Are you sick of paying too much for your cell phone bill every month? If I told you that Republic Wireless customers pay just $20 a month on average while maintaining a high quality cell phone service, would you be interested? We were too, so we took them for a test drive. Not only was it a great way to save money but we came away very impressed overall. This is our full review of Republic Wireless.
What is Republic Wireless?
Republic Wireless is a revolutionary wireless company that saves you money over larger carriers while providing the same high quality 4G LTE nationwide service. With data plans starting at just $20 per month Republic Wireless may be right for you if you’re looking to save money on your current wireless plan.
Most mobile phone providers use cellular towers to provide signal for talk, text and data but Republic Wireless took that a step further, leveraging the power of WiFi signal not just for data but to use for voice calls and texts as well.
What this means is that when you’re at home, in a hotel or a cafe with WiFi you can place calls just as if you were using a regular cellular tower, which is especially great for those who have bad coverage at home or work.
Of course if you don’t have WiFi coverage wherever you are, Republic has you covered there as well because they provide cellular calls and data over the
Sprint (update!) T-Mobile wireless network, which provides the fastest download speeds of any network according to a recent study. Cell phone towers cost a lot of money to build and maintain which means the data they provide is expensive and providers pass that cost along to you. Republic Wireless is able to slash the costs that most cellular providers are forced to pay and they pass the savings along to you!
So with that said, let’s get in to a more detailed Republic Wireless review…
Republic Wireless Phones
In the past Republic Wireless was criticized for only offering a limited assortment of phones – most notably the Motorola Moto series, which were good budget phones, but a bit underpowered. Starting now Republic answered their critics in a big way launching nine new Android phones plus allowing you to bring your own device (BYOD), provided it’s included in the list of approved unlocked devices which you can find here.
Phones Available for 2017
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – $599
- Moto Z – $499
- Moto Z Play – $399
- Moto G5 Plus – $299
- Moto G4 – $179
- Moto E4 Plus – $199
- Moto E4 – $129
- Huawei Ascend 5W – $149
This new lineup of phones is an impressive list to even the most savvy of phone buyers, especially the addition of the Samsung Galaxy S line which are widely regarded as some of the best Android phones you can buy right now. The only real notable name missing from the list is the iPhone… sorry Apple fans.
Which Republic Wireless Phone Is Best?
Which phone is best can a tricky question to answer because the “best phone” means different things to different people. Some are looking for the phone with the most bells and whistles regardless of price, while others are looking for the best bang for their buck. Let’s break it down into a few different categories… best budget phone, best value phone, and best overall phone.
We usually preach frugality on our site but if a high quality cell phone is something you’re willing to splurge on then one of the best phones you can buy on the market today is the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. Of course it’s a little on the expensive side but the S7 line features an absolutely stunning AMOLED screen, an incredible camera and and top of the line specs that are hard to top. Add to that an SD card slot that Samsung brought back after removing it in the S6 line. Simply put the Galaxy S7 Edge is one of the best phones on the market, outpacing phones even a model year newer. At a price of $599 – over $400 less than the soon to be released iPhone 8.
If you’re looking for a high powered phone but aren’t quite willing to shell out the money for the Samsung line, then the Moto Z Play might be the phone for you for $200 less. With a 5.5 inch AMOLED screen, the Moto Z provides a larger phone than the more expensive S7 Edge, with a high quality display that is great for watching videos or playing games. The Z Play also packs a large 3,510 mAh battery which provides more than enough power for most of us to get through the day with no problems.
Even better the Moto Z play allows you to take advantage of Moto Mods, which allow you to snap on accessories like a battery pack, a JBL speaker or a projector right on the back of your phone. Of course these mods come at an additional cost so whether or not you need them is up to you, but it’s a fun way to expand your phone’s ability should you so choose.
If you’re not looking for all the bells and whistles of the flagship lines and just want a phone that’s going to give you good performance at a cheap price then the Moto G4 might be the phone for you. The G4 is designed for the budget conscious consumer who still wants a good quality phone. It features a vibrant 5.5 inch LCD display which looks great even outdoors, despite not being an AMOLED screen. The now Lenovo run Moto also kept the SD card slot for additional storage on the cheap.
On the downside the G4’s camera isn’t in the same class as the Galaxy S7 Edge but it is more than capable of taking a good shot, especially if you’re just looking to post it on Facebook or Instagram. Also, the Snapdragon 617 might be a bit underpowered if you’re looking to do a lot of gaming on your phone, so you may get some lag as compared to the more expensive phones. That all said the Moto G4 starts at just $179, less than 1/3 the price of the S7 Edge so for the money the Moto G4 is an outstanding deal.
Republic Wireless Plans
We use a lot of data on our smartphones. The average consumer used 3.9GB more data per month in 2016 than they did in 2015 according to an FCC fact sheet. So if we’re using this much data every month, why should you pay more for it? Whether you’re a power user or just check the occasional email, Republic Wireless has a plan for you.
Republic Wireless Data Plans
- $15.00 / Mo – Unlimited Talk + WiFi Data
- $20.00 / Mo – Unlimited Talk + Text, 1 GB data
- $30.00 / Mo – Unlimited Talk + Text, 2 GB data
- $45.00 / Mo – Unlimited Talk + Text, 4 GB data
- Larger Data Plans Up to 10GB Also Available
If you run out of data don’t worry, you can upgrade your plan at any time through the Republic Wireless app, and your new data limit will be updated immediately so you can get back to what you were doing. This also works great for parents who want to keep a strict data limit on their kids.
Republic Wireless’s Refund Program
Update – Republic’s data refund policy only applies when you use the Moto G 3rd Generation (which unfortunately appears to be sold out at the moment). All of the new phones require new plan pricing.
One of the things I hate about paying for a data plan with most cell phone companies is that all of my unused data – that I paid for – is simply thrown away at the end of the month. If this annoys you too then you’re going to like how Republic Wireless handles your unused data. Much like Google’s Project Fi service, Republic now gives you your money back on all data that you don’t use at the end of the month. For example, if you pay for 2 GB of data but you only use 1.5 GB throughout the month you get a credit for the remaining 0.5 GB, which is applied toward your next bill. We love this because we’re not just throwing our money away every month. Of course the data that you use over a WiFi net work is unlimited and not included in your total data usage.
Republic Wireless Coverage
I’m asked about Republic Wireless’ coverage quite often, and overall I would say it’s pretty solid. Of course this depends on where you live – coverage in Manhattan is going to be quite different than it is in rural Montana – but most larger locations should be covered.
If you’re wondering if Republic has coverage in your area the best place to start is the coverage map where you can enter your city or even street address and see how much coverage is provided in your area.
Is Republic Wireless GSM or CDMA?
Republic Wireless uses a combination of GSM and CDMA towers for their coverage (they don’t say which carrier provides the coverage). If you have a Republic Wireless 3.0 phone then they’ll automatically determine which tower provides the best coverage for you based on your location. If you have a 1.0 or 2.0 phone, then you will be assigned to the network your phone is equipped to use (most likely GSM).
If you’re in an area that doesn’t have coverage or you’re not getting a strong enough signal you also have the option to use WiFi calling, which will hand off to a cellular tower if you leave your WiFi area. This is particularly handy if you work in a big steel office building or live in a basement apartment, where signal can be tricky even if there is coverage in the area.
My Republic Wireless Experience – Full Review
I wanted to do more than just review Republic Wireless by reading their website and regurgitating all the details – I wanted to try it on my own to see how it actually performs. I already have service through Verizon but it’s expensive so I’m always looking for ways to save money.
I went out and purchased a 3rd gen Moto G and signed up for a service plan so I could test out the full functionality of the service. All equipment and services were paid out of my own pocket. I live within 15 miles of a medium sized city and I was able to receive full 4G LTE coverage.
I placed a number of test calls all around my area, in both rural and urban areas. I was able to hear the person I called very clearly and they noticed no difference in my voice between this phone and my iPhone. Connections went right through and I had no issues with dropped calls.
I tested WiFi from my house on a 30mbps network. Calls were clear again, as they were on cellular, and for the most part the handoff between my WiFi network and the cellular tower went smoothly. I did have one instance where a call was dropped on the cellular tower handoff, but I was unable to replicate it. The drop was not a huge deal for me, but I could see where it could annoy some users.
The phone itself is a solid, but unspectacular device. If you’re just looking for a good phone to place calls, surf the internet and take the occasional photo here and there you’d be just fine with the Moto G, but if you’re looking for a robust phone that can handle high intensity gaming, take amazing photos and handle just about anything you could throw at it, the Galaxy S7 is probably the phone for you. For my test purposes, the Moto G handled itself just fine and I enjoyed my time with Republic.
Is Republic Wireless Any Good?
If you’re looking for good cell phone coverage at a lower cost then Republic Wireless might be a good fit for you. Republic Wireless’ unlimited 4G LTE plans are significantly cheaper than competitors Verizon and AT&T, and they offer a great selection of affordable phones.
In testing we had very few issues with call quality over both cellular and WiFi signals (although one call did drop transferring between the two) and data speeds were on par with my normal carrier. Considering the significant cost savings that Republic Wireless provides I’m very impressed overall.
Republic Wireless May Be A Good Choice For You If:
- You’re looking to save money on your cell phone bill
- You’re looking for a cell phone plan without a contract
- You use only a small amount of data each month
- You‘d like to use WiFi to make calls (optional)
- You can live without an iPhone
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are Republic Wireless phones available in stores like Best Buy, Walmart or Amazon?
No, the new lineup of Republic Wireless phones can only be purchased at RepublicWireless.com at this time but you can find some of the older phones available for sale on Amazon. We’re hoping they’ll be available in stores sometime in the future though as that could do a lot to build up the brand.
Q: Does Republic Wireless Offer A Refund If I’m Not Happy?
Yes, Republic offers a 14 day money back guarantee so if you don’t like your phone, your coverage or just change your mind you can send back your phone for a full refund. One note – the refund does not include the cost to ship the phone back to Republic Wireless.
Q: Is there a Republic Wireless coupon I can use to save money?
No, there are no Republic Wireless promo codes available at this time since their prices are already so low. Their phones are still cheaper than almost all no-contract services though so you’re still likely saving money.
Q: What network does Republic Wireless run on?
When you’re not using WiFi to place your calls Republic Wireless uses the T-Mobile cellular network for voice, text and data.
Q: Does Republic Wireless Work In Europe, Canada or Mexico?
I haven’t been out of the country to test this during my trial but according to Republic Wireless’ support team, they do not provide cellular phone service outside of the United States, but you can place a WiFi call using your phone from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a good WiFi signal. If anyone has tested this please let me know how it has worked for you in the comments!
Q: Can I Use Republic Wireless Phones on Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile?
Republic Wireless phones are now sold unlocked so all you should need to do is swap the SIM card to another provider (especially a GSM provider) and you should be all set to go. That said, if you plan on switching carriers call your new carrier to be sure your phone will work just in case.
Q: Can I Use My Existing Phone On Republic Wireless?
No, since Republic has special software that allows WiFi calling that most other phones do not have it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to use your existing phone on the service.
Q: Does Republic Wireless do credit checks?
No, Republic Wireless does not do credit checks since there is no contract and very little risk on their end. This is a great feature for anyone with bad credit and/or someone who doesn’t want another credit check on their report.
Q: Does Republic Wireless offer the iPhone?
At this time Republic does not offer the iPhone, but it does sell many of the top Android based phones available, which many experts prefer to the iPhone. That said, if you’re set on an iPhone Republic is not for you at this time… maybe someday!
Q: Can I Keep My Phone Number If I Switch To Republic Wireless?
Just about all phone numbers from other cell phone carriers in the US can be ported over to Republic Wireless, so if you want to keep your old number you usually can. If, on the other hand, it’s time for a change then you have the option of getting a new number as well.