Something really cool just happened: Republic Wireless just left its open beta, and it’s available now to the public. For those of you who aren’t aware of this little MVNO, Republic Wireless is a carrier that rethinks how we connect to wireless networks. It recognizes that nowadays, most people are connected to WiFi – at home, at work, and sometimes even on the train or during flights. There are times when we have to connect to cellular networks, but if you pay attention and connect to free public WiFi hotspots when you’re out and about, those times are becoming rarer and rarer.
Republic Wireless has decided to capitalize on the increasing availability of WiFi in our daily lives, and has created a totally unlimited service for $19/month. When you’re connected to WiFi, all of your calls, texts, and data will be routed over that WiFi. And when you aren’t, you’ll seamlessly fall back onto the Sprint network. And to make things even better, Republic Wireless doesn’t even have a fair use policy anymore – so theoretically, you can use the Sprint network as much as you want, and you don’t even necessarily have to have WiFi at home or work (although the company really encourages you to use WiFi as much as possible).
Industry critics have been skeptical about how sustainable this model of cell service will really be, but things look promising since Republic Wireless opened the service up to everyone and is keeping its pricing the same. But before you jump on board, you have to ask yourself one question. What’s more important to you: cheap cell service, or always having the latest and greatest phones?
This is an important question, because as of right now, Republic Wireless is only offering the Motorola DEFY XT. This device runs Gingerbread, has a 3.7-inch screen, 1GB of internal storage, and 512MB of RAM. In other words, it’s pretty pathetic in the specs department. But on the other hand, the service will only cost you $19/month. This undercuts even the cheapest of the cheap prepaid carriers like Virgin, Boost, and Straight Talk.
I doubt that Republic Wireless will ever have a Bring Your Own Device program like Sprint MVNO Ting - there’s a certain technology needed to make the transition between WiFi and cellular networks seamless, and so this particular carrier will have to approve any phone it allows on its network. And while it’s promising a better selection soon, I doubt we’ll see devices like the LG Nexus 4, the HTC One X+, or the Samsung Galaxy S III. That just doesn’t seem very likely to happen.
But I want to know what you think – what’s more important to you? As an obvious fan of the latest and greatest gadgets, would you be willing to sacrifice a bit in order to save some major cash each month on your cell phone bill? Or are you still holding onto your EVO 4G LTE – or whatever superphone you currently own – with a death grip?