Republic Wireless Review 2017

November 22, 2017

November, 2017 update: Republic is offering a sale on the following smartphones: Moto G5 Plus ($199) or Alcatel A30 ($79)

Original Review

I first reviewed Republic Wireless three years ago when my parents were looking for a new cellular plan. I reviewed the service again after they updated the firmware and released two new phones. To recap:

Republic Wireless is an innovative company that I stumbled upon while researching low-cost cellular providers. The founders developed a plan to prioritize WiFi broadband internet over cellular data, thereby lowering the cost to end users.

The Republic team took the stock Android operating system and developed a custom firmware that integrates WiFi calling technology with traditional cellular coverage. When you connect to a Wifi internet connection, Republic Wireless phones automatically make calls and send messages through the internet, which is very cheap to do. Once you are beyond WiFi range, Republic phones automatically switch and utilize cellular towers like most smartphones.

With the custom firmware configured, Republic launched a beta program to test feasibility. The new service was configured for only one phone – the Motorola Defy XT (now extinct), and there were several problems with the beta service. The transition from WiFi to cellular towers was buggy and sometimes resulted in dropped calls. MMS (multimedia messaging) also had problems.

Firmware Updates

To fix the initial problems observed in the beta release, Republic Wireless made a number of firmware changes and vastly improved their network transition. They fixed the problem with dropped calls and fixed the messaging problems. The Wifi-cellular hybrid service began working seamlessly and has continued to improve with each new update.

Republic also announced a new lineup of phones. They began offering the Moto X and Moto G. A few months after release, Republic rolled out two more phones, the Moto E and the 2nd generation Moto X. These phones will continue to be supported by Republic, but will not be available for purchase by new customers.

Big Changes in 2016

On July 28th, 2016, Republic once again improved their service and announced several major changes:

  • Cellular Network – New Republic Wireless users will utilize the T-Mobile network (existing plans will remain on the Sprint network).
  • New Phone Policy – Republic now sells a variety of new, unlocked smartphones that are compatible with the T-Mobile network. These phones are fully unlocked, which means that each phone will work on other cellular plans if you ever happen to leave Republic.
  • Bring Your Own Phone – New customers can use their existing smartphone (must be in the compatibility list below) and purchase a Republic SIM card (available online for $5).

Republic Wireless Phones

You have two options when selecting a smartphone to use Republic Wireless service.

  1. Purchase a new, unlocked smartphone directly from Republic
  2. Or, bring your own device and purchase a Republic wireless SIM card ($5).

If you want to purchase a device from Republic, you can choose between the following smartphones:

  • Samsung Galaxy S8 – $699
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – $599
  • Moto X⁴ – $349
  • Moto G⁵ Plus – $199
  • Moto E⁴ Plus – $179
  • Moto E⁴ – $99
  • Alcatel A30 – $79

These phones require no contracts whatsoever. If you decide to leave Republic, you can take the phone and use it on another carrier.

Which Republic Wireless Phone Should You Choose?

All of the unlocked phones offered by Republic are reputable Android smartphones. You really can’t go wrong, but I’ll share a few of my thoughts on selecting a phone.

republic wireless Moto G4 review

Best Budget Phone: Moto E⁴ or Alcatel A30

Both of these phones are a great value, and both offer similar modern features that users love:

  • Latest Android updates
  • Similar battery life and capacity
  • Almost identical size, weight, and screen
  • Similar processors, RAM, and performance
  • Both have 16GB storage + MicroSD memory card slot

The Moto E⁴ has two major advantages:

  • The E⁴ supports up to 128GB microSD memory cards, while the Alcatel A30 only officially supports up to 32GB memory cards.
  • Internal cellular antennas for all major U.S. carriers. If you ever needed to leave Republic, your Moto E⁴ would work with any other U.S. carrier.

The Alcatel A30 gets the edge on pricing, being $20 cheaper.

For the vast majority of smartphone users, both phones are more than capable and will provide a solid user experience.

Best Overall Value: Moto G⁵ Plus republic wireless Moto G5 review

The new Moto G⁵ Plus is a good value. It has received praise for the following features:

  • 12MP Dual Autofocus rear camera with 4K video recording
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 625 (8-core) processors
  • 100% compatibility with all U.S. carriers
  • 5.2” Full HD (1080 x 1920) IPS screen
  • Android™ 7.0 Nougat

If you are looking for a better camera and more powerful processor than the Moto E⁴ mentioned above, the Moto G⁵ will be a great fit.

If you are looking for a premium device, The Samsung Galaxy series has excellent user reviews. The only concern is the steep price tag.

Bring Your Own Phone

If you already own a compatible smartphone, you can purchase a Republic Wireless SIM card and activate service on your existing device.

As of now, the following devices are compatible with the Republic SIM card (model number is shown in parenthesis):

  • Alcatel A30 (5046G)
  • Google Pixel (G-2PW4100)
  • Google Pixel XL (G-2PW2100)
  • Huawei Ascend 5W (H1623)
  • Moto E4 (XT1768)
  • Moto G4 (XT1625)
  • Moto G4 PLAY (XT1607)
  • Moto G4 PLUS (XT1644)
  • Moto G5 Plus (XT1687)
  • Moto X Pure Edition (XT1575)
  • Moto Z (XT1650-03)
  • Moto Z Play (XT1635-02)
  • Nexus 5X by LG (LGH790)
  • Nexus 6 by Motorola (XT1103)
  • Nexus 6P by Huawei (H1511)
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 (SM-G920T)
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (SM-J320A)
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 (SM-G930U)
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (SM-G935U)

If you own an eligible device, you must download the Republic Wireless app to verify compatibility.

After verifying compatibility, you can then order a universal Republic SIM card for $5. When the SIM card arrives, insert into your device and load the Republic app to activate your device.

Republic Wireless Plans and Coverage

In 2016, Republic completely overhauled their network and plans. Previously, Republic phones ran on the Sprint network and had to be purchased directly from Republic. Today, all available phones are unlocked and utilize the T-Mobile network.

In many parts of the country, T-Mobile has better coverage than Sprint, resulting in fewer headaches and dropped calls. I would recommend that you check the Republic Wireless Coverage Map before deciding on a monthly plan.

As of right now, customers can select from the following plans:

  • $15/month: Unlimited talk and text on T-Mobile and WiFi. Data on WiFi only
  • $20/month: Unlimited talk and text on T-Mobile and WiFi. 1GB data on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network
  • $30/month: Unlimited talk and text on T-Mobile and WiFi. 2GB data on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network
  • $45/month: Unlimited talk and text on T-Mobile and WiFi. 4GB data on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network
  • $60/month: Unlimited talk and text on T-Mobile and WiFi. 6GB data on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network
  • $90/month: Unlimited talk and text on T-Mobile and WiFi. 10GB data on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network

The $15/month plan is the base plan, offering unlimited talk and text (but no cellular data).

The $20/month plan is probably the best value for most users. For an additional $5 per month, you get 1GB of high-speed cellular data each month. When Republic tested these plans with a large sample of customers, they found that the average user needs about 0.75 GB of cellular data each month (because WiFi is so widely available to use for free).

Republic will allow you to upgrade your plan (add additional data) at any time during the month.

Republic Wireless International Coverage

Republic Wireless doesn’t offer international cellular coverage. However, when you are connected to WiFi, you will generally be able to make calls and send text messages to U.S. and Canadian numbers and otherwise use your phone as if you were home.

When using your Republic phone for WiFi calling/messaging, I suggest placing your phone in airplane mode and manually enabling WiFi. Using airplane mode will help preserve battery life that would be otherwise wasted when your phone attempts to locate a cellular signal it cannot utilize.

If you need to make calls to local numbers where you’re traveling, you can switch between Republic and local cellular service by swapping SIM cards. Some of the unlocked phones supported by Republic are capable of connecting to foreign cellular service, but you would have to verify the compatibility of your phone and travel destination. If your phone is compatible, simply purchase a SIM card at your vacation destination and swap out your Republic SIM whenever needed.

The Republic Wireless Guarantee

Republic Wireless offers a money back guarantee on all products purchased through Republic Wireless.

There are two different types of guarantees:

Phone Guarantee – Generally, Republic offers a 14-day guarantee for all devices. Following the date of delivery, you have 2 weeks to use your device on Republic. If you are unhappy for any reason, you can return the device for a full refund (device must be undamaged, in its original packaging).

Service Guarantee – After activating your new phone, Republic provides a 14-day guarantee for monthly service. If you don’t like the service, you can request a full refund of the initial service charge.

If for any reason, you decide Republic isn’t for you, you can contact Republic for a full refund on your device and service within the 14-day window.

Our Experience on Republic Wireless

Three different members of our family are long-time Republic Wireless users. Each has a different phone and different plan. The original firmware had some problems, and we did experience the occasional dropped call when moving from WiFi to the cellular network. Other than that, the quality of calls over WiFi has been very good, with no noticeable decline in call quality when compared to cellular calls.

The recent updates have greatly improved the service. Dropped calls are increasingly rare, and the overall experience is comparable to the other major cellular providers. The only difference is that Republic is much more affordable and innovative. Other cellular companies are still trying to charge 2-3x the price of Republic’s unlimited talk and text plan.

Republic Wireless Review Summary

There are very few carriers that can compete with Republic Wireless right now. All of the Republic plans are reasonably priced, and the $20/month plan is a superb solution for most users.

Republic Wireless is disrupting the landscape of cellular providers and doing consumers a huge favor in providing this service. The new phones and plans are another step forward, improving upon an already top-notch service.

You can check the phones, plans, and details on the Republic Wireless website.

Republic Wireless Review
Summary
Starting at $15/month, Republic Wireless is the best cellular provider for unlimited usage. With new phones, new plans, and continual updates, Republic is tough to beat.
Pricing9.5
Features9.3
Ease of Use9.3
Customer Support6.9
Strengths
Low-cost unlimited plans
Affordable unlocked smartphones
Bring your own device program
Reliable T-Mobile coverage
Weaknesses
Customer support is limited to email and chat. No phone support is available.
8.8
Overall
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164 Comments on "Republic Wireless Review 2017"

avatar
Josh
Josh

I am thinking about trying Republic Wireless’ $10 plan. I was wondering how much the fees and taxes are in total. Can anybody tell me?

Derek
Derek

The fee’s and taxes will vary based on where you live. It totally depends on local charges for 911 and state taxes and regulations, which are all different.

Chuck
Chuck

i live in NC where republic/bandwidth is based so i think i’ve got one of the highest tax etc. rates. the $10/month plan comes to $12.19.

Isissonia
Isissonia
Hi, just a review on Republic. This blog was one of the sources which convinced me to try Republic! the savings FAR FAR FAR outweigh the “inconveniences”!! Oh goodness, people! Why do you want to make all of those companies more wealthy while you get poorer?!I have it for a year now. Republic means – no overage charges! No data charges! No contracts! No 600.00 phone if you calculate the monthly payments over 2 year period! There are 3 different phone options now & they may continue to keep growing! the Moto X is AWESOME! You are not settling if… Read more »
magand127
magand127

I have had republic wireless for a few months now and have been completely satisfied with no complaints. It is also great to be able to make all my friends jealous with the unlimited plans where I don’t have to constantly worry about my phone usage on the go.

Luis
Luis
Hey Jacob, I also read yesterday that there is an Ebay reseller where you can get the Republic Moto X refurbished for $199 plus shipping. Great deal for people with an even more restricted budget. I think I will try it out. Plus I live in an area in Los Angeles where the Sprint reception is excellent. I’m so tired every time I call Verizon they try to sell me something I don’t need. Last time I call they tried to put me on a different plan where I would be saving a whooping $3.00 after taxes. This after I… Read more »
John
John

I just tried to use there service and all though there connection map shows Alaska the chat person said they don’t ship phones to Alaska so I guess no service in Alaska

Robert
Robert

there is no high speed internet where i live so no wi-fi. Will this be a problem if i get the $10 per month plan?

Valeria
Valeria

I have been using Republic for about a month now and I have to say it has been smooth sailing so far. I have the Moto G and the operating system seems thus far to work flawlessly. The handoff between wifi and cell service works great. I have started calls on cell, then arrived home and I didn’t even notice until later that the service switched over to wifi. My first bill arrived and with tax, it was only $29. Less than $30 a month for unlimited phone, text and data. Gotta love it!

Joe Max
Joe Max
I have been with RW for about five months now. I have the much hated Defy XT , it serves the purpose for 23 bucks a month, tax included. I use it for about two hours a day, mostly on WiFi. It drops calls once in a while, but for the money, it is a keeper. Took a look at the G , but for six bucks more a month, it is really not worth it to me. Add the phone cost too. I would rate RW overall, with all phones and plans considered. A six max, compared to the… Read more »
Tim
Tim

Joe, in our family we have used the Defy, Moto X, G & recently the E. There is a world of difference between the Defy and any of the other 3. Going to the Moto E might be a good option since the price is lower. We probably would not have stayed with RW if we had only Defy phones. Now we won’t move. The 3 Moto phones work great and the price is awesome.

Mike S
Mike S

I use the Moto X with Republic Wireless and it’s a good phone for a decent price at $299. The price is a lot better than elsewhere for over $500. Republic also has access to Sprint’s roaming partners so the coverage is much better than other MVNOs from Sprint. All in all, great service at an awesome price.

Tarynkay
Tarynkay
I just switched to Republic Wireless. I got the Moto G, which I am plenty happy with. I had a dumbphone through Virgin Mobile before that. I liked VM and would recommend them for people with no access to WiFi, but realized that I was paying $30/month for limited talk and text when I could be paying $10/month for unlimited. And then my 2 year old destroyed my dumb phone, so I took that as a sign. Anyhow, I like it, and I especially like that it has a pretty good camera b.c that is something I did not have… Read more »
Ken
Ken
Nice review Jacob. I tried the RW here in the suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Usually have WiFi everywhere I go. Love the phone: Moto X. Only issue I have encountered is whenever going from cell to a new WiFi location many require I enter some information or check a box saying I have read their legal info. This catches me off guard at times but it is only a minor issue. Liking RW so much I bought my daughter a Moto G and did the $10/month package. She is at the university 9 months out of the year and has… Read more »
mikencolo
mikencolo
i started with RW last spring using the moto g and have been very happy. we live in rural colorado and part of living where we do means no cell signal, at least not until we are a good many miles from home. i have found a couple of things getting started that might well be helpful to other RW end users. first we all have two telephone numbers even if we believe we have just one, that is how we get our calls via the sprint network. so we have our primary in addition to that hidden sprint number.… Read more »
Josh
Josh

We have been using Republic Wireless for a couple weeks. We live in West Michigan. The switch between wifi and cellular service seems smooth. We live in West Michigan and love it. We just bought another Moto G from them.

Kris
Kris

Thank you for your comments! I also live in West Michigan and was wondering about RW’s service in my area. I would like to upgrade to a smart phone but as I tend to use my talk/text phone only occasionally, I don’t want a high priced plan. This looks like a viable option for me.

David
David

I live in Fruitport, MI and have a RW phone with $10 plan – and I love it! Do it!

Beach Boui
Beach Boui
I’ve been a Republic Wireless customer for over a year (joined Nov 16, 2013). I’ve been realistic about my expectations, and I’ve been very pleased. I just upgraded to the Moto X phone, and I am even more pleased! Sweet phone! I’ve become a wi-fi snob. 😉 My phone stays on wi-fi mode when I’m at home or in a hotel. Wi-fi calls are generally better than cellular calls as far as quality is concerned. And, wi-fi uses less battery power than cell. Finding open wi-fi hotspots around town is like finding little little treasures. It’s fun! It has been… Read more »
Jon Maroni
Jon Maroni
My wife and I switched to Republic Wireless a few months ago and it is as good as advertised. The days of overpriced cell phone plans are gone, there really is a better alternative. We are on their beta priced $20 per month anything plan (which includes data) it isn’t available for new customers but their current $25 plan is equivalent to that one. Something great that Republic Wireless also offers is the chance to save on your bill if you refer friends to their service. We have already gotten a few of our friends to sign up. We went… Read more »
Brian
Brian
That is a well written review (per usual for you). I feel like if you are going to spend $40/month then you might as well go with a traditional plan (or a pre-paid plan) since you can basically get that anyways. I do think the real value is the $10 and $25 plans. I would worry that if I were to switch I would be someone who they would see as “abusing” cellular data since my work doesn’t have wifi and I use about 6-8gb of data a month on cellular networks at 3g speeds. I have heard that this… Read more »
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