What is Republic Wireless? $19/mo for unlimited voice, text, AND data!
The people behind Republic Wireless have a revolutionary idea. Well, not just an idea; a plan fresh out of its beta phase ready to be tried by the world. They created an advance system of "hybrid calling" - meaning while on a WiFi connection your calls are routed through the hotspot you're connected to (whether it's your router at home or an internet cafe). By encouraging users to browse the web, watch videos, and make calls on WiFi through their innovative hybrid system, they greatly bring down the operating costs of being a mobile phone carrier. These savings are passed down to you. When you aren't connected to WiFi, all of your data and such goes through Sprint's 3G towers.
What? $19 per month for unlimited everything, including data?
Yep, you read that right - that $50-$80 cheaper than plans offered by any of the major carriers, which often aren't even truly unlimited. You probably think there is a catch, but there isn't; at lest not about the unlimited part, but I'll talk more about this in the next section. You see, this is a mobile carrier based on the honor system. They hope (and expect) that if you are near a WiFi hotspot, you will connect to it. That way you aren't using the network and costing them money, so they can keep their prices low. People using this service should keep this in mind, because even though many public places, such as McDonald's, Starbucks, and even city parks have free WiFi, most people don't bother connecting to it on their phones because they have a data connection.
Well, what is the catch then?
Due to the way Hybrid Calling works, you have to use one of the phones they offer preloaded with their software and technology. And their phones tend to be low-end, yet still on the expensive side; the phone that they're currently shipping, the Dual-Band Motorola Defy XT, has a 1Ghz processor (basically a minimum for Android), 512 MB of RAM, and runs the rather outdated Android 2.3; and it still costs $250. Although, you'll probably save more than enough money to make up for that in the first year of usage. While on the topic of the phones specs, it has a 5MP (megapixel) camera, which is good enough for a camera you'll need to only use once in awhile. It's screen is 3.7 inches with Gorilla Glass, which is super scratch- and crack-proof. "Dual-Band" means it will receive better reception than your average phone.
So, is it worth it?
Put simply, absolutely. If you have decent Sprint reception in your area for when it's not on WiFi, and a home WiFi router so that it can, it's definitely worth it. The phone costs $249, and you pay a $10 start-up fee which includes shipping. So if you have $259, you're ready to go. You can sign up and order the phone at http://republicwireless.com/, and they offer a 30-day money back guarantee if you aren't satisfied. Note that most of the support for the service is handled by the community - this keeps prices low for them because they don't have to pay for a complicated customer support setup, but sometimes it takes up to 48 hours to talk to an actual employee. Also, if you want to transfer your number from your current provider, you can.