Is The $19 Unlimited Talk, Text, Data Plan For Real?
The answer is yes, but not exactly and that's because Republic Wireless is offering a new type of service one that combines a heavy reliance on Wi-Fi and places cellular data as the last resort. While at the moment the only phone the carrier has available is the LG Optimus, the deal still seems to good to be true. So let's go through the details of how this hybrid calling plan actually works.
The phones from the carrier are designed to take use of Wi-Fi whenever possible for calls, data, and messaging. The network behind the Republic Wireless service is Sprint's CDMA and there are apparently measures in place to ensure that users don't consume great amounts data. The idea sounds great and as mobile plans and data rates continue increase there is going to be a growing market of people looking for lower priced options. It's perfect for those who have Wi-Fi at home and at work or school and use relatively low amounts of data and minutes when out and about.
It remains to be seen however how they intend to make sure users are taking exorbitant amounts of data on the cheap. Power users and those always on the go won't be the best fit for plan like this.
The Low Down
To start the plan it is $199.99 including the phone which may seem like a lot for an LG Optimus on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but the plan is contract free and that starter price includes your first month of service. It would be great if you could bring over you own device, but you must use one purchased from Republic that is customized to always prefer Wi-Fi and use the mobile network as a last resort. Your usage will without a doubt be measured and they state to stay within acceptable limits you shouldn't consume no more than 300Mb of data, 550 minutes, and 150 text messages. They calculate your usage with what they call a CUI or Cellular Use Index and those usage amounts are for a 7 day period so for a month you get 1200Mb of data, 2200 minutes, and 600 text on cellular usage and of course Wi-Fi usage is unlimited.
You may be thinking well that's certainly not unlimited then if there are usage limits. Well their plan states that they will never charge you overages so that $19 a month is all you will ever pay, they will though contact you if your CUI for the week is too high. Although it is not given there is a certain amount of time in which they work with you to find ways to bring your usage within acceptable levels. If you don't then they will "assist" you in finding a carrier that is more suitable to your needs. So you can go over a few times and still be alright just keep your average usage around the specified amounts.
Republic Wireless is on to something having a built-in service that allows you to make free calls over Wi-Fi and with their whole Wi-Fi biased phones in general. For the average user who is uses their device more often than not in Wi-Fi areas then this is a great option that is if the LG Optimus is enough phone for you. Light users should have no problem with this plan and will actually save a lot of money in the process. Heavy users or those who either need a higher grade device, or more cellular usage should look elsewhere. Hopefully options like this expand and give consumers different lower priced options to the ever-increasing carrier rates. What do you think is this a plan you could see yourself on either now or when they add more devices to their lineup?