Republic Wireless Shakes up the Mobile Market
VoIP for the Masses
Everyone knows about VoIP. Most people have even used it in some form or the other either with an application like Skype or through a more direct call such as the one provided by Gmail calling. But even though the benefits of VoIP are undeniable, everyone agrees that it's too much of a hassle for the common person to set up. Most individuals are not tech enthusiasts like me and would prefer the convenience of buying a phone and having it "just work" rather than go through all the effort to configure a phone, use an SIP client and generally much around to get the perfect configuration.
Carriers have tried to harness the VoIP revolution by coming up with their own offerings, though by no means all of them. T-Mobile and Spring being the underdogs, have been the first to walk this route. The problem was that these offerings were too tied in with their regular phone minutes - meaning that none of these plans was designed from the ground up to bypass the regular calling minutes as VoIP usually does.
But sooner or later, someone was bound to come up with a solution with the grudging acceptance of some carrier or the other. And that "someone" has arrived and the carrier is none other than Sprint.
Plug n Play VoIP
Republic Wireless has the honor of being the first company to take the VoIP world by storm and offer a service that is truly 100% VoIP. And the fact that they've made it a robust application with a graceful fallback in case Internet connectivity isn't available is a sweet icing on the cake. In case you don't already know about it, Republic Wireless is offering a smartphone without a contract and a telephone number that makes calls seamlessly over wifi with no additional setup. The cost is $20 a month without a commitment. This by itself is good news and most people are in wifi zones almost all the time.
But for those occasions when wifi is not available, the smartphone running Android will gracefully switch modes to use the carrier's cellular network instead. So far, it only works on Sprint but they're working to get other networks on board as well.
Will it catch on? I certainly hope so. It's about time consumers got a taste of what technology can really do and this is a great opportunity to shake up the market. Business segments will of course need the flexibility and choosing an SIP provider is an important part of that process. They can switch to mobile hosted PBX in as little as 15 minutes if necessary.