As I was writing about my experience losing my cell phone and looking for comparable rates for replacing it, I got thinking more about the options. In order to share the two best candidates I found, I went through the same research I had done months ago.
The more I learned about Republic Wireless, the more interested I was. I was starting to fall in love with what Republic Wireless offered. By the way, this is not a sponsored post, I’m just really, truly impressed by Republic Wireless.
I told the Mr. what I had discovered and we decided we would give it a try. After all, Republic Wireless has a 30-day money-back guarantee. In June, we bought a phone to give it a try (Moto G with 16G of memory for $179 in case you were wondering). In August we’ll get another phone so we’ll each have one.
What makes Republic Wireless awesome in general?
UPDATE: Plan details have changed since this article was published. Rest assured they are still awesome! You can find the current details here.
New Technology (Wifi + cell)
When WiFi is turned on, the phone will use WiFi as the default for calls, texting and data. When WiFi isn’t available or isn’t turned on, the phone uses regular cell coverage. Your phone automatically switches between the two. Republic’s technology makes the hand-off between WiFi and cell without dropping a call or its quality. This technology is what helps Republic keep their prices so low, and also why you are required to purchase one of the two Republic Wireless approved phones.
We budget time. We budget money. It’s nice to not have to budget calls and texts too. All plans (did I mention there’s even a $5/month plan?) include unlimited talk, text and data on WiFi. The plans above the $5 plan also have unlimited talk and text on cell.
For the plans that use 3G or 4G data, you get 5GB of data over the cell network each month before your speed is slowed down. Every six months without going over earns you a “free pass” to go over 5GB in a future month without having your speed slowed down. You start out your account with a “free pass,” so the first time you go over you aren’t punished by having your data slow down. You can read the details here.
A monthly price of $10 for unlimited talk and text is better than any dumb phone plan I know of. Even if you can’t live without data when you don’t have WiFi available, $25 a month for 3G is super competitive.
Another cool thing about their prices is that you can switch between plans twice per month. For example, we are on the $10/month plan so we have internet where WiFi is available. If we were going on a road trip and wanted the convenience of data in the car, we could switch to the $25 plan for the week that we’re out of town, then back to the $10 plan when we’re at home. Charges will be prorated for the days that you are on the $25 plan. Pretty convenient!
The big cell phone companies love locking customers into contracts. Part of their reasoning is that they give you a subsidized phone for free or cheap at the beginning of the service and you pay a little each month for it over the life of the contract. With Republic Wireless, you pay up front for the cost of the phone, ($99, $149, $179 or $299) and then your monthly payment, for however long you want to continue with the service, is just based on the service plan you choose.
Not having to sign away your cellular freedom is refreshing. Republic Wireless is confident that they have something awesome and you won’t want to leave. In fact, they even offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
What makes Republic Wireless great for us personally?
Price is a major factor for us since we are in the midst of paying off some serious law school student loan debt. Ever since we got married 9 years ago, we have had $10/month dumb phones on my parents’ cell phone plan. I was thrilled that even with all the bells and whistles of a smartphone, our monthly payment will stay at $10 per phone!
Even with the cost of the phone purchase, it’s a steal for us. We paid $179 for Mr. SixFiguresUnder’s phone. If we spread that over 24 months, the usual cell contract period for other providers, it’s $7.45/month, bringing his grand total for cell service to $17.45/month for the first 24 months and $10/month thereafter until he decides to get a replacement phone.
UPDATE: Republic Wireless now has a new smartphone, the Moto E which is priced at $99. If you divide the price of the Moto E over a 24 month period (like other cell phone companies do), it would be an additional $4.13 per month. On the $10 plan, it would be like paying $14.13 for the first 2 years, then $10/month thereafter. Of course, you do have to buy the phone upfront, but I just wanted to show you that Republic is still cheaper than companies with “free phone” gimmicks.
Neither of us has ever had texting on our phones before. I sent my first text a few weeks ago! Texting seems like an easy way to keep in contact with family and friends. Mr. SixFiguresUnder gets texts from his clients, associates, and his Boy Scouts pretty frequently, so now he can actually reply! I love that there isn’t a limit on texts.
There are some pretty fun benefits of a smartphone, like keeping your calendar handy, listening to audio books, keeping your budget handy, earning money with cash-back apps, and a million other things that you veteran smartphone users could clue me in on. I’m sure it will be handy to have a camera so readily available, though I’m sure we’ll still use our DSLR for most of our photos, since we’re pretty much in love. Our dumb phones were on their last legs anyway. Mine was over 6 years old!
Coverage in the boonies
The drawback I shared previously was that neither Ting nor Republic Wireless had service in our area of the boonies. Both use the Sprint network with free automatic roaming on Verizon’s network if you are out of Sprint coverage. According to their maps, we are right on the edge of the roaming area and the no-coverage area. Hooray for the free trial (money-back guarantee)! We were happy to see that the phone does work at our house!!
We live in a basement, so with my dumb phone, I had to go outside to make or receive a call, which is a little annoying in the winter. Since Republic Wireless works on WiFi, then I can still use my phone at home and even in the basement! I have lots of friends who don’t have any cell reception at their homes since we’re all in the hills. With Republic Wireless, they could use their phone at home on WiFi for talking, texting, and data.
Do you want to try Republic Wireless too?
Take a look at the specs on the Moto G, Moto X and Moto E, the three phones available for Republic Wireless. For us first-tme smart phoners, the Moto G was plenty fancy. If they would have had the Moto E when we signed up (it just came out in October 2014), we probably would have chosen that one, as it’s only $99! The Moto X is pretty sweet too, it’s just a bit fancier than either of us needs. Keep in mind that you can probably sell your old phone on ebay or craigslist (unless it’s a total dinosaur like our dumb phones) to offset the cost of a new Republic Wireless phone.
I can’t think of very many people who wouldn’t save money with Republic Wireless. Even if you have to cancel your other cell phone contract early with a penalty, you will probably recoup your losses quickly. If you’re a regular reader, you know how Mr. SixFiguresUnder feels about sunk costs.
When you signed up for your cell phone contract, you committed to make a certain payment (your early termination penalty) plus monthly payments. In most cases, whether you keep using your current service or not, you’re on the hook for the early termination amount, either as a penalty or wrapped up in the continuing monthly contract. That cost can’t be recovered, spent again, or wasted – it’s already gone, so it shouldn’t be a factor in your decision to keep or switch your plan. The deciding factors should be the future costs and benefits of each plan.
There you have it! For us Republic Wireless takes the cake for the most frugal phone.
- How about you? Are you happy with your cell phone plan? Would Republic Wireless be a good fit for you? What other plans are you using or have you considered?
Note: This post includes an affiliate link. You can trust that I won’t recommend something unless I think it’s fabulous. For more info see my disclosure policy.
Linked to Thrifty Thursday