Republic Wireless Review 2019

Republic Wireless Review Save Money

I first reviewed Republic Wireless four years ago after helping my parents switch to Republic. 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 either the T-Mobile or Sprint network (but not both). When you plug your address into their coverage checker, their system selects your network based on availability and network speeds where you live.
  • New Phone Policy – Republic now sells a variety of new, unlocked smartphones that are compatible with both the T-Mobile and Sprint networks. These phones are fully unlocked for use on any GSM or CDMA network, which means that each phone will work with other cellular providers if you 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

There are two different options available when switching to Republic Wireless.

  1. Purchase a new, unlocked smartphone directly from Republic
  2. Bring your own device and purchase a Republic wireless SIM card

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

  • Samsung Galaxy S9 – $719
  • Moto Z³ Play – $499
  • Moto X⁴ – $349
  • Moto G⁵S Plus – $279
  • Moto G⁶ – $249
  • Moto G⁶ Play – $199
  • Moto E⁴ – $129
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 – $199
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 – $149
  • Alcatel A30 – $99

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 U.S. carrier.

The Alcatel A30 gets the edge on pricing, being $30 cheaper.

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

republic wireless Moto G5 review

Best Overall Value: Moto G⁶

The new Moto G⁶ is a good value. It has received praise for the following features:

  • 12 MP + 5 MP dual rear cameras with 4K video recording
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 450 (8-core) processors
  • 100% compatibility with all U.S. carriers
  • 5.7” Full HD (1080 x 1920) IPS screen
  • Android™ 8.0 Oreo

If you are looking for a better camera and more powerful processor than the Moto E⁴ mentioned above, the Moto G⁶ 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 or A576RW)
  • Google Pixel (G-2PW4100)
  • Google Pixel XL (G-2PW2100)
  • Google Pixel 2 (G011A)
  • Google Pixel 2 XL (G011C)
  • Huawei Ascend 5W (H1623)
  • Moto E4 (XT1768)
  • Moto E4 Plus (XT1775)
  • Moto G4 (XT1625)
  • Moto G4 PLAY (XT1607)
  • Moto G4 PLUS (XT1644)
  • Moto G5 Plus (XT1687)
  • Moto G5S Plus (XT1806)
  • Moto X Pure Edition (XT1575)
  • Moto Z (XT1650-03)
  • Moto Z Play (XT1635-02)
  • Moto Z2 Play (XT1710-01)
  • Nexus 5X by LG (LGH790)
  • Nexus 6 by Motorola (XT1103)
  • Nexus 6P by Huawei (H1511)
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (SM-J320A or SM-J327U)
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (SM-J727U)
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 (SM-G920T)
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 (SM-G930U)
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (SM-G935U)
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 (SM-G950U1)
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SM-G955U1)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (SM-N950U1)

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, Republic offers their My Choice Plan:

  • $15/month: Unlimited talk and text on T-Mobile. Data on WiFi only
  • $5/month: Each GB of cellular data on T-Mobile.

The $15/month covers all talk and text on T-Mobile’s network. If you need cellular data (WiFi is always free), each Gigabyte of T-Mobile cellular data is a flat $5/month. Republic will allow you to add additional data at any time during the month.

When Republic tested these plans with a large sample of customers, they found that the average user used slightly less than 1GB of cellular data each month (because WiFi is so widely available to use for free). 

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 abroad, 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 out your Republic SIM and putting in a SIM that works in the country you’re visiting. Many of the unlocked phones supported by Republic are capable of connecting to foreign cellular service, but you need to verify that your specific phone’s  cellular bands are compatible with the service that is available at your 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 – Republic offers a 14-day guarantee for all smartphones purchased directly from the website. Following the date of delivery, you have 2 weeks to use your device on the Republic network. If you are unhappy for any reason, you can return the device for a full refund (device must be undamaged, with original packaging).

Service Guarantee – After activating your new phone, Republic also provides a 14-day guarantee on cellular 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
Pros
Low-cost unlimited plans
Affordable unlocked smartphones
Bring your own device program
Reliable T-Mobile coverage
Cons
Customer support is limited to email and chat. No phone support is available.
8.8
Overall

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

User Generated Content Disclosure: Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

187
Leave a Reply

avatar
84 Comment threads
103 Thread replies
7 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
125 Comment authors
CoreyBeatrice G WashingtonRyanMaria Grace C. ArceoEm Marvin Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Dorothy Bradley
Guest
Dorothy Bradley

I am having a problem with multimedia messaging. When I go to send a picture I get a message,
couldn’t send due to network problem. I don’t understand due to the fact my husband and I are on the same network. He is able to send and receive. I can receive a multimedia message just not send one. I haven’t made any changes to my phone. This makes the second day it has been like this. Somehow I’m thinking it is not the network. I have a Moto G phone. Hope you can help.

Dorothy Bradley
Guest
Dorothy Bradley

Thank You so very much for your help. I have e-mailed you several times. You have always answered right away. You have been very helpful. I contacted Republic and they were able to help me. I am now able to multimedia message.I have had a few issues with my phone but was always able to have the problem resolved quickly. We love our phones and the service we have received from Republic. The money savings out weigh the few problems we have had. Thanks again!

John
Guest
John

We’re in Oceanside, Ca and have enjoyed WR here since early 2013. First phone was the DEFY on “Beta Service” and that equipment itself did leave a lot to be desired! No auto switching between WiFi and Mobile service and otherwise too many dropped calls per se. I would suggest it’s a big mistake to buy a DEFY phone. Just compromising WR good experience capability with a lot of fussiness at best and connectivity issues perhaps at worst! We presently have two WR phones with two lines in service. I recently lost my original Moto E phone, now just within… Read more »

Tricia
Guest
Tricia

I currently have US Cellular. Can I use the assigned phone number from Republic Wireless for a week or so before canceling US Cellular and then, after that trial week, cancel US Cellular and transfer my US Cellular number to my RW Moto X Phone?

Thangfish
Guest
Thangfish

Republic has a 30-day, money back guarantee.
Use the number Republic gives you.
You can swap to your old number at anytime, IF it’s still yours.

If you cancel your old number BEFORE you transfer it to Republic, it’s not yours anymore, so you lose it.

AZterritory
Guest
AZterritory

We did exactly what Thangfish said to do–worked fine. Used Republic on the number they gave us, figured everything out, we liked it, we cancelled with awful T-Mobile, never looked back!

mary
Guest
mary

I am considering switching to RW wireless. I’ve read through almost all of these comments and found it very useful. Thanks. I do have a question. Is it possible to move apps from internal to external storage on the phones?

Thanks!

Katie
Guest
Katie

Great article! I have an old iphone4 through Straight Talk (which I thought was really cheap until I came across RW) and have been very interested in switching to Republic for the past few months. I have a couple questions though: 1) I saw some posts about importing contacts, I was wondering if I could do it from an iphone to a Republic phone? This is out of pure laziness, as I just don’t want to manually type in all my contacts again. 2) My husband is a pilot and travels internationally a few times a year. My understanding is… Read more »

Mandy
Guest
Mandy

Hi! My husband and I are seriously considering switching to RW, especially after reading all of these awesome comments. My question is, how do we go about transferring contacts from our verizon phones to the new RW phones?

Todd
Guest
Todd

Your RW phone is android based and will work best when a Google Account is set up with it. You can import your contacts from your iPhone to your Google Account / gmail and Voi La, those contacts will be on your RW phone when it is on the same Google account.
Set up your GMAIL account on your iPhone for calendar sync:
on iPhone open Settings>Mail, Contacts, Calendars>Add Account> Google.
enter your credentials.
enable ‘Contacts’

Jeff Taylor
Guest
Jeff Taylor

I have a moto G and soon will be traveling to Europe. I am wondering about the basics of how I can use the phone and not worry about charges. When I arrive in Europe should I put it in Airplane mode? Will I need to buy a SIM card? Can I make phone calls, texts, check the web etc, without charges? Thanks!

Victor
Guest
Victor

I am in europe right now. If you have a wifi connect you will be able to call anywhere back in the united states and of course use the internet. You will not be able to call with in europe. Put your phone in airplane mode otherwise it will drain the battrry searching for a carrier.

Nicole Stevenson
Guest
Nicole Stevenson

Can I buy a pre-owned rw phone, port my number and use it? Is there anything specific I need to look into, besides making sure it’s a rw phone? If current number can’t be used, how do I get a new phone number assigned to phone? Does rw offer deals on pre-owned phones?

Bob Miller
Guest
Bob Miller

Yes Nicole…RW does offer used phones but they only have a limited number of the and are often out so you may just have to keep checking back. Also, you can find them on Ebay.

Dana
Guest
Dana

I was one of the people that used only a tracphone because I didn’t want a monthly bill…. That is until my friend from Maryland told me about Republic wireless. He works for the government and said that he was able to drop his high phone plan and use RW for $100 less than he was paying. So, I figured I would give it a try since I was paying over $45 a month for my husbands tracfone…. Boy am I glad I did… I not only saved money, but I use the phone for directions, searching the web, and… Read more »

Alex
Guest
Alex

I’ve had Republic Wireless for about a year now. My wife and I switched from 2 Grandfathered Unlimited Verizon plans and we were paying $160 a month. Looking to save money, we spent the $650 ($600 plus taxes) to get our 1st Gen Moto Xs and seeing as how the phones have paid for themselves at the 8 month mark – we couldn’t be happier. Cell service in our area is EXCELLENT. My wife has the 3G plan and I have the 4G plan (I am with my 3 year old more often than she is and need the boost… Read more »

Amy
Guest
Amy

I have been using RW since its Beta days and have been very pleased with customer service, my phones, and pricing. I recommend them all the time to friends and family!!

Danielle
Guest
Danielle

Hi!
My question is: they assign you a phone number right? Will it be in my current area code? Next, can I buy the phone off ebay? If I do what do I have to make sure of from the seller before I purchase? Next. Can I take my number with me if I leave? Is there a contract period? Thanks!!!

Rebecca
Guest
Rebecca

First read about Republic on your website. I did some research and decided to give them a try. One month in and I couldn’t be happier. They deliver exactly what they promise. I was paying Verizon $80 a month for two dumb phones. I just received my first Republic bill. $25 for two smart phones on the $10 plan. We bought the Moto E and are very happy with our choice. It disgusts me to think how much money I’ve given Verizon over the years. So glad I found your recommendation. Thanks!

HitesMites
Guest
HitesMites

I’m right behind ya. Paying VZW $200/mo. for 700 min. unlimited texting, 5G data just for iPhone. Me and husband are on flip phones and 21yo is on iPhone 4S (she pays me $75/mo for her portion of the bill. I’m switching her to BYO Wireless on her own plan). Verizon offers no flexibility to suit our individual phone needs. The three of us don’t even use the 700 shared minutes. Husband wants nothing to do with a smartphone, so he’s staying with VZW on a basic phone single line plan. I’m moving over to RW and getting the Moto… Read more »

Chuck
Guest
Chuck

i just switched to republic last month and i love it. $10/mo plan fits me fine. it’s my first smartphone so i don’t notice if/that the moto E shows its age. it surfs the web, gives offline driving directions, checks email, plays bluetooth music, streams vids and music, and is cheaper than my flip phone per month. since it’s replacing a flip phone i don’t mind that i can’t get cell data. it just happens to be a smartphone while i’m at work and at home. if this moto e lasts more than 5 months it will have paid for… Read more »

ray
Guest
ray

Sitting in the basement of the largest hospital in Grand Rapids Michigan.Really need cell phone to tell family members about condition of sick child. No one has cell coverage on ANY network, including Republic (Sprint). Oh yea, connect to guest network – sure! Instant and perfect cell service. Republic wireless – invaluable and priceless

Diana
Guest
Diana

What happens if you don’t have Sprint service in your area? They say it switches to Verizon in bad coverage areas. Would I just always have Verizon coverage in my home area?

Tara
Guest
Tara

There aren’t any SPrint towers in my area but there is a Verizon tower about a mile down the road from my house. Are you saying that even though this is a “Sprint” phone, it will still run off of Verizon towers?? I just want to make sure I’m understanding correctly. I would hate to switch and have a phone that doesn’t work in my area. Thanks!

RichardG
Guest
RichardG

I have the $10 p/month plan. There are no Sprint towers in my area so I rely on WiFi and Verizon towers (thus, I am roaming for cell and text). Service is great. I can’t get a data plan since RW would have to charge me for roaming data, but that is okay since WiFi is generally available.