Table of Contents
I first reviewed Republic Wireless four years ago while researching low-cost cellular providers. I reviewed the service again after helping my parents switch to Republic. To recap:
Republic Wireless combines the best of WiFi broadband internet and cellular coverage. The Republic team took the stock Android operating system and developed a custom firmware that integrates WiFi calling technology with traditional cellular coverage.
When connected to a Wifi internet connection, Republic Wireless automatically makes calls and sends messages through the WiFi internet connection, which is very cheap to do. When WiFi is not available, Republic utilizes cellular towers like every other cellular provider.
The transition between WiFi and cellular is seamless. If you make a call from your home while connected to your WiFi, then get in your car and leave, Republic will automatically transition from the WiFi connection to cellular towers (and vice versa) without any disruption to call quality.
Republic Wireless Phones
There are two different phone options available when switching to Republic Wireless.
- Bring your own device and purchase a Republic Wireless SIM card ($5)
- Purchase a new, unlocked smartphone directly from Republic
Bring Your Own Phone
If you already own a compatible smartphone, you can purchase a Republic Wireless SIM card ($5 including free shipping) and activate service on your existing device.
To check compatibility, visit the Bring Your Own Phone Webpage and click the message at the top of the page titled “Click here to view the full list of our supported phones.”
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.
Purchase a New Phone from Republic
If you don’t own a compatible smartphone and would like to purchase a new phone, Republic offers a variety of new, unlocked smartphones for sale.
These phones require no contract whatsoever. If you decide to leave Republic, you can take the phone and use it on another carrier immediately.
Additionally, Republic Wireless offers a money-back guarantee on all smartphones and service. 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.
Republic Wireless Plans and Coverage
First and foremost, Republic requires no service contracts. All service is prepaid monthly and can be canceled at any time. When you sign up, you pay for your first month of service, which begins when you activate your SIM card. You can even cancel your first month of service within the first 14 days and receive a full refund (see the section below on the “Republic Wireless Money-Back Guarantee”).
Republic Wireless utilizes either the T-Mobile or Sprint network (but not both). When you plug your address into the Republic Wireless Coverage Map, the system selects the optimal network based on availability and network speeds where you live. If you don’t like the initial recommendation, you can chat with support and request a particular provider.
As of right now, Republic offers the following unlimited plan:
- $15/month (or $12.50/month when paid annually) – Unlimited talk and text in the U.S. and Canada
- $5/month (less when paid annually): Each Gigabyte (GB) of 4G LTE cellular data
The $15/month includes unlimited talk and text. If you need cellular data (WiFi is always free), each Gigabyte (GB) of cellular data is a flat $5/month, and you can add additional data any time during the month. Both rates are reduced when paying annually.
When Republic tested these plans with a large sample of customers, they found that the average user used roughly 1GB of cellular data each month (because WiFi is so widely available).
Republic Wireless International Coverage
While in the United States, you can receive (but not initiate) calls, texts (SMS), and multimedia messages (MMS) from anywhere in the world at no additional cost. You can initiate calls, texts, and multimedia messages to any U.S. or Canadian number, at any time.
While traveling internationally, you can receive calls/SMS/MMS from any international phone numbers while connected to WiFi only. You cannot place calls, send SMS/MMS, or use cellular data while traveling internationally.
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 (international) 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 is compatible with the service that is available at your travel destination. If your phone is compatible, simply purchase a SIM card at your destination and swap out your Republic SIM whenever needed.
The Republic Wireless Money-Back Guarantee(s)
Republic Wireless offers a money-back guarantee on all products and services.
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 monthly 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.
The Cash Cow Conclusion
For individual users, other cellular providers are still trying to charge 2-3x the price of Republic’s unlimited talk and text plan. The plan pricing is transparent and flexible, allowing you to select the amount of cellular data you need each month.
Furthermore, the money-back guarantees offered by Republic are unmatched. The 14-day risk-free trial provides ample time to test coverage and device satisfaction.
Republic Wireless is disrupting the landscape of cellular providers, increasing competition among existing networks, and driving down the cost of cellular service.