Today, November 8, 2011 is the day of Republic Wireless’ inception. We are excited to share their services with you. Republic wireless, by bandwidth.com, offers unlimited everything – Data, minutes, texts for just $19 per month. There are no contracts to be signed, no application to be downloaded, and no number to be dialed to make phone calls. It is a genuine invention where a carrier exploits the availability of wifi networks around you to bring cheap calls to you. Do not assume that this will only work around wifi networks, because when you are away from a wifi network it switches to cellular network mode.
Exactly what is it and how does it work?
Republic wireless is a hybrid wireless service that runs off of wifi where available and cellular network otherwise. Since, most of us have wifi networks at home and office, all of our calls will be routed through wifi. This is why they are able to cut the cost to only $19 per month. Only a meager amount of calls will go over cellular network. Since they need to pay for the minutes, texts, and data that you use over cellular network there is an official fair use policy that says:
you could consume 550 minutes, send 150 texts, and download 300 megabytes of data using cellular network without crossing the community’s fair use threshold + Unlimited calls, unlimited text, and unlimited data using wifi network
If you cross these limits they will inform you of that based on your usage patterns and you can make the changes to your usage habits. Nevertheless, you can consume unlimited everything off the wifi network.
There is an arc symbol that will display on your phone to tell you if you are on wifi or cellular network. when that arc is green you are on wifi, when that arc is gray you are on cellular network.
Can it compete with my cellular provider such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint etc?
The quality of this service will depend on your internet connection. The rule of thumb is that the faster the internet connection, the better the Voip call quality.
You will need at least 80 kbps internet lines both ways (sending and receiving / uploading and downloading speeds)
Since they are new, they do not have all the answers on their website yet. We are not sure what will happen if a call was started in wifi and then the user walked away from the wifi range? Will the call drop? We do not know yet but we will contact them and bring you the answer.
They are running off some cellular service provider’s back as they do not have their own cables running underground. Therefore, when you are away from a wifi network Republic wireless is as good as your cellular service provider.
Since they are somewhat similar to Voip service provider you can expect them to provide cheap international calls too.
Can you keep your number?
We have no idea about this questions yet. We will let you know as soon as they let us know. Number porting should not be that big deal as everyone does it. Nevertheless, we recommend trying both phones in parallel for at least a month to figure out if it is for you or not. We have heard from Republic Wireless. You will be able to port your number, it might take some time (from 1 hour up to 7 days) though.
How much do I need to invest at the minimum to try their service?
To try Republic wireless you need a special phone that they are selling for cheap. The usual price of that phone (LG Optimus V) is $199 but they are running a special where you can use the code welcome19 and get yourself $100 off, the effective price of this phone will be $99. If you do not like it you can return it in first 30 days.
There will be a monthly charge of $19 per month + Taxes and fees (should be about $5 but it is not announced yet). The good part is that you can cancel the service whenever you want. You only need to pay $19 for that month. There are no contracts and thus no early termination fees. You can find more information at http://republicwireless.com