You pay how much?

Yeah, that’s the question I asked myself every month when our cell phone bill came.  $150 for 2 phones? By the way only one had a data plan. When did this become acceptable? The norm? My attitude as a tech guy was always that I needed the best possible plan and coverage. After all my livelihood depended on my having access to the internet and cell coverage. So the best carrier and the best plan (grandfathered in unlimited data plan - score!) was the logical choice.

Even as I asked this question each month, there wasn’t really any reason to question it, because after all, what was the alternative?  Well, I’m glad I asked :)

Full credit goes to my brother Steve who discovered the gem that I’m going to share with you today, Republic Wireless. Let’s start with a number and see if you can guess what it represents: $17.50.  Hmmm...Insurance cost per month? Shipping cost on new phone? Nope, how about monthly plan cost. That’s right, my wife and I are now both on $17.50/month plans. At the end of her first month, she got back $5 of that for data she didn’t use. So, $12.50. That’s right, they pay you back for what you don’t use.

$17.50 sounds awesome but it can’t be all sunshine and rainbows right? Well, so far I’m pretty convinced. Here are the details (some good some bad)

  1. You can only choose from two phones, the Moto E ($129) and the MotoX ($299). Sorry iphone users. Androids are better anyway :)

  2. Calling and texting are unlimited at $10/month. The amount of data determines that plan price. Currently the pricing is as follows:

    1. $10/month - unlimited calls/texts - data on wifi only

    2. .5GB - $17.50 (My wife and I are both on this)

    3. 1 GB - $25

    4. 2 GB - $40

    5. 3 GB - $55

  3. These plans are so cheap because Republic modifies these phones to make texts and calls over wifi whenever possible, saving precious and expensive cell minutes. Think about how often you’re not near wifi. Probably not very often. Even still, when you’re not on wifi it’s not a problem either. Then you’ll use Sprint’s network. I was a little worried having come from Verizon knowing Sprint is not rated anywhere near Verizon. In my experience it’s been fine.

  4. A big upside for us has been calling at our house, which is like a cell phone dead zone. Calls over wifi fixed that problem big time.

  5. Call quality and phone reliability has been about the same as before for us.

For heavy data users the plans become not quite so drastically cheaper. However, I’d argue if you are a heavy data user it’s probably just because you can. You probably don’t need to be streaming away from wifi that often. Perhaps you’re just of the mindset of “I’m paying all this money I might as well use it”. I came from an unlimited data plan and am now staying easily under the .5 GB plan I have. As an added bonus I’m more conscious of pulling out my phone for all the stupid reasons I sometimes use it. Google can wait. Being present or actually using my brain is a nice perk.

Is it a leap of faith? Not really. You can try out the phones and plans for 30 days with a temporary number before you port your number over. I’m sold.

Would you make the jump? Why or why not?

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