Last month I had a friend from church approach me, and asked, “Have you ever heard of Republic Wireless?” He went on to say they offer the Moto X phone and a plan at just $25 per month. It really caught my attention, seemed like a great option and included unlimited texting/data. I had to try it out and see if this wireless provider was all that my friend had touted it to be.
In walking through the website and signing up for phone and service I was immediately caught by how easy to use and clean that the website was presented. With a lot of these discount cell phone service providers, you often find the website and ordering process cumbersome. Not Republic Wireless!
Since I've had the phone over the past month, I've had plenty of time to see the pros and cons, and weigh it against the other cell phone services I've reviewed (Virgin Mobile Review and Walmart Family Mobile Review) and currently use. Here are few of the key features of the phone and its services.
Price and money savings
Currently Republic Wireless offers the Moto X phone for $299 with no contract. Along with the phone they offer four different plans, but I took advantage of the $25/month plan. Amortized over the course of a year the phone and service end up costing about $50/month and if you keep the phone for two years, then it drives the cost down to $37.50/month. When compared to the basic data and cell coverage from Verizon or AT&T, Republic Wireless offers a saving of $30-50/month, which is quite significant.
Usage of WiFi from home
The way that Republic Wireless is able to offer such cheap service on their services is that their phone will utilize your home WiFi internet connection for both data and cell calls. This way they won't be using their cell towers to provide you these services. In reading some other reviews prior to purchasing the phone I discovered that people got disconnected or degraded phone service when they backed out of their garage and headed down the road. The reason being that the phone has to make a smooth transition off your home wifi and use their cell towers. I tried this out the first day I had the phone, and had no problems at all. It truly is amazing how the phone can transition off your wifi and not miss a beat in moving to cell phone coverage.
Republic Wireless primarily uses the Sprint network towers and will utilize the Verizon towers when a Sprint network tower isn't available. In traveling back to our farm in Northwest Iowa I was most impressed with their data and phone coverage no matter where I was at! I've test out a number of other cell providers and none of the discount providers offered anything close to the Republic Wireless coverage! For that I give them a big five star rating. However, when I was “roaming” on the Verizon cell towers I did notice I had significantly degraded bandwidth compared to my wife's Verizon iPhone. I even used my Ookla Speedtest analyzer and got about .12 Mbps down and .10 Mbps up while roaming. I have to assume that when you are roaming that you are put on the lowest priority with the Verizon towers to keep costs down. So be keenly aware of their roaming areas before purchasing the phone.
Ease of use
All cells phones should be as easy to use as the Moto X on Republic Wireless. Within 15 minutes of receiving the phone in the mail, I had cell, data, and texting functioning. How come every time I go into a Verizon or AT&T store it feels like it takes them an hour to get my entire phone setup? Not this phone! On top of that, the OS functions flawlessly, and I have had no errors or problems in using any app on the phone. The phone is so intuitive that even my 90 year old Grandma could use it!
I love Republic Wireless! I do! I'm not ashamed to say it in public either. This is one of those products that I'll tell all my friends and family about, because I'v been so impressed. Plus, I'm not getting paid to write this review, but this is just my opinion. I've been so impressed with the service, coverage and functionality of the phone that I'm planning on switching from my cheap (pay-as-you-go) phone service over to Republic Wireless. Next week I'm planning on porting over my old phone number. Honestly, if you are using any of the major cell carrier services, then you need to look at Republic Wireless as a much better and cheaper option. Don't take my word for it, but try out the phone for the 30 day trial for yourself.
I'd be interested to hear from our readers on 1) how much do you pay per month for your cell services, and 2) what features data, texting, etc, do you get under your existing plan?
Update – Three Years Later – March 2017
It has now been three years since I purchased the Moto X (first generation) from Republic Wireless, and boy has it been a great journey. I first switched to Republic Wireless, because a fellow church member had recommended it to me. At the time I was paying $10/month for a QWERTY Trac phone that didn't give me many bells and whistles. In February 2014, I was a little hesitant about dishing out $300 for the upfront costs of the phone, but I knew if I amortized the costs of the phone over its life then it wouldn't cost that much.
Fast forward three years, and here is a breakdown of how much the Republic Wireless 2GB plan and the Moto X have costed me.
Initial cost of phone: $299
Monthly Plan: $32 (includes taxes & fees)
Number of Months: 36
Repair Costs: $0
Total Republic Wireless Costs: $299 + $32*36 + 0 = $1451
Monthly Costs Amortized: $1451 / 36 months = $40.31
Not too bad for getting my first smart phone and with a great data package. When I compare this to my wife's Verizon 2 GB plan, Unlimited Text, and 450 minute iPhone 6, then her average costs are about $92/month. The Republic Wireless plan is saving me over half of what the traditional AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon plans. As with anything that are a lot of positives and negatives that have come with the Moto X Republic Wireless plan over the last three years.
Extremely Reasonable Price – for 2GB of data, unlimited text and talk for $40/month over the life of the phone is really hard to beat. I think their plans are some of the best in the industry and they are continuing to work to keep costs low for their consumers.
Durability – I bought an $8 protective cover when I bought the phone, and the phone has resisted cracks and scraps very well. A+ on the design and ability to withstand the pound that me and my kids have put on this phone!
Battery Life – this phone's battery life would hold a charge for the entire day of use for the first two years. Not bad for an Android phone.
Coverage Area – probably the only big downside I have to mention about the phone and plan is their coverage. Since the Republic Wireless plan rides the Sprint network, I lose cell coverage whenever I go home to my folk's farm in Northwest Iowa. This entire region is covered by Verizon and US Cellular and no one else. So I highly encourage you to look at the coverage map before purchasing the phone and making sure you have coverage near your primary residence, and where you typically travel. In my case I don't go home that often, so cell coverage isn't a big deal for saving the extra money each month.
Battery Life – after the two year mark of owning the Moto X, then my battery life has quickly dwindled. I can only get about 5-7 hours of life out of it now. I have to shutoff my phone during the day when I'm not using it, which isn't a big deal, but kind of an inconvenience. I am in the process of purchasing a battery replacement kit, and will post a video and blog post in April on how to do that. Check back for updates on how to replace your Moto X (first generation) battery.
Like I mentioned in 2014, I couldn't be more happy with Republic Wireless and the phone! The company has been great to me, and provided me a great phone at a reasonable value. I wouldn't have stuck with it this long if I didn't believe that! I know you won't be disappointed either.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
Update 12/12/17: Republic Wireless just lowered their prices. “My Choice” plan starts at just $15 for unlimited calls and texts and allows customers to add gigabytes of cellular data as needed for just $5 per GB.
Update 5/12/18: For a limited time, sign up for Republic Wireless' Educator Appreciation Program using a valid school email address to receive a 50% discount on our My Choice Plan. This discount will be applied through at least May 31, 2020, giving you real savings that you can spend on the people and experiences that matter most to you.
Update 6/1/18: Sign up for Republic Wireless and they'll foot the bill for the first 3 months of your cell phone service this summer when you sign up for the unlimited talk and text plus 1GB plan with a phone you purchase from Republic Wireless. Taxes / fees apply.
Update 5/9/19: Get 2 months free when you sign-up and pay for Republic's new annual plan.
Update 6/12/19: Get a FREE SIM card + free shipping with code “threethriftyguys2019”
MVNO Comparison Chart
|MVNO||Network Used||Plan Price|
|Calls to Mexico & Canada Included in Plan||Customer Service||Plan Friendliness|
(Ability to uprade / downgrade at will)
|Boost||Sprint||$35 (Unlimited / 3GB data)||$5 extra||Fair||1 month notice||No|
|Consumer Cellular||AT&T, T-Mobile||$15 (250 min / no data) AARP members can get 15% discount.||International direct dial||Good||Anytime||-|
|Cricket||AT&T||$25 (Unlimited Talk / Text Plan)||Smart / Pro Plans only||Fair||2x per billing cycle||No|
|Gen Mobile||Sprint||$5 (Unlimited text)||Yes (over 101 countries)||Good||Yes||Yes|
|Republic Wireless||Sprint, T-Mobile||$15 (Unlimited talk / text), + $5/GB||No||Fair (Most CS logged to community)||2x per billing cycle||Yes|
|Straight Talk Wireless||AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon||$35 (Unlimited text/talk + 2GB)||Add-on||Good||Anytime||No|
|Tello||Sprint||$5 (100 min / Unlimited text)||Yes (texts and MMS only)||Good||Anytime||Yes|
|Ting||Sprint, T-Mobile||$15 (100 min / MB / text. Plans based on what you use). Offers $50 credit upon signup||Yes||Good||Okay||Yes|
|TracFone||Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile US, Sprint Corporation, and U.S. Cellular||$14.25 for auto-renew (200 min / 500 texts / 500mb)||No||Fair||Okay||No|
|Twigby||Sprint, Verizon||$9.00 (Text + 300min + WiFi only)||Yes (and China)||Good||Yes||Yes|
|UNREAL||Sprint||$10 (Unlimited text + talk + data - up to 1GB)||No||Fair||Yes||No|
|Visible||Verizon (Visible is not considered a traditional MVNO)||$40 (unlimited talk,text and data)||No||Good||Only one plan offered||Yes|
- Affordable plans + phones
- Transfer existing cell phone number
- Very easy to get setup
- Switch plans up to 2x a month
- No contract
- Need to purchase a cell phone
- No warranty
- Some very minor bugs with phone (Moto G)
- Data limits at 2G most plans