With the average cell phone bill approaching $100 per month, we pay way too much for our mobile service. In this Republic Wireless review we’ll take a look at their phones, plans and coverage, plus I’m going to tell you how you can cut that wireless bill in half or more.
But first, let’s take a minute to talk about who Republic Wireless is and how they can save you money.
Let’s get started!
1. Who Is Republic Wireless?
2. Republic Wireless Plans and Cost
3. Phones – Buy or Bring Your Own
4. Does Republic Wireless Work With iPhone?
5. How Is Their Coverage?
6. Our Review – How Good Is Republic?
7. Frequently Asked Questions
Who Is Republic Wireless?
Republic Wireless is an MVNO cell phone company that combines the traditional cellular tower calling with Voice over IP technology that allows you to place calls over WiFi when you’re connected to a network.
Great, so what’s that mean in English?
In short, they use a cheaper form of communication (WiFi calling) whenever possible to save money on tower usage fees.
By saving that money they can create cheaper cell phone plans that save you money.
Here’s the best part…
Your phone does all of this automatically so you don’t need to worry about it.
When you’re connected to a strong WiFi signal, your phone uses that signal.
When you’re not connected to WiFi you get great nationwide 4G LTE cellular service like you would get with other carriers, you just pay less money to do it.
Republic Wireless Plans and Cost
Republic Wireless really simplified their data plans, making it much easier to find the plan that is perfect for you.
All plans start with a base of $15 per month for unlimited calls and text
If you don’t need any cellular data (and want to just use WiFi for data), you can just stop here and you’re done.
If you do want cellular data, it’s very simple to add.
Add just $5 for every 1 GB of data
- 1GB of data – $15 + $5 = $20 / month
- 2GB of data – $15 + $10 = $25 / month
- 3GB of data – $15 + $15 = $30 / month
- 4GB of data – $15 + $20 = $35 / month
… you get the idea
Can I Change My Plan?
Changing your data plan is simple and you don’t even need to talk to a person to do it.
That’s it! I told you it was simple!
Do They Offer Family Plans?
Ok so they aren’t all perfect, but don’t worry it’s not that bad.
At the time I am writing this review, Republic Wireless does not offer family plans.
That said, in most situations multiple lines still work out to be cheaper than Verizon and AT&T on a per GB basis, even on their family plans!
You can also group multiple lines on to a single account which makes it easier to manage everyone together.
Republic Wireless Phones
If you’re switching, you have two phone options:
- Buy a new phone
- Bring your own
What Phones Can I Buy from Republic Wireless?
These days phone prices can vary wildly, but no matter what your budget Republic Wireless has an option for everyone.
The full list of phones they sell include:
- Samsung Galaxy S9 – $719
- Samsung Galaxy S8 – $599
- Moto X4 – $399
- Moto Z – $299
- Moto G5S Plus – $279
- Google Nexus 5X by LG – $239
- Moto G5 Plus – $229
- Moto E4 Plus – $199
- Samsung Galaxy J7 – $199
- Samsung Galaxy J3 – $149
- Moto E4 – $129
- Alcatel A30 – $99
Which Phone Is Best?
The “Best Phone” is really subjective and depends on the person using it.
Some people use their phone every second of every day, are constantly checking Twitter and Facebook, playing the latest games, take lots of photos and need a battery that can last all day.
Others just want the cheapest phone that they can check the occasional email on.
That said, if I were advising you on which phone to buy, here’s what I would recommend.
If money is no object, the Samsung Galaxy S8 offers something for everyone. It features a beautiful Quad HD Super Amoled Infinity screen that is matched by no other phone in its class. The S8’s camera is by far the best out of all the phones Republic sells, and the Snapdragon 835 chip can handle anything you can throw at it. The phone also includes access to Samsung’s app store and Bixby – the Samsung personal assistant.
Of course, this all comes at a price of $699, which is by far the highest of any phone Republic sells. $599 is a great price for the phone and it is similar to what you can buy it for from any of the other carriers or from a store like Best Buy or Amazon, but it is expensive so it may not be for everyone.
Some of you may be wondering why I’m recommending the Samsung Galaxy S8 instead of the newer Samsung Galaxy S9. While I think the Galaxy S9 is an excellent phone, it wasn’t quite the upgrade that we’re used to and quite frankly isn’t worth an extra $120. If you don’t mind spending a little extra I certainly think it’s worth it, but if you’re being frugal I would stick with the S8.
For just $249, the certified pre-owned Moto G5 plus delivers a ton of value for a not so expensive price tag. The phone has a nice overall 1080p full HD screen that provides good color and a nice viewing experience. The snapdragon 625 chip should be able to handle most of what the average user can throw at it and the 3000mAh battery should be more than enough to get most people through a day’s use, with some power left to spare.
Where it falls short is mostly in the camera. Like most non-flagship tier phones, the Moto G5 Plus can take good pictures in good lighting but the picture quality decreases fast as the lighting drops. That said if you’re just looking to capture a quick shot or post to Instagram this should be more than good enough for most people.
Bring Your Own Phone To Republic Wireless
If you don’t want to buy a new phone you may be able to bring your old phone with you when you switch.
You can also buy a compatible phone from a site like Amazon, eBay or Swappa.
You can check to see if your phone is eligible to be used on the Republic Wireless network by downloading the Official Republic Wireless App from the Google Play store.
What Phones Work On Republic Wireless?
The following phones can be used on the network at the time of this writing
- 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)
- Moto G4 (XT1625)
- Moto G4 PLAY (XT1607)
- Moto G4 PLUS (XT1644)
- Moto G5 Plus (XT1687)
- Moto X Pure Edition (XT1575)
- Moto Z (XT1650-03)
- Moto Z Play (XT1635-02)
- Moto Z2 Play (XT1710-01)
- Nexus 5X by LG (LGH790)
- Nexus 6 by Motorola (XT1103)
- Nexus 6P by Huawei (H1511)
- Samsung Galaxy J3 (SM-J320A) (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)
- Samsung Galaxy S7 (SM-G930U)
- Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (SM-G935U)
- Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SM-G955U1)
- Samsung Galaxy S9+ (SM-G965U1)
Please note that some of these phones have different model numbers so be sure to double check the model number indicated in parenthesis.
Does Republic Wireless Work With iPhone?
Unfortunately Apple iPhones do not work with Republic Wireless
All the phones they sell and support use the Android operating system. That said, they offer some seriously great phones including some incredible Samsung phones.
If you can’t live without your iPhone but still want to find a cheaper carrier, there are a few MVNO’s that support iPhone.
Money Saving Carriers That Support iPhone
- Tello Mobile (See our Tello Mobile review)
- Mint Mobile
- Total Wireless
- Straight Talk
- Simple Mobile
- Google Fi (limited support)
How Is Republic Wireless Coverage?
Back in 2010 Republic Wireless became one of the first wireless carriers to use a combination of WiFi calling and cellular for their coverage plans. Since then they’ve dramatically expanded their nationwide 4G LTE coverage to include most of the continental United States.
What cellular network does Republic Wireless use?
Republic Wireless uses “two of the largest nationwide networks” to power their cellular coverage. While they dosn’t officially confirm which network they use, it is most likely Sprint for CDMA coverage and T-Mobile for GSM coverage.
Which network you use depends on the band that your phone is capable of using, while some of the more expensive phones can use both GSM and CDMA.
Republic’s combination of cellular and WiFi coverage means that most of us should have coverage wherever we need it. You can check the coverage in your area by entering your zip code on the Republic Wireless coverage map page.
Domestic and International Roaming
Republic Wireless has unlimited domestic voice roaming for no additional cost, which is helpful if you find yourself needing to make a phone call in an area that isn’t covered on the map.
Republic does not provide international roaming via cellular networks, but if you do find yourself needing to make a call from an international location you can do so via WiFi for no additional fees.
Money Back Guarantee
If you’re not satisfied with Republic Wireless, they offer a 14-day money back guarantee on new lines of service. If you purchased a phone from them on a new or existing line they have a 14-day money back guarantee on that as well, so if you’d like to give them a try, you’re covered.
Our Review – How Good Is Republic?
I wanted to do more than just review Republic Wireless by reading their website and regurgitating all the details – I wanted to try it on my own to see how it actually performs. I already have service through Verizon but it’s expensive so I’m always looking for ways to save money.
I went out and purchased a phone and signed up for a service plan so I could test out the full functionality of the service. All equipment and services were paid out of my own pocket. I live within 15 miles of a medium sized city and I was able to receive full 4G LTE coverage.
Overall I thought the call quality was no different than I experienced with Verizon. I placed a few tests calls in rural areas – where service is notoriously spotty – and the calls went through just fine. I was able to hear the person I called very clearly and they noticed no difference in my voice between this phone and my iPhone. Connections went right through and I had no issues with dropped calls.
I tested WiFi calling from my house on a 30mbps network. Calls were as clear as they were on cellular, and for the most part, the handoff between my WiFi network and the cellular tower went smoothly. I did have one instance where a call was dropped on the cellular tower handoff, but the handoff worked fine in all of my other attempts and I was unable to replicate the dropped call. The drop was not a huge deal for me, but I could see where it could annoy some users.
How Good Is Republic?
Republic Wireless is an impressive service, especially for the money. Their data plans are very reasonably priced, they have a good phone selection and they have good coverage in most areas within the continental United States.
My personal experience was solid and lines up with their Facebook rating where they received 4.3 stars out of 5. Republic’s review on Yelp is a bit lower with a 3.5 star rating, with more than half of those ratings coming at 4 or 5 stars. They also receive excellent feedback in their community message boards.
Considering the service along with the significant cost savings that they provide I would have no problem recommending them to anyone looking to save money over their current wireless carrier.
You can try their service for yourself on the Republic Wireless website.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: Does Republic Wireless do credit checks?
– No. Republic Wireless does not do credit checks since there is no contract and very little risk on their end. This is a great feature for anyone with bad credit and/or someone who doesn’t want another credit check on their report.
- Q: Can I Keep My Phone Number If I Switch To Republic Wireless?
Yes. Just about all phone numbers from other cell phone carriers in the US can be ported over (transferred), so if you want to keep your old number you usually can. If, on the other hand, it’s time for a change then you have the option of getting a new number as well.
- Q: What network does Republic Wireless run on?
When you’re not using WiFi to place your calls Republic Wireless uses the T-Mobile and Sprint cellular networks for voice, text and data.
- Q: Are Republic Wireless phones available in stores like Best Buy, Walmart or Amazon?
Not officially, but you could buy a phone from one of those retailers and use it on the network, as long as it is supported by Republic. Before buying make sure your phone is included in the list of approved phones.
- Q: Does their service work in Europe, Canada or Mexico?
Unfortunately Republic Wireless cellular coverage does not work internationally at this time. You can place a WiFi call using your phone from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a good WiFi signal.
- Q: Do I need to buy a SIM card?
Yes, if you bring your own phone you’ll need to buy a SIM card kit which costs just $5 at the time of this writing.
- Q: How do I activate my phone on Republic Wireless
Once you have your SIM card, activating is very easy and is done right through the app. You can find a complete list of activation instructions on their help page.
- Q: Does Republic Wireless refund unused data?
Unfortunately they do not. Google Fi is a carrier that does refund unused data if that is important to you.