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$19 Republic Wireless Service Opens to Public
Sole Available Phone for Service Now Available for Pre-Order
by Karl Bode 10:29AM Tuesday Nov 20 2012
Bandwidth.com recently announced a new wireless carrier named Republic Wireless promising unlimited text, data, and voice for an unheard-of $19 a month. How did they plan to reach such a price point for "unlimited" service? The company offloads most of that traffic to Wi-Fi, and initially stated they'd kick you off the network if you consumed to much (Sprint) cellular capacity. After the press and public complained that their "Cellular Usage Index" (CUI) fairness plan was too complicated, the company backed off the idea and promised to offer truly unlimited service.
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This week Republic Wireless has announced that the company's service is now available for all, and users can now start pre-ordering the only phone currently available for the service -- the dual-band Motorola DEFY XT. According to a company blog post, the phone will cost users $250, plus a $10 start up fee and your first month's service:
quote:
The dual-band DEFY XT features our Hybrid Calling(TM) technology that uses Wi-Fi where it's available and cell where it’s not. Unlimited talk, text and data, all for just $19 a month. No overages, contracts, or hidden charges in small fine print. Just great phone service at the lowest monthly rate in America.

You can pre-order your dual-band DEFY XT today for $249 plus a $10 start-up fee and applicable taxes. Your start-up fee includes shipping and handling. Your first $19 monthly membership will be charged when your phone ships. Don't forget, we'll continue to offer a 30-day money back guarantee so you can join republic with no risk.
Obviously the price is certainly right, so Republic's success will be dictated by the quality of service. We're happy to pay any users who are willing to write up their experience of the service. Interested users can head here to sign up.

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ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

1 edit

Site sucks!!!

I just browsed over to the site to check on it. It automatically starts some marketing talk in the background with no way to stop it short of muting your speakers.

I really hate these type of web sites!!

Edit: This happens when going to the link posted in Karl's article which is join.republicwireless.com

ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Brighton, MA

Re: Site sucks!!!

didn't do anything like that for me.

www.republicwireless.com

ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

Re: Site sucks!!!

I will update my post.

It is the join.republicwireless.com link that is in the article. When you browse to it a HTML window comes up with the video and audio. However, when you close the HTML window, the audio keeps playing.

skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
Premium
join:2012-01-26
AA169|170
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Clear Wireless
·Cox HSI
·Verizon FiOS

Straight Talk will kill you off too

I've never been hit but I don't consume that much data with ST but I've seen numerous posts from users who got nastygram calls from ST threatening not to allow renewal after consuming about 2-3GB/mo. But still, 2-3GB, unlimited talk, unlimited text for $45 is still way better than competitors so even if $19 doesn't get you all you can eat it is still a smoking good deal. Just unlimited talk would be worth the $20 I think.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·MegaPath

Re: Straight Talk will kill you off too

Depending on what you read when you sign up they have that in their TOS/AUP they reserve the right to limit you and not allow you to renew/re-up, etc. I have a ST phone and was told that when I activated my phone by the automated system.

Page Plus now has a $20+/- plan that is just unlimited talk and text, using the VZW network.

skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
Premium
join:2012-01-26
AA169|170
kudos:2

Re: Straight Talk will kill you off too

Then it isn't unlimited by any measure...kicking you off isn't even throttling.

beck
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-29
On The Road
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Stablehost.com
said by TBBroadband:

...

Page Plus now has a $20+/- plan that is just unlimited talk and text, using the VZW network.

And where do you find that deal? I didn't see it on the website.

skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
Premium
join:2012-01-26
AA169|170
kudos:2

Re: Straight Talk will kill you off too

Yeah, looks $40 to me.
SunnyD

join:2009-03-20
Madison, AL

Service littered with censored complaints.

I've been keeping up with the history of RW... and while they've taken a few steps in the right direction, they have a habit of censoring negative complaints against them.

On a service standpoint, their open-ended TOS pretty much still has them kicking you off if you use too much cell. Problem is there's no working wifi-to-cell handoff STILL for this service. When asked about it, if you get a response, all you get is "we're working on it". More often than not, if you're not a customer, you simply won't get a response to a question at all.

Limited devices (one), more importantly poor device selection and what amounts to a custom version of CyanogenMod 7 (SEVEN, Android 2.3) at that, for the up front cost it is kind of lackluster at best.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Review of device and service

»www.geek.com/articles/mobile/rev···0120816/

Defy XT packs a 1GHz processor with 512MB RAM and a removable storage slot. The 5MP camera and VGA front-facing camera get the job done, but don’t take particularly breathtaking photos or video. The 480×854 FWVGA display works great indoors but, like most ruggedized smartphones, is mostly unusable in direct sunlight.

The call quality when connected to Republic Wireless’ network is fantastic. After using the service exclusively for a week, I found myself with better call quality than I have ever had on a mobile carrier. I also have a top-notch wireless setup in my home, so this wasn’t terribly surprising. I went to the local Starbucks and McDonald’s, connected to their wireless networks and attempted to make calls. Surprisingly, even when the WiFi at McDonald’s was so bad that I was struggling to load a webpage on my tablet, I was able to make and receive calls just fine. There was a noticeable difference in call quality, but the difference put RW in line with what I expect from a cellular network

There’s still one painfully obvious wrinkle with Republic Wireless: there’s no call handoff from a SIP call to cellular. If you are on a WiFi connection when you receive a call, you’ll need to stay on that network until you have ended the call or it will drop.

The world is ready for a $19/month unlimited everything plan that is powered by WiFi, of that I am certain. If I could bring my device to Republic Wireless, or if it worked as an app that could be added to a prepaid phone, I think I would seriously consider making the switch.


--
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury.
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: Review of device and service

Another fact about this service that should definitely be emphasized is the potential for excellent voice performance in your home. (Assuming WiFi HSI is present.)

I get decent AT&T service in my home but I shy away from taking cell calls. Sometimes they drop and if I go down in the basement, it works most of the times but if I move to certain spots, the other person can no longer hear me and the call is headed for a drop.

This phone would never have this problem and if it does, you have control over the situation. Just fix the WiFi dead spots in your house.

FastDSL

join:1999-08-22
Snellville, GA

Re: Review of device and service

It's probably more of an issue of the Optimus (shoddy wifi chip) than the Defy... but I wouldn't jump up and down for joy yet. Call quality is still very dodgy on strong WiFi in my house... I mean it's better than Sprint, but I would expect better.

I am sure the Defy is fine though.. I'm just not upgrading when I can stay with the Optimus for free.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
T-Mo does that too.
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: Review of device and service

No charge, unlimited minutes?
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Review of device and service

What your plan has on T-Mo. So if you have an unlimited plan, yes.
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: Review of device and service

That would cost a lot more than $19/month. The key question is whether the WiFi minutes count against your plans minutes. If not, that's a good deal. If they do, move along. That's nothing special -- unless, as you cited, have the unlimited plan.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Review of device and service

Right, they're cheaper than anything else out there, but they are not the only ones that have wifi calling.
talz13

join:2006-03-15
Avon, OH

Moved on already...

I was closely following Republic Wireless earlier this year. Once they announced that the Defy XT would be their ONLY new phone, I jumped ship and got on a T-Mobile monthly 4G plan... I buy my minutes from callingmart with their discount codes, and end up paying about $28/mo. for unlimited data and text.

The only "downside" is that it only includes 100 voice minutes, but I don't even manage to get through all those in a month, so I'm quite happy with it.

Oh, and the galaxy nexus works great on T-Mobile!
IanR

join:2001-03-22
Fort Mill, SC

Re: Moved on already...

If you need more minutes on that plan you could set up a Skype acct inexpensively and use it over the data.
kaila

join:2000-10-11
Lincolnshire, IL

I'm a RW user......

For now, it is unlimited and I know of no one who has been terminated due to overuse. Outliers aside, in aggregate they state they're offloaded a greater percentage to wifi, so their business model is working.

I'm currently stuck on the ancient Optimus until the dual band Defy's become available. Overall the service has been fair to good, very good with decent wifi but a few bugs, and the cell side obviously entirely dependent upon Sprint's coverage. Unlike Sprint's other MVNO's and for reasons unknown, Republicwireless has access to Sprint's roaming. Although the currently offered single band Deft XT can't take advantage of a lot of the roaming spectrum- wait for the coming dual band.

One complaint I have is the loooong development times, and non-existant updates for the Optimus since the second month of their release a year ago- which has a few serious bugs out there. And they really need to find a way to expand their phones beyond a single low-middle end android handset.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: I'm a RW user......

Supposedly the Sprint MVNOs will get Verizon roaming at some point... Republic got it for Voice/text only.

Do they have data on Verizon, and what about roaming on ACS in Alaska?

This seems like such a good idea, but there are so many things wrong with the implementation...

evilt00l

join:2003-03-20
Winchester, KY
kudos:1

I'll be back... maybe

I purchased the single band Defy back in mid October, I knew the dual band was "scheduled" to come out by the end of the year but this is RW every estimate they have made has been off by several months. So I bit and got the single bad, figuring that maybe there would be an upgrade path to the dual band later.

I did enjoy the phone, call quality was on par for my net10 prepaid I had been using, it was nice to have some smart phone features and not carrying around an iPod touch for those features as I was doing before. The phone itself was rugged, and the screen was pretty nice actually. I knew the phone wasn't that powerful but as an entry into the smartphone market I was ok with that.

Older technology but greater savings is a trade off you must be willing to make. Their service is dirt cheap and if you can put up with the smaller issues (calls dropping between wifi to cell, slow response times to questions on forums, bloatware on phone) it can certainly be worth it.

Once the dual band was announced on 11/19 however as I was still within my 30 day return window I inquired what I could do. I was not within the bands that qualified for a tradein/upgrade. So I reached out to RW on twitter to see if they really wanted me to return my phone and be without service for 4+ weeks and risk that I would not come back. And that was their answer return for refund and get in line with everyone else. So I set up to return my device within the 30 window and I'm considering going back but I'm just not sure.

Due to the fact that I want 2 phones I'm going to delay until after the new year because of the holidays which means I'm looking more at 6+ weeks without cell service and as I explained to RW in my cancellation comments, I may just have to move on to other pastures because that's a long time to go without service.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA

You can hear a pin drop

If it was on Verizon or AT&T, this would be news.

The concept isn't bad - communal cooperative weighted usage limits.
Unfortunately, it goes downhill from there.
clocks11

join:2002-05-06
00000

Beware

This Company is terrible. No customer support when your phone doesn't work. Enter a relationship with them are your own peril.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

They MISSED the fact the DefyXT can't roam on CDMA 850???

WTF? At first, I thought the dual-band was the Sprint's upcoming SMR on NV, but then I realized it was for 850mhz Verizon roaming. How on EARTH did these people miss the fact that the phone can't roam on much of Verizon's network, the carrier with the heaviest use of 850mhz systems in the US. I had high hopes for Republic, but after that one, I have ZERO hope for the company.

pende_tim
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Andover, NJ
kudos:1

Re: They MISSED the fact the DefyXT can't roam on CDMA 850???

What is wrong with roaming on Verizon? Where I live, it is 1000X better service than Sprint.
--
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: They MISSED the fact the DefyXT can't roam on CDMA 850???

Nothing is wrong with that. That's the point. They completely missed the fact that the single-band Defy XT CAN'T roam on Verizon.

YukonHawk

join:2001-01-07
Patterson, NY

Wow.....

I guess they just really suck.
Master5c8

join:2002-09-15
Urbana, IL

Mixed experience

I don't have a DefyXT, but I've had the Optimus since launch. Coming from a non-smartphone the battery life was terrible, but manageable. The cell service where I live (Champaign-Urbana area) however is absolutely disastrous. I get no signal in my house (which makes sending and receiving texts spotty since they all go through cellular) and can only make a call from the E side of town. Now I do live in a relatively small town (pop 1000) but we're right on the interstate in East-Central IL. It's not the middle of nowhere.

Additionally, my phone on occasion is not be able to call out on cellular. It seems to be related to the time of day. Evenings 4:30-6:30pm seem to be the worst. This has happened to me in multiple locations, including when I was staying in Chicago for a few nights. I always figured my republic phone is placed in a lower service class on the network and as such I am unable to place calls out during heavy usage times.

The data service is worse than the voice service. Slow almost to the point of uselessness (if it works at all) if you're trying to use a mobile browser. Admittedly even terrible service was an upgrade for me since I was coming from a no-data-service phone.

The wifi calling does work, for the most part. Call quality on my side is decent on my Mediacom cable connection. On the caller's side though I'm often told that they can hear themselves echoing back through the connection. The echoing does not occur on cellular.

The service isn't great, but it's only $20 per month. I'd say I probably get about what I pay for.

Eddy120876

join:2009-02-16
Bronx, NY

Had I seen this before Straight Talk

I would have switch in a heartbeat. I mean look at it this way. I pay 49.77 a month for service and in a year thats a total of 597.24. If i had this deal done I would be paying 228 a year. Dang
neftv

join:2000-10-01
Broomall, PA

SAR rating of the Defy

Yea I got that email too..
I Googled the SAR rating of the Defy and its around 1.48. Even though its still considered safe I think there are better choices for phones with 2012 almost ending. I will stick with my $30 5gig 100min plan for now with my Dell Venue Pro with a SAR of around 1 or so.