Republic Wireless Planning Unlimited Smartphone Service For $19

T-Mobile users already know a thing or two about making phone calls over WiFi, using those resources to both decrease demand on the carrier’s cellular network, and stay connected even where cell signals don’t penetrate. For T-Mobile, the function seems almost like an afterthought, but what if a carrier based its whole business model around VoIP-over-WiFi? Republic Wireless is planning on doing just that, announcing plans to start offering service over a hybrid of WiFi and 3G connections for a very low price.

Republic’s idea is to have its phones default to making all connections over WiFi, whenever such a network is available. When there isn’t one, only then will it fall-back to a cellular provider. So far, Sprint has been mentioned, but Republic may seek out other partners – it’s not clear if it will only be looking at CDMA providers. For a lot of people, that means that their calls and texts will mostly be going over their home or work WiFi networks. Since you’ll only be using your phone on a cellular connection a fraction of the time, Republic will be able to offer unlimited voice, text, and data for just $19 a month. We know there will be no data cap, but haven’t heard about restrictions on tethering.

The bad news is that you’ll likely need to get a new phone, as Republic says a special hardware/software combination is needed for all this jumping back-and-forth from WiFi to 3G. The phones will be Android-based, but there’s no word on manufacturers or specific models. The tear-down image above is featured on Republic’s site, but it may just be a stock photo. At the price Republic intends to offer service, you can almost definitely forget about about finding a heavily-subsidized model, so we’re probably not talking about very high-end hardware.

Republic will be getting things started on November 8, by which we’ll hopefully learn a little more about its plans for offering service, and more importantly about the smartphones that will be supported.

Source: Republic Wireless, GigaOM

Via: TechCrunch

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!