Republic Wireless’s sales pitch has a curious lack of asterisks: $19 a month for unlimited voice, text and data service, with no contract required. Usually, smart phones cost $200 or more, and come with a two-year contract that often costs $70 or more monthly and includes limits on usage. Republic has come up with a deal that sounds almost too good to be true: unlimited calling, texting, and data–all for just $19 a month.
How does Republic offer this service? The calls and data are transmitted primarily via Wi-Fi. When Wi-Fi isn’t available, the phone uses the Sprint cellular network at no additional charge.
To use the service, most customers simply set up their phones to automatically connect to their Wi-Fi networks at home and at work. Then they just dial as usual. The phone can detect when the Wi-Fi signal is strong enough to support a phone call. If it isn’t, the phone uses Sprint’s network. In fact, the average customer uses Wi-Fi more than 60 percent of the time.
Republic delivers its service at an incredibly low price by using an unusual, forward-looking technology approach. That approach is sharply different from that of traditional carriers, in the best possible way. The start-up also keeps costs down, and the pace of innovation up, by relying on its engaged community of users for support and feedback.