Since 2004, I was a loyal and faithful T-Mobile customer. I started out on the pre-paid plan, simply to have a cell phone in case someone wanted to contact me and didn’t want to call and get my mother. Eventually I transitioned to a family plan and was a loyal Blackberry customer, but I realized, even though my bill was significantly cheaper than my friends, that even $50 per month was too much money for a cell phone plan. In January of 2014, I started doing some research to figure out if there was a company outside of the large-carrier companies like AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. My research eventually led me to the company Republic Wireless and over the course of the past year, I’ve completely changed the way I look at paying for and using a cell phone. In this post, I’ll show you how to start saving you as much as $100 per month off your cell phone bill.
There’s a few different things that need to be covered and explained to ensure you’re as informed about what Republic Wireless offers and how they differ from the large-carrier companies. Yes, you can get a cellphone plan for only $5/month, that’s not a misprint, but there’s an up front cost involved. Once you’ve chosen your device, you will begin to reap the savings long-term via their incredibly affordable cell phone plans.
Republic Wireless Upfront Costs
As I previously mentioned, I was a longtime Blackberry user prior to switching over and knew I was going to need to give up my obsession with the Blackberry keyboard to align with my goals of slashing my cell phone bill. In less than a year’s time, Republic Wireless has gone from offering only one phone option, which I currently use and had available to me, the Moto X, to offering four phone solutions with one being a much more economic solution for those looking to make the switch even cheaper. Republic Wireless offers the following four phone options:
You can read about the individual specs of each of the specific phones, but it’s very important to point out that you must use one of the four phones listed through Republic Wireless in order to use their service. The WiFi technology that they leverage and use is specific to their carrier and is custom built in the phone which means even if you have a Moto X already you would need to buy one through Republic Wireless in order to use their service. This, for many people, is one of the main deterrents to switching simply because they’re too attached to their iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S3 or Windows phone to switch. Personally, I have never been attached to having a specific make or model once I decided to give up on my Blackberry. I simply knew I wanted an Android phone, read some independent reviews and was ready to take the plunge.
Republic Wireless Long Term Savings
The cost and utilization of data has become a huge sticking point for consumers as smartphone technology has become more prevalent. Other times it’s easy to find unlimited calling and texting, but the data plan is where the large-carrier provider can make up for any loss they’re taking. Where Republic Wireless changes the model is they bank on your ability to leverage WiFi data and calling as much as possible which helps reduce both the company’s and consumers costs.
While it depends on how you use your phone, and the location areas you tend to use it, you can leverage these factors to help you determine what phone plan is best for you. There’s a great breakdown of data speed which actually shows that WiFi is faster, and typically more reliable, than 4G. However, if you plan to use your phone in areas where WiFi is not available, like if you’re driving cross country, that’s when you’ll have to determine what’s most important to you: convenience or long-term savings. One of the most innovative features available to Republic Wireless customers is the ability to change plans twice per billing cycle. What that means is if you’re traveling in a remote area, and need 3G/4G capabilities just for the weekend, you can switch plans and then switch back. Many customers that fly internationally will switch their phone to the $5 plan during their trip and then switch it back once they get back to the US.
Another great feature of the Republic Wireless plans is there’s no contract required and they don’t bombard you with taxes and fees either. Personally, I use the $10/month plan and its worked great for me. I tend to spend a majority of my time either at home or at work, but I also travel quite a bit. As a result, I knew I’d be able to leverage WiFi calling and data a majority of the time, but still wanted to be able to receive phone calls if I was driving. There’s been two occasions that I’ve upgraded my plan up to the $25/month plan, but it was only for a weekend and then I switched back to my original plan. Republic Wireless did all the math and charged me accordingly at the end of the month, but I only paid for the two days which came to an extra $1.67. I realize by being on the $10 plan that I’m making the sacrifice of not being able to use any apps, receive email or utilize GPS while I’m driving, but for me that’s worth the extra $15/month in savings I receive (you could take your $180/yr savings and buy a REALLY nice GPS system instead).
Republic Wireless Coverage
Depending on your desire or likelihood to switch cell phone carriers as a result of incredible savings the subject of cell coverage may be the first or last thing you check prior to making the switch. The best way to know what kind of coverage you’re going to get is to use the coverage check tool to see what’s available. Then, depending on the results it may determine what type of plan you’ll need or if using Republic Wireless makes sense. Republic Wireless leverages the Sprint Network, but they will automatically roam free of charge using the Verizon towers if you find yourself outside of the Sprint coverage zone for both voice and data.
As explained earlier, the ability to change plans twice per billing cycle gives you tremendous flexibility, but this can also be leveraged depending on what coverage area you’re in and what capabilities you require. Personally, the biggest complaint I’ve received from the friends and family I call is the sound quality, at times, can suffer. When I’ve had WiFi available I’ve never struggled with call clarity, but there are definitely specific spots on my commute that I typically drop a call or I break up. I suppose that’s another risk I’m willing to take with the trade off being I’m saving $40 every month I’m with Republic Wireless over my previous T-Mobile contract(what would you do with an extra $480 per year in savings?)
How Can Republic Wireless Work For You?
The reason in favor of using Republic Wireless are pretty easily defined. Typically the reasons I’ve encountered someone was opposed to switching is:
- They want to use their current device (iPhone, Android, ect).
- They’re stuck in a contract.
- They don’t understand how leveraging WiFi works.
- They believe paying $5 or $10 per month for a cell phone plan will make them look cheap.
Aside from the occasional dropped call or poor service and the personal choice to not receive email or Facebook while I’m driving (isn’t that illegal anyways?), I’ve been extremely happy with the phone and service. If I was to switch carriers now, instead of a year ago, I still would probably get the higher end Moto X, simply because of the power and speed it provides. However, I would have the ability to start saving money on my cell phone plan after three months, with the purchase of the Moto E, instead of the eight months it took me ($309 for the Moto X + 8 months x $10 Republic Wireless plan = $389 which is less than 8 months x $50 T-Mobile Plan = $400).
In my opinion, Republic Wireless is a no-brainer if you’re looking to spend smart.
* If you enjoyed reading this post why don’t you sign-up to receive our daily blog posts via email? or in an RSS reader…that way you’ll always know how to look smart, eat smart and spend smart on a daily basis!