, learned more about their company philosophy and asked how their phone service worked (and how in the world they are able to make it available so cheap!).
They answered all my questions and offered to send us a couple of demo phones to try so we could share our experience with you guys… assuming we liked it, of course.
If the fact that we’re writing this post hasn’t given it away, Republic Wireless totally rocks (and no, we’re not getting paid to say that)!
Republic Wireless – Cell Phone Service for the Budget Conscious
(1) Republic Wireless Leverages Wifi
They are the ONLY cell phone company that utilizes Wifi to its fullest potential.
I know that sounds a bit geeky, so let me explain.
When you make a phone call or send a text with all other cell phone companies (Verizon, AT&T, etc.), your message is sent through your local cell phone tower. Republic Wireless was designed to route through Wifi FIRST, and THEN the local cell phone tower.
It’s a hybrid of connectivity, so to speak.
- When you’re at home, your phone connects to your Wifi. Your calls/text/data will be routed through your home internet.
- When you’re at Starbucks or the library or any other place that has Wifi, your calls/text/data will be routed through that internet connection.
- If you’re somewhere where is isn’t any Wifi, your calls/text/data will be routed using the local cell phone tower.
- If you start with Wifi and then go out of range, your phone will automatically transition to the local cell phone tower. And you won’t even notice.
Wondering if you can get service in your area? Republic Wireless has this awesome coverage map to help you out.
(2) They’re super affordable
Their phone plans start at just $5 per month. Seriously.
Republic Wireless can offer crazy cheap plans because of the Wifi leverage.
Remember how Republic Wireless is using Wifi first? Well most people have Wifi set up at home, or at work or a friend’s house. Wifi is really everywhere!
Regardless of where you are, Wifi data is free.
While the $5 plan is Wifi only, they also offer a $10 plan that allows you to have unlimited talk and text anywhere you go. You can get data – without any additional charges – by hooking up to available Wifi.
If you want to have data all the time, even when you’re not in range of Wifi, you can get 0.5 G for $7.50. Think you need more? Not sure if you’ll use it all?
Republic Wireless refunds you for any unused data every month.
Republic Wireless recently conducted a trial to see how much data customers were actually using, so that they could refund/charge for the usage appropriately. The average customer only used 0.3 G data.
This is what makes Republic Wireless so different. Most other cell phone carriers charge you for the full data package, and leave it there. It didn’t matter whether or not you used it all – you paid for it, and that was that.
For the average customer that uses only 0.3 G of data, this is a refund of $3, making the average cell phone bill for text, talk and data just $14.50 each month.
Update: I just found out that Republic Wireless offers an INCREDIBLE discount to teachers! Half off wireless plans AND half off data. This is in addition to the incredible prices I already shared.
(3) They have cool phones
As of posting date, Republic Wireless offers three phones that work with their Wifi-first hybrid technology: Motorola Moto E, Moto X and Moto G.
All three phones are smartphones (obviously), but even the “low end” phone has high-end specs (which you can read about here).
Price wise, the Moto G is the most affordable. It’s recently been slashed to just $99 – a HUGE discount compared to the $180 price tag you’ll find other places. (Republic expects to be out of stock on the Moto G before the month is up though. Just a heads up if you’re interested!).
Even the Moto E and Moto X (mid- and high-level, respectively) are competitively priced too. The Moto X in particular is $200 less than if you bought through Verizon!
iPhone users should also know that the Moto X has more features and costs less than the iPhone 6… which is cool, because Tiffany used to be an iPhone user (before she switched to Republic Wireless).
(4) 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
Directly from their website:
If you are not completely satisfied with Republic Wireless or your phone with WiFi Hybrid Calling, you can return it for a full refund (minus shipping). We figure a month is long enough to know whether the phone and our service are for you. Simply contact us within 30 days of joining and we’ll cancel your service, provide instructions for returning your phone, and process your refund upon receiving it.
Republic Wireless will refund the cost of the phone AND the service so you’re not stuck owning a phone that you’ll never use. Pretty nifty if you ask me.
Feel free to test it out and forward your phone number. If for whatever reason you don’t like Republic Wireless, you’ll get a refund on what you paid them and will still have your old provider to fall back on. Read the full terms and conditions here.
(5) No Contract and the Ability to Change Your Plan Twice per Month
There’s no contract with Republic Wireless. Leave if you want to, when you want to.
Or don’t. It’s your choice.
If you want to change your plan, no worries there either. You can change it twice each month without any penalties. Republic Wireless is constantly testing to improve their service, and it’s kinda cool to be able to test new plans to see if it saves you money in the long run (and not be penalized for doing so)… instead of being stuck in whatever was a good deal at the time.
(6) It Works Internationally Without Strings Attached
There are no roaming fees, no international fees and no hassle with international SIM cards. You only need Wifi, and there are very few places on earth now without internet.
We visited Costa Rica earlier this year without a phone. Simply put, our Verizon phones would not work. We would have had to “rent” a phone from a third party phone rental provider and pay several hundred dollars in return.
Um, not gonna happen.
If we had been with Republic Wireless while on our trip, it would have cost us just $5 for the month.
Too Good to be True?
We are so impressed with Republic Wireless, that we’ve completely switched over and cancelled our Verizon accounts.
Even the coolest services out there have some drawbacks. Before you jump ship, here are three things worth mentioning:
- You must use a Republic phone. Because of the super cool technology of seeking Wifi first, you will have to buy one of their phones (they start at $99).
- Their phones come with big, beautiful screens… which means you need to get a case. This might be a non-issue if you already have a smartphone, but it’s something I’ve had to learn coming from an old school flip phone… and I learned it the hard way, unfortunately. The good news is cases are easy to find. I chose a simple black one and Tiffany picked one with a pink/teal chevron design – and we paid with Swagbucks!
- You might get a little “static ” if you’re teetering the line between wifi and cell tower service. This is a rarity, and as we’ve been testing and using Republic Wireless exclusively for the past 30 days, we’ve noticed it just a couple of times (it resolved itself within seconds). Republic releases updates frequently (which we downloaded) and haven’t heard it since.
Republic Wireless is a hidden gem among cell phone carriers, and we’re honored to partner with and support them.
We love their hybrid service, which is both frugal and geeky. We love their phones and how easy they are to use. We love their customer service and understand why 95% of customers who try Republic Wireless stay.
The fact that we ended our 15+ year relationship with Verizon Wireless is proof in the pudding!
Is Republic Wireless right for you? Use this handy tool – they’ll walk you through your concerns and help you make the right choice.
Have you heard of Republic Wireless before? What do you think about their hybrid connection model?
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase through those links, I will earn commission that helps to keep the lights on in the Crumbs house – with no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Crumbs in this way. This post was sponsored by Republic Wireless: we were not paid to write this post, but received a phone to keep. All opinions are 100% mine. Read my full disclosure statement here.