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Republic Wireless Imposes Cap and Throttle On Data Roaming

Sprint WiFi-First MVNO Republic Wireless is now limiting roaming data to 25MB per month on all plans. In addition, roaming data speeds are being throttled to "below 3G speeds.... sufficient for light internet browsing, GPS navigation and email." Until now roaming on Republic was unlimited, although customers who used more than a bit of it reportedly got warning letters.

Data used by the Republic Wireless app and data used to send and receive MMS (picture, audio, video) messages does not count against the 25MB limit. Republic says that it plans to eventually offer bundles of paid data roaming.

In a post on their blog, Republic blames the change on the price it pays for roaming data, which it says is 30% higher that of non-roaming data. Republic isn't the only carrier wailing about its high cost A recent blog post by T-Mobile also complains about the high prices it's charged for roaming, especially by AT&T and Verizon, and asks the FCC to set limits on roaming rates. While I believe that operators should be able to charge a premium to roaming partners, a 3000% markup does seem extreme.

I'm not surprised by this change. Very few prepaid operators offer data roaming at all and the ones that do either have low caps on roaming data or charge a high per MB price for it. For example, T-Mobile only offers data roaming on plans priced at $50 or more and limits it to just 10MB on the $50 plan and 50MB on the $60 and higher plans. RingPlus charges 55¢/MB for roaming data and Virgin Mobile Custom sells a 15MB bundle of roaming data for $5 (33¢/MB).

There's a interesting discussion about the new data roaming cap and throttle on Republic's user forum. For more about Republic Wireless see, Prepaid Operator Profile: Republic Wireless.

Public domain image from: Pixabay


14 comments:

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  1. R+ data roaming does sound quite high, but VMC is 15 MB @ 5.00 for 30 days and if you don't use it you lose it. Where R+ it is use it when you need it, just get a second mortgage to pay for it. ;)

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  2. Just like out of network ATM fees, where charges astronomically exceed the transaction cost, just another way for big guy to squeeze the little guy with asymmetric usage loads.

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  3. 30 what higher? There is a word missing.

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  4. Republic has been restricting data while roaming for over a year but has been denying it. The complaints regarding restricted data while roaming has reached a crescendo Republic could no longer deny. This forced Republic to admit the truth.

    We used Republic for almost two years but terrible customer service and a lack of integrity made Republic unbearable

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  5. I saw on some other article that RW said the previous roaming amount was 100 MB, not unlimited.

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    1. It was this article http://www.androidpolice.com/2014/09/10/citing-extreme-costs-republic-wireless-to-drop-free-domestic-data-roaming-for-all-subscribers-to-just-25mb-a-month/

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  6. Yet another reason to avoid Republic

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  7. is it safe to port a number to ringplus now ?

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    1. I think so. Even if RingPlus fails you usually get amble warning to port your number out of a failing carrier before it's too late. if you want to be 100% safe and don't care about MMS, port your number to Google Voice and forward it to a new RingPlus number.

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  8. As someone who has considered RW seriously this is a deal breaker and will destroy their business. People want more data at higher speeds, not less at lower speeds. I wouldn't expect them to be around much longer so it might be time to start thinking about porting your number out.

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    1. Note that the changes only affect roaming on Verizon. For people that have solid Sprint/WiFi coverage, data quantities and speed have not changed.

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    2. This is the last straw for me; I am through with Republic Wireless. At the very least Republic should be grand fathering exisiting customers. I don't believe Republic's roaming data costs to be expensive given the fact that Verizon MVNOs keep lowering prices and increasing data allowances. For example, Red Pocket can sell you 300 minutes, unlimited text and 1 GB of fast data for $19.99

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    3. If Verizon coverage works where you need it and Sprint's doesn't you are right to switch. Relying on roaming data for all but a tiny percentage of use is not practical.

      Roaming data is a sellers market and the price of roaming data is at least 10X the cost of on-network data. Even postpaid plans have data roaming limits:100 MB on AT&T and Sprint, 50MB to 200MB, depending on plan, with T-Mobile.

      You can't compare what RedPocket pays Verizon for on-network data with what RingPlus pays Verizon through Sprint for roaming data. RedPocket doesn't even offer data roaming, no Verizon MVNO does and neither does Verizon Prepaid.

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