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Monday, November 19, 2012

Republic Wireless Set to Roll Out

How much do you pay for cell phone service every month? Chances are somewhere between $35-$100 and beyond. Would you go for a carrier that charged you only $19 a month for everything unlimited? It sure got me rethinking my cell phone plan.

We've heard them all. Metro PCS, Boost Mobile, Tracfone, Virgin Mobile, Straight Talk, Consumer Cellular...mobile phone companies that are around but never take off to the levels of the Big 4. Republic has a fighting chance not only due to its true competitive price but because of its unique network.

Consumer Cellular and a few other smaller companies that offer GSM (most of those prepaid phones that use SIM cards) use the AT&T network to broadcast their cheap service. Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile use Sprint's service to broadcast their signal. It's cheaper for them because they don't have to build an expensive and time consuming network coast to coast. It's also not time consuming as you can imagine trying to upgrade all of those cell sites as time goes on. Republic Wireless steps onto the scene using the Sprint service too so we can assume that it is CDMA technology. But wait...there's more. What makes Republic so unique is that it also uses your home's WiFi network to make calls instead of a cell site. This is largely why they are creating such a huge buzz and why they can offer such a cheap rate.

T-Mobile tried this a few years ago where they encouraged people to use their WiFi signal to make and receive calls. It did okay for the company but never truly took off. Sprint launched a device called the Airave that I actually had for a few months that converted your home's router into a cell site of its own for any Sprint phone to work on. When using a WiFi signal, you often have to use a passcode to get on and use the signal. With the Airave, there was no need for such a thing.

But it's interesting to see Republic try to do this once again. I'd love to see this company do well. Unfortunately, I'm locked into my contract for another two years and the company only offers one phone which is the Motorola Defy. It's not a bad phone, just not something that you want right off the spot. Since this is probably a CDMA network, the chances of you bringing your phone of choice are low to none. Remember that CDMA networks don't use SIM cards, they need to be activated with the carrier which the carrier then uses codes to figure out what phone is being used. The other downside is that you will have to pay upfront for the phone too just as with any other small company. In the long run, this is the best option for any carrier. I calculated mine and if I bought mine without a contract, I'd be saving a bit of money. But I figured, like most people, I'm going to be with this company for a while so why not just get the contract.

As Phandroid pointed out, this would be a phone best used for your child who doesn't need something too fancy or too expensive. And probably, during these tough economic times, we could all use a break from paying large sums of money to never be seen again.

I'm enthusiastic about these small companies and can't wait to see this one launch. Much success to them and hopefully they start a trend.

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