I’m an original iPhone user, grabbing one of the 2G iPhones when they first came out. And, I love my iPhone (currently on a 3GS) but what I don’t love is being forced into a data plan that costs more than my home broadband, especially when my data use is primarily over Wi-Fi. I have frequently wished I could get a good smartphone that didn’t require a data plan, but relied on Wi-Fi alone.
That’s where the idea of Republic Wireless comes in. Their plan, currently in beta, is basically opposite of what most mobile phone plans offer. Wi-Fi is the primary carrier with cellular the add-on. They expect their users (their “community”) to offload the majority of their phone use to Wi-Fi. When Wi-Fi isn’t available, cellular talk and data kick in. They call it “Hybrid Calling.”
For someone like me, who works from home and is covered by Wi-Fi something like 70% of the time, this is brilliant! I’m currently paying for two iPhones with rarely used data plans that cost more than my cable Internet (plus being slow and limited). With Republic Wireless, I pay $19 per month (plus tax) for each phone, covering talk and data. It’s so low because the majority of use is over Wi-Fi. If you go over your target offloading to Wi-Fi (expected to be 60% or more) you get notified of your overage and, if you continue, I’m guessing you are asked to leave the “community” nicely (this IS a beta, but I think that’s the idea). Continue reading