Republic Wireless will invite more beta users this summer

By on March 23, 2012, 7:30 AM

Several months after shipping handsets to its first batch of beta testers, Republic Wireless has announced that it will invite a second wave of users sometime this summer. The cellular startup reports that its initial program is "going very well" and although many users hoped to join the service in early 2012, waiting a little longer will be worthwhile as the company has many updates in the works.

First announced in November, Republic Wireless aims to deliver an "unlimited" smartphone plan that doesn't burden users with contracts and costs only $19 a month  -- a bargain compared to AT&T, Verizon and other major players. To accomplish this, the startup uses hybrid technology that toggles between Wi-Fi and Sprint's network, allowing you to place calls, send texts and so on via the Internet.

The latest blog post isn't very detailed, but the company says it will introduce some tools to help you save cash even before you ditch your conventional provider. It's also preparing a new Wi-Fi-to-cellular handover technology for May that should improve upon the current implementation (again, very few specifics). By June, the outfit plans to offer more Android smartphones instead of just the LG Optimus.

The company seems to be making steady progress toward a final launch, though it's unclear when that'll occur. It's actively addressing complaints from beta users, it has offered a thorough breakdown on its Cellular Usage Index (CUI -- what the company uses to determine whether your cellular usage is "fair") and it has even begun porting phone numbers, a feature unavailable when the service first hit beta.

You can hop in queue for the upcoming testing cycling by registering here. If you're chosen, you'll have to pony up $199 for your first month of service and the LG Optimus (or whatever the company offers at the time -- maybe it'll even let you transfer your existing handset by then). The deal is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. Domestic roaming is free, but the cellular service doesn't work internationally.

"Our team, now comprised of four times as many employees as we had at our November launch, is doing a great job and is eager to unveil our work! As we do, we appreciate the way you continue lending your voice to our efforts with your feedback and support... Get involved, hold us accountable, tell us what you think… and watch for some particulars in the coming weeks about how and when you can join us."




User Comments: 6

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treetops treetops said:

Wish I would have jumped in when I first saw the beta still waiting in line.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

They seem to be missing what is perhaps their biggest issue: to a consumer, they are nothing but another MetroPCS-like service.

I know it is not. But to the average Joe it is.

Also, it doesn't matter how good, cheap, or innovative the service is. Clearly they are not trying to compete with the likes of MetroPCS or BoostMobile, they seem to be going straight for the head: AT&T and Verizon. In order to succeed, they need to be able to port existing AT&T and Verizon devices to their network.

What people don't realize is, the major reason people get into contracts is because of the devices (a part is because of coverage, but you'd be surprised at how little that matters when people switch between carriers). If I can't use an iPhone 4S, a Galaxy Nexus, or a Lumia 900 on their network, why should I switch to them? Why should I lose my current device and switch to a LG Optimus? Not gonna happen.

However, if they are able to make such a thing happen, it's over for the big players:

When you purchase a subsidized device from AT&T or Verizon, you of course have to get into their nasty 2-year contract. However, during the first 30 days of service you are able to cancel your service without penalty if you are "dissatisfied." And keep the device.

If we are able to purchase subsidized phones on a major network, cancel service, and then transfer it successfully to republic wireless, then that would be all kinds of amazing. I really hope this is their main plan of attack; if this happens, I can literally see the big guys bleeding customers.

Guest said:

This is plainly not true. There is no way you can sign up with Verizon, get a subsidized phone, cancel your service in the first 30 days, and then keep that subsidized phone.

ZachPA said:

There is no way you can purchase a subsidized device from a major carrier, claim dissatisfaction and exercise the 14-30-day return policy, and get to keep the phone.

It would be nice, however, if we could bring any Sprint device or CDMA device to republic wireless, even if we have to purchase it at full retail. A Samsung Galaxy S II is $550 full retail, and the $19/month service plan add up to a 2-year total of $1006. A subsidized SGS2 from Sprint, plus the required $79/month plan after taxes and fees adds up to $2408 for the same two years. That's $56 per month saved over the course of two years. I'd take it in a heartbeat.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

This is plainly not true. There is no way you can sign up with Verizon, get a subsidized phone, cancel your service in the first 30 days, and then keep that subsidized phone.

I just found out. Weird because I once did it through AT&T, although it was an escalation that had to be taken by one of the area managers here in South Florida, back when they had unlimited plans. I assumed it was a regular thing as long as you cancelled within the 30 days. Guess not.

Still, I believe the only way this network will succeed is by allowing existing AT&T and Verizon customers port their devices over, so I guess my main point now applies for out-of-contract consumers.

MrAnderson said:

This is something to watch. I hope it does well... someone doing something different successfully will make things more competitive.

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