I love it when I’m a part of something that just keeps getting better. That’s how I feel about Republic Wireless and why I’m writing this review.
I left my big name cell phone service provider back in 2014 and haven’t looked back. Month after month my level of happiness with Republic Wireless has only increased. They are making every effort possible to disrupt the legacy cell service industry and improve their service and offerings.
But before we dive into my Republic Wireless review, let’s go over some basics.
What 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 a cellular 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.
Here’s how the technology works straight from their website:
We don’t just use cell towers for calls and texts. Our Adaptive Coverage™ technology, with Bonded Calling™ and included voice roaming, will automatically blend your calls over available WiFi and your phone’s 3G and 4G LTE* cellular data networks together for more, low cost, coverage in places cell can’t always reach–like your basement or garage.
And here are some highlights on the technology you might find helpful if you’re still trying to understand how they are helping you save money:
- Your calls are automatically blended over Wi-Fi and your cellular data network for consistent coverage
- If a quality issue is detected they patch your call with one of your other data networks
- If you move out of Wi-Fi, you’re seamlessly switched to use cellular.
Why Switch to Republic Wireless?
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.
After dealing with the company directly I had absolutely no complaints. They are still small compared to the big name providers and seem to really care. I dig a good underdog story. This is why I decided to do this Republic Wireless review.
What Cellular Network Does Republic Wireless Use?
When making calls, Republic Wireless defaults to using Wi-Fi. If Wi-Fi is not available, your call will be routed through one of two national cellular networks–either T-Mobile or Sprint. Which network you end up using depends on your phone and the coverage available in your area.
To check out the coverage in your area, head over to the Republic Wireless website. Enter your zip code and check out the coverage map. According to their website, they offer coverage in 98 percent of the U.S. so chances are it’ll be available where you live.
Keep in mind that the majority of the calls are routed through Wi-Fi so if you can’t get a cell signal, you can find a Wi-Fi spot and still make your call. This is especially helpful if your house gets poor cell phone tower reception.
Another thing to keep in mind that you can switch from Wi-Fi to cellular manually during a call. This can be very handy if you’re either having a bad signal from a cell tower or the Wi-Fi is not working smoothly.
Republic Wireless Review of Available Phone Options
You get two options for a phone with Republic Wireless–you can buy one or bring your own device. Since I’d like to offer you a complete Republic Wireless review, let’s take a look at both options, my recommendations based on my experience, and compatible phones.
Phones You Can Buy
With Republic Wireless, 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 you can recoup the expense of the phone. Do the math for yourself and see if it saves you money in the long run.
Here’s a list of phone available for purchase through Republic Wireless:
- Alcatel A30 (A576RW)
- Moto E4 Plus (XT1775)1
- Moto E5 Play (XT1921-2)1
- Moto G5S Plus (XT1806)1
- Moto G6 (XT1925-6)1
- Moto G6 Play (XT1922-9)1
- Moto X4 (XT1900-1)1
- Moto Z3 Play (XT1929-4)1
- Samsung Galaxy J3 (SM-J337U) (2018 version)
- Samsung Galaxy J7 (SM-J737U) (2018 version)
- Samsung Galaxy S8 (SM-G950U1)
- Samsung Galaxy S9 (SM-G960U1)
As you can see, there are some pretty good options. In addition, you can get a phone for as little as $99 and get started with Republic Wireless. Combine that with a basic plan and you’d be saving hundreds a year over a contract with a major network carrier.
If you’re curious about my experience and recommendation for a phone, read on.
Best Overall Phone–Moto X
The Moto X (1st Gen) was the first phone I used with Republic Wireless and I’m now using a different model by Samsung. However, my initial experience with the Moto X is still worth sharing in this Republic Wireless review.
Thanks to a buddy of mine, they offered to send me a free one to try out their service. 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 smartphone–that I would miss the smooth iPhone screen. With the Moto X, that’s just not the case.
I also liked 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. For a more technical review, this one from BibleMoneyMatters.com.
The only big downside I experienced with the phone was messaging interaction with people with iPhones. Since most of my contacts had me stored in their phones like an iPhone, I was unable to text as efficiently with them. You can read more about resolving those issues here.
The only other issues I had with the phone were user error. I was used to an iPhone and so it took some time to convert my muscle memory to a new device.
Republic Wireless now offers new and updated models including the Moto X Pure Edition, Moto G (5th Edition) and Moto G Plus (5th Edition) as well as many other phones. See all their phones or check out the list below.
Bring Your Own Device Compatible Phones
A great money-saving option with Republic Wireless is to bring your own device. If you already have a device that’s compatible, all you’ll need is a SIM card kit to get started. The kit comes with directions on how to get your new phone set up with Republic Wireless.
The phone you bring over to Republic Wireless will need to be unlocked and compatible with the Sprint and T-Mobile network. Here’s an up-to-date list of all phones that are compatible with Republic Wireless:
- Alcatel A30 (5046G)
- Google Pixel (G-2PW4100)
- Google Pixel XL (G-2PW2100)
- Google Pixel 2 (G011A)
- Google Pixel 2 XL (G011C)
- Google Pixel 3 (G013A)
- Google Pixel 3 XL (G013C)
- Huawei Ascend 5W (H1623)
- Moto E4 (XT1768)1
- Moto G4 (XT1625)1
- Moto G4 PLAY (XT1607)1
- Moto G4 PLUS (XT1644)1
- Moto G5 Plus (XT1687)1
- Moto X Pure Edition (XT1575)1
- Moto Z (XT1650-03)1
- Moto Z Play (XT1635-02)1
- Moto Z2 Play (XT1710-01)1
- Nexus 5X by LG (LGH790)
- Nexus 6 by Motorola (XT1103)
- Nexus 6P by Huawei (H1511)
- Samsung Galaxy A6 (SM-A600U)
- Samsung Galaxy J3 (SM-J320A)2 (2016 version)
- Samsung Galaxy J3 (SM-J327U) (2017 version)
- Samsung Galaxy J7 (SM-J727U) (2017 version)
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (SM-N950U1)
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (SM-N960U1)
- Samsung Galaxy S6 (SM-G920T)2
- Samsung Galaxy S7 (SM-G930U)
- Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (SM-G935U)
- Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SM-G955U1)
- Samsung Galaxy S9+ (SM-G965U1)
If you already have T-Mobile or Sprint as a carrier and own one of the above phone models, you should be able to bring your own device without a problem. To be sure, there’s an easy way to check compatibility on the Republic Wireless website.
Related: How to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill
Republic Wireless Plans
After deciding that I dug the phone I signed up for a Republic Wireless plan. They offer unlimited talk, text and Wi-Fi data and you pay for the cellular data you need.
When I’m at home, at a coffee shop or restaurant, at church, or any other place with Wi-Fi, Republic Wireless uses its proprietary technology to use or blend with the Wi-Fi network. When they can’t find a Wi-Fi network, they switch over the call to your cellular data plan.
A cool feature is an auto Wi-Fi portal accept. Do 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 Wi-Fi terms over and over again. Once and I’m done.
When I started using Republic Wireless, there were only four plans from which I could choose. Today, the basic plan includes unlimited talk, text and Wi-Fi data for $15 and $5 per gig of cell data. Below are a few examples of how much money you’ll pay depending on your cell data usage:
- $15 / mo Unlimited Talk, Text & WiFi Data
- $20 / mo Unlimited Talk, Text & Wifi Data with 1GB of Cell Data
- $25 / mo Unlimited Talk, Text & WiFi Data with 2GB of Cell Data
- $35 / mo Unlimited Talk, Text & WiFi Data with 4GB of Cell Data
If you’d like to review all the options, head over to Republic Wireless to check out all the different options and chose one that fits your usage.
Republic Wireless Review: the Bottom Line
If you’re ready to consider leaving the contract-based world like I was, this is a good time to try something new. Republic Wireless has a solid phone in the Moto series, and their plans can save you money in the long run.
Republic Wireless also offers a 14-day money back guarantee so you can get the Moto, another phone or bring your own phone 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.