Republic Wireless Offers Smartphone Plan for $19 a month – What's the Catch?

Republic Wireless Offers Smartphone Plan for $19 a month - What's the Catch?For a small business, a good-quality Small Business Phone System is vital. It allows better communication between both customers and employees without the additional costs of having to juggle multiple platforms to communicate properly. However, finding a trustworthy provider can sometimes be difficult.

Republic Wireless answers the obvious question on its website: There is no catch. You get unlimited talk, text and data with no contract for $19 a month.
However, the relatively new wireless provider isn’t exactly starting a price war among other no-contract
smartphone services.
For $19 a month, there actually is a catch.
Republic Wireless service is so inexpensive because it depends on Wi-Fi connections whenever possible, and voice calls are handled via VoIP. Understanding VoIP technology is key to determining whether this type of phone system is the right choice for you or your business. You can learn more about VoIP technology by researching ‘what is sip trunking‘ online. When there’s no accessible Wi-Fi network, Republic uses the Sprint network.
Your choice of smartphones is down to one: the dual-band Motorola DEFY XT.
When happens if you use the Sprint option too much? You get dumped.
According to Consumer Reports, which reviewed the service, Republic tracks your cellular and Wi-Fi usage and reserves the right to cut you off if you spend too much time on the Sprint network.
“The company won’t acknowledge what that cut-off point is but says it’s yet to ‘fire a customer’ for overuse of the phone network,” says the CR review.
Most customers, according to Republic, spend 60 percent or more of their time on Wi-Fi.
Republic states on its website that it is relying on the honor system.
“Yes. It really is just $19 for truly unlimited talk, text, and data with no contract. But nobody likes a data hog and we rely on the honor system. As long as you play nice, and try to use Wi-Fi as much as you can, we’ll keep on doing what we do and can continue to offer you great wireless service on a network built for you.”
The are some other bumps along the way for the Republic smartphone user. If you initiate a call on a Wi-Fi network and then move out of that network’s range, the phone automatically placing a second call over Sprint’s cellular network. CR says that the hand-off is not seamles.
“The person at the other end of the call must hit the flash button to maintain the conversation or he’ll lose the call,” CR says.
Here is what Consumer Reports says about the Republic smartphone:
“The Motorola Defy XT is a competent but not particularly impressive phone. It runs the somewhat dated Android Gingerbread (2.3.7) OS and supports only 3G networks, not Sprint’s faster 4G one.”
CR concludes that the dirt-cheap Republic plan could be ideal for the very budget conscience person who has access to regular Wi-Fi, possibly a college student or an extreme penny pincher.
However, “not even Republic Wireless’ rock-bottom pricing will be enough to offset the frustrations of the shaky network connections and limited phone capabilities,” CR said.

2 thoughts on “Republic Wireless Offers Smartphone Plan for $19 a month – What's the Catch?

  • February 12, 2013 at 10:32 pm
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    What’s the BIG catch?? NO…CUSTOMER…SERVICE!! This is a phone company that won’t allow you to phone them and ask for help if you have technical issues that need addressed or if you find that they have billed you incorrectly. They offer phone support to their business unit but not for their consumer unit. But for this, they still want you to cough up $259 for an outdated-technology phone and fork over $19/month for you to use your OWN internet connection (that you are already paying for) to make phone calls. As mentioned in the above article, Consumer Reports has pretty much given RW a thumbs-down rating as they had more problems to showcase in the review than positive attributes to mention. This is a company that holds your money for weeks and months after you return the phone under their 30-day money back guarantee policy. There are posts after posts on their public forums by customers asking where their refunds are even 8 weeks after they have returned the phone and have been approved for a refund. The best excuse that RW can come up with is: “Oops, we must’ve overlooked you.” Again, rehearsed excuses for not offering good customer service when it comes to returning people’s money. This is a company that won’t even offer the most basic dumb phone feature – MMS (sending and receiving a picture on your phone from friends and family). Customers are clamoring for this most basic feature on their forums and RW’s response is simply, “It’s not that important to our company, and we may never offer it.” Overall, this is a company with a great idea but horrific execution in making it happen. They have been doing this for 3 years now, since the creation of their mobile division, and they still can’t seem to get things right when dealing with customers and wireless VOIP technology. If you need to contact RW, there are secret phone numbers listed at Yelp and the Howard Forums. But to make things easier for customers looking for help, here they are:
    919-297-1100 – Jim Mulcahy, manager of RW
    919-297-1010 – David Morken, CEO
    919-439-7335 – Sean Rivers, director of customer service/admin of forums
    919-297-1040 – Joe Merrill
    919-297-1100 – automated company directory. dial by last name.
    Ben Armstrong, product manager
    Tim Jones, cell phone product specialist
    Sarah Davis, admin of forums
    Brent Pentecost, admin of forums

  • February 15, 2013 at 11:40 am
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    Sly,
    We’re very sorry to hear your frustration. We have been in business for 1 year and three months. In that time, we’ve been proud to offer $19/month unlimited phone service on the nation’s first Hybrid Calling network. One of the reasons we’re able to provide our service is because we’re creating it along with our community in beta before our big grand opening. Feedback from our members is, and has been, a vital part of making our company a success and we are committed to continuing to learn, and get even better.
    MMS has been an ongoing conversation among our community and the folks here at Republic. Our ability to offer MMS functionality depends on a few key industry partners and we’re working with them now. Unfortunately, that means we don’t have a firm date we can give for when to expect this functionality. Lots of folks use email, Instagram, FB, etc. for sending pics, but we understand in your post that you’d like MMS. We are working diligently on this feature and are exploring a number of options in this area as we move closer to the end of our beta.
    The Motorola DEFY XT available on our site is loaded with special Republic software that enables it to make calls over our Hybrid Wi-Fi/Cellular network – the first ever of its kind. For many of our members, this means tremendous savings and a better calling experience. This year, we’re taking great strides to make enjoying the features of a smartphone as affordable and accessible as possible for anyone. With our members’ help, we’ve successfully launched our new Wi-Fi+ app for boosting service, our first over the air update for the DEFY XT, and we’re looking into offering more phone options this year too.
    Our support staff works hard to answer tickets and create a welcoming environment for our community where members can quickly find the information they need. We are always more than happy to answer questions and try to help you. The best way to reach us is at help@repbulicwireless.com or on Facebook (facebook.com/republicwireless), or Twitter (@republicwirelss). We are again very sorry for your experience and we thank you for all your feedback.
    Best,
    Republic Wireless

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