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Republic Wireless opens its doors for business

The day has finally arrived. Last week we heard about Republic Wireless, a service that advertised a deal that seemed too good to be true. For $19 per month they advertised unlimited voice, text, and data. They are technically an MVNO of the Sprint network, but their business model centers more on WiFi connections than on cellular signal. That is, when you’re connected to WiFi all of activity gets routed through that signal rather than the cell network. It’s an interesting proposition for sure, but we’ve seen deals like this in the past. Can Republic hold up as a viable service? Here are the details.

Again, it’s $19 per month for those unlimited services, but if you’re not frequently within WiFi range you’re going to run into some issues. While the service is labeled unlimited, there are definitely limits on your cellular network usage. Specifically, the website says 550 minutes, 150 text, and 300MB of data per month. When you exceed those numbers Republic will contact you and let you know you need to scale down your usage, or else they’ll boot you from the network — though they swear they’ll do so politely.
As expected, the service works only with a specific Android phone. Turns out it’s the LG Optimus, though it’s specially designed to handle those basic tasks over WiFi when available. Because you need this phone Republic has bundled it with the first month of service. That is, the first month will cost you $199, while each subsequent month will cost $19 per month plus tax.
Republic says it right up front: this service is not for everyone. If you’re not frequently around an open or otherwise accessible WiFi network, chances are you’re not going to be a fit for them. If you know this up front it’s probably best to avoid Republic, because you’ll never get back that $199 start-up fee — and you’ll be stuck with a phone customized to their service. But if you think you can hack it, and you think that $19 per month is just a swell price, you can find out more at It’s hard to deny the potential this service has.