Don’t you hate that high cell phone bill?
For the past couple of years I’ve been generally unhappy with paying so much for our cell phone service. $150 a month?!
I thought there had to be a better way. What stopped me from making a change was the iPhone. I just didn’t think I could leave it.
Well, I finally made the switch and I don’t really miss my iPhone. I’m also saving around $25 a month.
What am I using now? I’ve been using Republic Wireless’s Moto X (1st Gen) for over three months now (I was previously with AT&T and had an iPhone 4). Mrs. PT is still with AT&T with an iPhone 5, which she loves.*
*Once Mrs. PT tires of her iPhone 5, we’ll switch her over to Republic and pay a total of $50 a month.
Today I’ll share my review of the Republic Wireless plan, service, and their phone, the Moto X.
What the Heck is Republic Wireless?
Republic Wireless is a mobile virtual network operator here in the U.S.. Translation: a mobile service provider other than AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint – the companies that built the network.
What’s important to understand is that Republic Wireless uses the Sprint network to provide service only after they’ve exhausted attempts to service you over a Wi-Fi network. That’s how Republic Wireless, as you’ll see, is able to offer you service at such a low price – they default to Wi-Fi.
Republic Wireless has been around since 2010 and has grown a sizable cult following. I first heard of them from this Mr. Money Mustache review. Things got really exciting for Republic Wireless in 2013 with the release of their Moto X phone, which is generally more comparable to an iPhone.
After dealing with the company directly I have no complaints. They are still relatively small and seem to really care about the community of users who support them. I’m digging this underdog story.
The Moto X (1st Gen)
Last summer, thanks to a buddy of mine, Republic Wireless offered to send me a free Moto X to try out their service. Here was my chance. The first thing I noticed was how smooth the screen and display were on the Moto X. That’s what I’d always feared with having another smart phone – that I would miss the smooth iPhone screen. With the Moto X that’s just not the case.
I also like that since it’s an Android phone it comes with a lot of intuitive Google technology. I run both of my businesses on Google apps, so it’s a big win to finally have a Google phone.
This isn’t going to be a very technical review (check out this one from BibleMoneyMatters.com), but I can tell you that the phone quality is excellent, the 10MP camera is high quality, and the phone comes with all the bells and whistles you would expect from a modern smart phone – it even has “OK Google Now” touch-less control, which is pretty sweet.
The only big downside I’ve experienced with the phone is messaging interaction with people with iPhones. Since most of my contacts have me stored in their phones as an iPhone, I’m unable to text as efficiently with them. You can read more about resolving the texting issues here.
The only other issues I’ve had with the phone are user error. I’m used to an iPhone and so it’s taking some time to convert my muscle memory to this new device.
Republic Wireless now offers a 2nd generation Moto X. They also offer two other phones, the Moto G and Moto E. See all their phones.
So you’re probably noticing now that you have to buy the phone at an unsubsidized price. If you’re used to paying $140+ a month for service and getting the phone for free, this is probably a shocker. Do the math though and see what you come up with. Is it smarter to pay more for the phone and less each month for service without a contract?
For me, the price (including the price to break my AT&T contract) was worth it, and I’ll soon start to recoup the expense of the phone (technically I got mine for free because I’m a blogger, but you get my point). Do the math for yourself and see if it saves you money in the long run.
The Inexpensive WiFi Focused Plans
After deciding that I dug the phone I signed up for a Republic Wireless plan. Initially I chose the $40/mo plan, which comes with 4G. After a couple of months I decided I didn’t need that much G, and dropped to the $25/mo 3G plan. I haven’t noticed any difference. When I’m at home, at a coffee shop or restaurant, at church, or any other place with WiFi, the phone uses that WiFi network to do it’s thing. If no network can be found then it uses the 3G from Sprint.
A cool feature that was just added is an auto WiFi portal accept. You know how you have to accept the WiFi terms at some locations? Republic Wireless has figured out a way to automate this process. So now every time I’m working from Chick-fil-a or Starbucks, I won’t have to agree to the WiFi terms over and over again. Once and I’m done.
Republic Wireless has four plans to choose from: $5/mo for WiFi only, $10/mo for WiFi and unlimited data, $25/mo for the addition of 3G, and $40/mo for the 4G. See all the plans. As I said above, I started with the 4G plan, but found I didn’t need anything more than the 3G plan. One thing to note is that if you buy one of the cheaper phones you can’t take advantage of the 4G plan, as the phone’s technology can’t support it.
Should You Switch to Republic Wireless?
If you’re ready to consider leaving the contract-based Apple/iPhone world like I was, this is a good time to try something new. Republic Wireless has a solid phone in the Moto X, and their plans can save you money in the long run. When Mrs. PT finally makes with switch, we will be saving over a thousand a year.
Republic Wireless has a 30 day money back guarantee so you can get the Moto X and see how it compares to your current phone without risk. And once you do decide to join, Republic Wireless allows you to change your plan a couple times a month so you can fine tune it to fit your true needs.