This past April Google launched an ambitious new cell service called Project Fi. In Project Fi, your phone will use both Sprint and T-Mobile cell service and will also use Wi-Fi hotspots wherever you might be in range. It will jump between the best and strongest Wi-Fi hotspots in your area, all while talking, texting and making calls. But once you get to a spot without Wi-fi you will utilize the Sprint and T-Mobile networks for your service. The beauty of Project Fi is that you only pay for data you end up using. So if your plan is let’s say $30 a month for 15 GB, but by the end of the month, all you have used is 10 GB you, you will get credit back on your bill.
Well as exciting as this new project sounds, there are two problems with this new service. First you have to own a Google Nexus 6 for it to work at this point and second, little know Republic Wireless has the same service. Republic Wireless a small company that sells mostly low-end phones and uses the Sprint Network when Wi-Fi is unavailable has just gone live with a plan to refund for unused data they promised back in the spring. Having previously been in beta testing with 2,000 of its customers the new Republic Refund plan is now available to all Republic Wireless subscribers. In an interview with FierceWireless senior vice president of product management Jon Schniepp said Republic Wireless wanted to test and see if this new plan would actually save its customers money. Jon Schniepp went on to say “The feedback has been really positive,” which “accelerated the timeframe for bringing this to market.”
The Republic Refund plan breaks to into different plans depending on your budget. For $5 a month you get unlimited Wi-Fi voice, texting and data. Next the $10 or the Base Plan of unlimited Wi-Fi voice, texting, data and unlimited cellular voice and texting. Next up is a $17.50 plan for the same features plus 0.5 GB of cellular data on Sprint. Lastly, we have a $25 plan and a $40 plan that are the same as the previous plans only you get 1 GB of cellular data and 2 GB of mobile data for the most expensive plan. Like Project Fi customers will get a bill credit on their next month bill for all unused data from the previous month. This Republic Refund plans are available on two phones at this current time the first-generation Motorola Moto G and second-generation Motorola Moto X. During the beta test Republic, Wireless customers averaged a monthly bill of $14.88 which was a 31% savings over earlier statements.
Even though Google’s Project Fi is the same service, Jon Schniepp does not seem overly concerned about the competition. “For the big guys who have a lot to lose, there’s significant barriers to this.” Mr. Schniepp also thought this new service is great for the industry and its overall direction “Fundamentally, I think it’s great for consumers that there are challengers attempting to set the industry on a new path.” Lastly, Mr. Schniepp added that so far Republic Wireless has not seen a negative impact on their business due to Google’s Project Fi thus far.