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Republic Wireless Buyer’s Guide (October 2020)

Many Americans are familiar with the big names in wireless: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Far fewer know about the smaller brands like Mint, Ting, Tello, or H20 Wireless.

Let’s take a closer look at one that you might not be all that familiar with: Republic Wireless.

How is Republic Wireless coverage?

Republic Wireless launched in 2010 as a service provider that defaults to Wi-Fi for connectivity instead of 3G or 4G LTE. Nevertheless, it does have partnerships with T-Mobile and Sprint, giving subscribers networks for supplemental coverage.

The Republic model utilizes a proprietary VoIP app so that Android phones can switch quickly between T-Mobile’s GSM and Sprint’s CDMA mobile networks. It provides free roaming and hops to and from WiFi, depending on which is available.

What are Republic Wireless rate plans like?

Republic rate plans are no-contract, meaning there’s no long-term commitment and subscribers can go month-to-month. There is a 14-day cancellation policy.

Things are really quite simple at Republic Wireless and there are only a few options to worry about. In essence you start with a $15 plan with unlimited talk and text and then decide on how much data you’ll need. Data is priced $5 per gigabyte with up to 15GB offered in a month.

  • $15/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with no data
  • $20/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 1GB of high-speed data
  • $40/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 5GB of high-speed data

There are no overage fees for hitting the data allotment and Republic does not throttle speeds for the rest of the month. Instead, data simply stops until you purchase more. Subscribers can purchase up to 15GB of data per month.

Customers can also opt for a yearly plan and save a couple of dollars each month. In fact, going that route can be like getting a month or two of service for free.

What’s Republic Wireless phone selection like?

Looking through the current lineup of phones offered through Republic we find familiar names like Samsung, Google, Motorola, and LG with prices that start at about $150.

SEE ALSO

  • Which carrier has the best value at $50 a month?
  • Which major prepaid carrier has the best $40 rate plan?

As is the case with many prepaid providers and MVNOs, selection is a mixed bag. There are only nine phones to choose from, but it’s evenly mixed across the low, mid, and high end. At the top are the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy S20.

If you’d like to spread payments out, you can set up monthly payments through Affirm. Options include 6, 12, and 18 months. The terms are set based on the cost of the phone.

Can I use my own phone with Republic Wireless?

You can often use your current GSM phone, especially if it was purchased unlocked and directly from the manufacturer. Head to Republic’s website to check whether your specific model is supported.

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TextNow Buyer’s Guide (November 2020)

Everyone knows the top-tier wireless service providers in Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. What about lesser known, or newer, brands like Tello, Mint Mobile, or Net10?Some of these companies might be a better fit for US consumers as they provide a more specialized package that fits their needs or budget. Let’s take a look at a relatively unknown carrier, TextNow.This guide will serve to help you understand what the MVNO offers and how it competes in the mobile arena.AboutTextNow is a somewhat newer player in the mobile space, having gotten its start back in 2009 as a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for making Wi-Fi calls. Today it operates as Mobile Virtual Network Operator that piggybacks on other cellular networks for coverage. It employs Sprint’s network for CDMA but it operates with its own plans and features.TextNow uses Wi-Fi for its preferred coverage, falling back on GSM or LTE for calls, text, and data. By going this route, it is able to offer much more competitive rates than traditional carriers. According to TextNow, its average consumer rate plan is just $19 per month.Rate PlansTextNow rate plans are no-contract, meaning you can go month-to-month with no long-term agreement, cancellation, or activation fees. It also offers a 30-day money back guarantee.TextNow does not charge for going over your allotted data. Hit your threshold and you’ll find your speeds slowed for the remainder of the billing cycle.Indeed, you can sign up for TextNow and have access to nationwide calling and texting at no cost. You’ll get all the standard features like call forwarding, caller ID, and voicemail, but you’ll see ads within the TextNow app.TextNow’s paid plans range from $10 to $40 per month, and remove advertisements. Included in the $20 and $40 options are set amounts of high speed data over the CDMA (Sprint) network. Moreover, consumers can also take advantage of mobile hotspot or data sharing.$10/month: Unlimited Talk and Text$20/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 2GB of high-speed data$40/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with unlimited high-speed data*Those who go over 23GB of high-speed data in one month may see their speeds slowed for the remainder of the billing cycle. This is a small segment of users, to be sure, but still worth noting.Any other TextNow features worth noting?TextNow offers affordable international calling to a wide array of countries. Examples include 2.2¢ per minute to China and 1.8¢ per minute to India.Customers can add credits to their account by completing an offer, installing other apps, sharing to social media, or watching ads. Credits vary but an example might be 2¢ credit for viewing a 30-second advertisement.Handset SelectionTaking a look at the current lineup of phones offered through TextNow we find just a small handful of models from LG, Motorola, and Apple. The handsets definitely skew toward the lower end of performance but that doesn’t mean they are not capable devices.Which carrier has the best value at $50 a month?Which major prepaid carrier has the best $40 rate plan?Selection includes the Motorola Moto E5 Play, Motorola G7 Play, and LG Stylo 4 Plus.Bring Your Own DeviceFeel free to use any existing Sprint phone just so long as there’s no unpaid balance on another network. You can also, of course, bring an unlocked device, too.

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