Looking to save a a bundle on your wireless phone service?
Republic Wireless, which offers its “members” a $19 unlimited talk, text and data plan, recently entered open beta.
That means anyone can join.
Of course, there’s gotta be a catch, and there is. The company wants you to connect to Wi-Fi for the majority of your calling, texting and Internet access.
That shouldn’t be a problem for those of us who have Wi-Fi access at work and at home, but for others, that could be a dealbreaker.
Of course, you still have service when you’re not connected to a hotspot. Calls, texts and Internet get routed through Sprint’s CDMA cell network when you’re out and about, and the company remains committed to unlimited access for everyone.
There are a few caveats, however.
For now, Republic offers only one phone, the Motorola Defy XT, which costs $259, plus tax. It’s an Android smartphone, running Gingerbread at 1 GHz. It’s definitely not in the same league as the Samsung Galaxy S III, the Google Nexus 4 or the iPhone 5, but it should get the job done.
The service is still in beta testing. Expect there to be a few bugs still to be worked out.
For instance, MMS is not available, and doesn’t appear to be a high priority for the company. If you live and die for sharing photos with your friends via MMS, this isn’t the service for you. Besides, isn’t that what Instagram is for?
International calling is not available, either. You can call to anywhere in the U.S. or Canada from anywhere in the world you have Wi-Fi access, but to call elsewhere, you’d have to use Skype or a similar service.
If you understand that you’re going to be a little ahead of the curve, Republic looks to be a decent way to get unlimited, contract-free service at a price the competition simply can’t match.
Republic offers a full 30-day money back guarantee, so if you’re not happy with the phone or the service, just send it back for a full refund.
For more information, visit the Republic website.