I wanted to write about my experience with Republic Wireless because it seems like our cell phone bill is becoming a larger part of our budget every month. With data plans starting at just $20 per month Republic Wireless is a revolutionary wireless company that saves you money on cell phone service.
How does it work?
Republic Wireless combines the traditional cell phone calling through cellular towers with advanced VoIP technology that allows you to place calls over WiFi when you’re connected to a network.
This saves you money because Republic doesn’t have to pay for tower usage as often and they pass the savings along to you.
When you’re not connected to WiFi you get the same great nationwide 4G LTE cellular service that you get with other carriers, you just pay a whole lot less to do it.
So with that said, let’s get into a more detailed Republic Wireless review…
Republic Wireless Plans
Republic Wireless really simplified their data plans in 2018, making it much easier to find the plan that is perfect for you.
All plans start with $15 per month for unlimited talk and text.
If you don’t need any cellular data (and want to just use WiFi for data), you can just stop here and you’re all set. If you need cellular data, adding it to your plan is very simple.
Add just $5 for every 1 GB of data
- 1GB of data – $15 + $5 = $20 / month
- 2GB of data – $15 + $10 = $25 / month
- 3GB of data – $15 + $15 = $30 / month
- 4GB of data – $15 + $20 = $35 / month
… you get the idea
Need to use more or less data than you did the previous month? Changing your data plan is simple and you don’t even need to talk to a person to do it. Just change your data plan using the Republic Wireless app as many times as you need to. At these prices it’s very hard to find a carrier more affordable than Republic Wireless.
No additional fees
Another thing I really like is that Republic Wireless does not nickel and dime you with hidden fees like some of the big carriers do (looking at you here Verizon), aside from government surcharges and taxes – which are required for all carriers.
No Family Plans
Republic Wireless does not have family plans. If you’re looking for multiple lines you’ll need to determine whether another carrier’s family plan would be cheaper than Republic’s plans altogether. Depending on how many lines you’re looking for Republic’s service may still be cheaper.
If all you’re interested in is a simple way to manage multiple lines you’ll be happy to know that you can manage multiple lines of service under one Republic Wireless account.
Republic Wireless Phones
If you’re switching to Republic Wireless you have two options – buy a phone directly from Republic or bring your own.
What phones can you buy from Republic Wireless?
No matter how much money you want to spend for your new phone, Republic Wireless offers something for everyone. Starting at just $99, Republic has a phone for every budget.
All the phones Republic Wireless sells use the Android operating system (no iPhones, sorry!) but don’t worry Republic wireless sells some seriously great phones including some incredible Samsung phones. The full list of phones they sell include:
- Samsung Galaxy S9 – $719
- Samsung Galaxy S8 – $599
- Moto X4 – $399
- Moto Z – $299
- Moto G5S Plus – $279
- Google Nexus 5X by LG – $239
- Moto G5 Plus – $229
- Moto E4 Plus – $199
- Samsung Galaxy J7 – $199
- Samsung Galaxy J3 – $149
- Moto E4 – $129
- Alcatel A30 – $99
Which Phone Is Best?
The “Best Phone” is really subjective and depends on the person using it. Some people use their phone every second of every day, are constantly checking Twitter and Facebook, playing the latest games, take lots of photos and need a battery that can last all day. Others just want the cheapest phone that they can check the occasional email on.
That said, if I were advising you on which phone to buy, here’s what I would recommend.
If money is no object, the Samsung Galaxy S8 offers something for everyone. It features a beautiful Quad HD Super Amoled Infinity screen that is matched by no other phone in its class. The S8’s camera is by far the best out of all the phones Republic sells, and the Snapdragon 835 chip can handle anything you can throw at it. The phone also includes access to Samsung’s app store and Bixby – the Samsung personal assistant.
Of course, this all comes at a price of $699, which is by far the highest of any phone Republic sells. $599 is a great price for the phone and it is similar to what you can buy it for from any of the other carriers or from a store like Best Buy or Amazon, but it is expensive so it may not be for everyone.
Some of you may be wondering why I’m recommending the Samsung Galaxy S8 instead of the brand new Samsung Galaxy S9. While I think the Galaxy S9 is an excellent phone, it wasn’t quite the upgrade that we’re used to and quite frankly isn’t worth an extra $120. If you don’t mind spending a little extra I certainly think it’s worth it, but if you’re being frugal I would stick with the S8.
For just $229, the Moto G5 plus delivers a ton of value for a not so expensive price tag. The phone has a nice overall 1080p full HD screen that provides good color and a nice viewing experience. The snapdragon 625 chip should be able to handle most of what the average user can throw at it and the 3000mAh battery should be more than enough to get most people through a day’s use, with some power left to spare.
Where it falls short is mostly in the camera. Like most non-flagship tier phones, the Moto G5 Plus can take good pictures in good lighting but the picture quality decreases fast as the lighting drops. That said if you’re just looking to capture a quick shot or post to Instagram this should be more than good enough for most people.
Bring Your Own Phone
If you don’t want to buy a new phone you may be able to bring your old phone over to Republic Wireless or buy one somewhere else like Amazon, eBay or Swappa. You can check to see if your phone is eligible to be used on the Republic Wireless network by downloading the Republic Wireless App from the Google Play store.
You can bring one of the following phones to be used on Republic Wireless’ network.
- Alcatel A30 (5046G)
- Google Pixel (G-2PW4100)
- Google Pixel XL (G-2PW2100)
- Google Pixel 2 (G011A)
- Google Pixel 2 XL (G011C)
- Huawei Ascend 5W (H1623)
- Moto G4 PLAY (XT1607)
- Moto G4 PLUS (XT1644)
- Moto G5S Plus (XT1806)
- Moto X Pure Edition (XT1575)
- Moto Z (XT1650-03)
- Moto Z Play (XT1635-02)
- Moto Z2 Play (XT1710-01)
- Nexus 5X by LG (LGH790)
- Nexus 6 by Motorola (XT1103)
- Nexus 6P by Huawei (H1511)
- Samsung Galaxy J3 (SM-J320A)1 (2016 version)
- Samsung Galaxy S6 (SM-G920T)1
- Samsung Galaxy S7 (SM-G930U)
- Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SM-G955U1)
Please note that some of these phones have different model numbers so be sure to double check the model number indicated in parenthesis.
Where is the iPhone?
If you’re an Apple fan and can’t bear to live outside their ecosystem then I have bad news for you – Republic Wireless only supports Android phones, at least at the time I’m writing this. I’m hopeful that this will change in the future, but at this time I have not heard of any plans for them to do so.
Republic Wireless Coverage
Back in 2010 Republic Wireless became one of the first wireless carriers to use a combination of WiFi calling and cellular for their coverage plans. Since then they’ve dramatically expanded their nationwide 4G LTE coverage to include most of the continental United States.
What cellular network does Republic Wireless use?
Republic Wireless uses “two of the largest nationwide networks” to power their cellular coverage. While Republic Wireless doesn’t officially confirm which network they use, it is most likely Sprint for CDMA coverage and T-Mobile for GSM coverage.
Which network you use depends on the band that your phone is capable of using, while some of the more expensive phones can use both GSM and CDMA.
Republic’s combination of cellular and WiFi coverage means that most of us should have coverage wherever we need it. You can check the coverage in your area by entering your zip code on Republic’s coverage map page.
Domestic and International Roaming
Republic Wireless has unlimited domestic voice roaming for no additional cost, which is helpful if you find yourself needing to make a phone call in an area that isn’t covered on the map.
Republic does not provide international roaming via cellular networks, but if you do find yourself needing to make a call from an international location you can do so via WiFi for no additional fees.
Money Back Guarantee
If you’re not satisfied with Republic Wireless, they offer a 14-day money back guarantee on new lines of service. If you purchased a phone from them on a new or existing line they have a 14-day money back guarantee on that as well, so if you’d like to give them a try, you’re covered.
My Republic Wireless Experience
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 phone 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.
Overall I thought the call quality was no different than I experienced with Verizon. I placed a few tests calls in rural areas – where service is notoriously spotty – and the calls went through just fine. 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 calling from my house on a 30mbps network. Calls were as clear 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 the handoff worked fine in all of my other attempts and I was unable to replicate the dropped call. The drop was not a huge deal for me, but I could see where it could annoy some users.
Republic Wireless Review Summary
I came away very impressed with Republic Wireless. Their data plans are very reasonably priced, they have a good phone selection and they have good coverage in most areas within the continental United States.
My personal experience was solid and lines up with their Facebook rating where they received 4.3 stars out of 5. Republic’s review on Yelp is a bit lower with a 3.5 star rating, with more than half of those ratings coming at 4 or 5 stars. They also receive excellent feedback in their community message boards.
Considering the service along with the significant cost savings that Republic Wireless provides I would have no problem recommending them to anyone looking to save money over their current wireless carrier.
You can try their service for yourself on the Republic Wireless website.
Image Credits: Republic Wireless
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 Samsung Galaxy S8?
Republic Wireless does not sell the Samsung Galaxy S8 at this time,but it is listed as a compatible device on their Bring Your Own Phone page, so you may be able to use it if you already own one.
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.