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Republic Wireless sheds restrictions, brings truly unlimited service for $19

Last month Republic Wireless turned some heads when it started offering unlimited service for $19 per month. At that price Republic falls far below even the cheapest unlimited services. Yet it came with restrictions. To provide its service, Republic relies on a special Android handset that automatically detects and uses WiFi whenever available. This helps it put calls, text, and data transfers through without the use of a cellular network. Users who consumed too much of their service from the cellular network were threatened with banishment. That is, until late last week, when Republic announced that it was removing restrictions.

In a blog post, Republic’s general manager, Brian Dally, described the feedback the company had received from users regarding the fair use policy. That led them to determine that the fair use policy simply didn’t work. The solution: remove the restrictions. Users are now on a totally unlimited basis, regardless of cell network usage. Of course, Republic still encourages a high level of WiFi usage, but for the remainder of the beta period it will no longer be required.

What does this mean for Republic’s future? Dally describes:

As part of that legal amendment, everyone who has purchased or purchases a phone during beta will be guaranteed the opportunity to enjoy unlimited service, without fear of cancellation, until the end of beta. We won’t end beta until we either achieve economic sustainability or become convinced that doing so is impossible. In the event that we end beta with a decision to abandon or change our unlimited offering, we’ll give you the option of canceling for a full refund for your device at that time.

The refund for the device is a nice incentive, but it’s not exactly realistic. After all, users pay $199 for the device and the first month’s service. That’s a lot of money to refund — money that the company can’t really recoup by reselling the handsets. The indication, then, is that Republic is going all or nothing. If it works they’ll continue as an unlimited service. If not, they’ll go belly-up like so many other MVNOs before them.

Via FierceWireless.