With more people looking to save a buck in a US economy that is showing no signs of getting better anytime soon, prepaid carriers, or MVNO's are becoming all the rage. These type of carriers offer huge savings as long as you are willing to let them cut corners in certain places, for example customer service. There are other carriers like Solavei, who use an interesting hook to reel you in. Their business model is to offer savings to the customer if they can sign others up to use their service.
One of the newest prepaid carriers is Republic Wireless, and up until recently their claim to fame is unlimited everything for $19 a month. Of course there is always a catch with a plan so cheap and Republic is no different. In order to get on the $19 plan you must purchase their one and only phone the Motorola DEFY XT, for $249.
You may have noticed that I used the words "up until recently" in the last paragraph when describing Republic's service plan, and that's because they are now changing things up a bit. As of Tuesday February 19th they are offering a second plan where you can buy the handset for $99 as long as you are willing to pay $29 a month for service. Still not a bad deal.
Republic Wireless runs on Sprint's towers but with a little twist, the service it WiFi centric. What this means is that calls and texts will be placed on a WiFi network if you are connected rather than using the mobile data. Republic calls the Defy a hybrid device where the dialer and messaging apps work with both mobile data and WiFi but will default to WiFi when that option is available. One of the bugs that you'll have to deal with by using this method is that there is no transition from WiFi to mobile data should you lose your connection, meaning that if you drop your WiFi mid call there is a delay before the Sprint data kicks in.
Republic Wireless says that they have plans to bring some more up to date handsets, possibly with LTE, by the end of the summer. However, until then you are stuck with the Motorola DEFY XT if you'd like to try them out. Here are the specs for the device:
- 3.7-inch display
- 1GB ROM/512MB RAM
- 1GHz processor
- FM Radio
- 5 megapixel rear-facing camera
- Water and dust proof
- Android 2.3 Gingerbread
For a limited time when you purchase this phone it comes with a $50 Google Play Store credit, and oh yeah the guys over at Android Police have root instructions for you.