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Republic Wireless' New Plans Give Customers Refunds For Unused Data

As promised, Sprint MVNO Republic Wireless has launched new Republic Refunds plans that give customers account credits for unused data. This is the same approach that Google's Project Fi is using.

There are three Republic Refund plans and they replace both of Republic's current plans with data. Existing users are grandfathered until July 31, 2016 and can keep their current plans until then if they don't want to switch to a Republic Refunds plans.

The new Republic Refunds plans are:
  • $17.50/month for unlimited talk, text and 0.5 of 4G data
  • $25/month for unlimited talk, text and 1 GB of 4G data
  • $40/month for unlimited talk, text and 2 GB of 4G  data
Customers who exceed their plan's data allotments can purchase additional data at $15 per GB or $7.50 for 0.5 GB. Unused data is returned to customers in the form of account credits. Republic says that there is no data rounding and that customers will be charged only for the exact amount of data used.

All of Republic plans, old and new, include unlimited talk, text and data using WiFi. There are no changes to the two Republic plans listed below that don't include cellular data:
  • $5/month for unlimited talk, text and data using Republic's platform on WiFi only
  • $10/month for unlimited talk and text but no cellular data
Republic's old data enabled plans, which Republic is calling Republic 1.0, were:
  • $25/month for unlimited talk, text and data with the 1st 5 GB of data at 3G speeds (no LTE), and the rest throttled
  • $40/month for unlimited talk, text and data with the 1st 5 GB of data at high speeds, including LTE, and the rest throttled.
Republic plan prices do not include taxes. Unlike most prepaid operators, Republic adds postpaid style taxes and fees of 10-30% to plan prices. Taxes and fees vary by state and include the usual sales taxes plus pass-throughs of regulatory surcharges and fees. 

Republic claims that most users will save money with the new plans. That's certainly true for light users who get unlimited talk and text plus 512 MB of 4G data for $17.50 per month instead of the $40 ($25 for 3G data) they paid with the old plans. However the new plans will be more expensive for anyone using more than 2 GB of 4G data and for users with 3G phones who use more than 1 GB of data.

Republic users do tend to use relatively small amounts of data thanks to the operator's "WiFi-first" approach that routes voice, messaging and data traffic over WiFi whenever possible using Android phones with custom software. Jon Schniepp, Republic's senior vice president of product management told FierceWireless that customers who participated in a trial of the Republic Refunds plans used an average of 400 MB per month at a cost of $14.88 per month. He said that Republic customers currently average 700 MB per month and that 78% of current customers would pay the same or less under the new Refunds plans compared with their current plans.

I know that Republic is going to get lots of complaints from 4G users who consume more than 2 GB per month and 3G customers who use more than 1 GB per month as they will see their bills increase dramatically. Under Republic Refunds, 5 GB of data will cost $85 per month instead of the current $25 (3G) or $40 (4G). There are less expensive options for heavy data users who will likely leave Republic.

Ultimately I think switching from traditional "use it or lose it" data buckets to pay per use data like Republic and Project Fi are doing is a good thing. With use it or lose it, light users were subsidizing heavy users, charging based on actual use is fairer.

However I am disappointed that Republic is charging $15 per GB instead of Project Fi's $10/GB. I can't believe that Sprint charges wholesale customers like Republic anywhere close to $15/GB. On the other hand, Republic is charging $10/month for unlimited voice and messaging compared with $20 for talk and text only on Project Fi.

Overall, Project Fi looks like a better deal than Republic Refund especially as it includes coverage on both T-Mobile and Sprint plus unlimited no extra cost domestic voice, text and 2G data roaming, plus unlimited no-extra cost 256 Kbps international data roaming. Project Fi also encrypts all WiFi traffic, which as far as I know, Republic doesn't. Of course, Project Fi is invite-only and requires a $499.99 Nexus 6 phone. Republic is open to all and phones are cheaper too; $149 for the 3G-only Moto G and $299 for the LTE-capable Moto X.

Sources: Republic Press Release, Republic Community Blog, Republic User Forum

Related Posts:
Republic Wireless to Give Customers Refunds For Unused Data
More About Project Fi - What It Is and What it Means
Prepaid Operator Profile: Republic Wireless


Comment Page :
  1. Thank you republic, time to switch to another Carrier

    1. Given the current prepaid marketplace Republic seems to be a good value only for those who live in fringe Sprint coverage and can profit from their Verizon voice roaming. Those same people must be VERY careful not to use roaming data since it is VERY expensive. Users needing WiFi calling have less expensive choices. Users needing only limited talk/text/data have less expensive choices. Users needing larger quantities of data should run.

  2. To use 3GB you have to pay 53.50 on sprint network....! Brilliant.......!

  3. Dennis, I think the statement: "Republic adds postpaid style taxes and fees of 10-30% to plan prices" is misleading for people who live in places like Chicago, where I do. My wife is on the $10 plan and she pays $6.12 in taxes - that's over 60%. I suspect, the $5 plan charges even more in taxes percentage wise because of the $3.90 E911 fee alone.

    1. Chicago is an outlier, especially with the cheapest plans because of the high flat taxes

  4. Sprint data at $15/gb is a steal. But - who's the thief? I had to leave Republic due to quality of service. Delayed call, calls with one sided voice, calls with no voice, missing and delayed texts. No ability to MMS with Cricket/Tracfone. Eagerly awaiting my invite from Fi. Nearly all the reviews I've seen for it so far are positive.

  5. who is stupid enough sign to sign up for republic Wireless. Tax and fees. Cricket Wireless is better

    1. cricket cricket cricket. blah blah blah. well crock it. this article is about republic wireless and so what about cricket.

    2. MetroPCS is better 30 a month. Unlimited talk and text plus 1 GB

    3. Republic is $25 for unlimited talk and text and 1 GB. With taxes, but there really isn't much difference piecewise.

    4. Is there Dennis Republic you have to buy the phone from them and Metro you can used your own phone. Republic service suck and Metropcs is has a way better network. 4G LTE

  6. Republic's $5 plan isn't a good deal when unlimited wifi calling/texting/data is already free using a VoIP app like Hangouts or Freedompop.

    The $10 plan isn't great either. Freedompop puts it to shame. They offer talk/text for $11and their refurb S3 is a solid phone going for $50 less than RP's cheapest model. It'd take more than 4 years for that extra monthly dollar to eat through those savings.

    Republic's only real claim to fame in the past few years was their generous offering of 5GB with their $35/$40 unlimited plans. However, their miserly new data offerings are currently trumped by R+'s unlimited talk/text Harmony plan and its $8/GB addons.

    Projesct Fi is barely even worth mentioning when their rates haven't been competitive from the start. $120 for 10GB? Ha.

    With all that said, it looks like Republic and Fi are just novelty cash grabs right now. They don't seem to fill a single real niche in an oversaturated prepaid market that's moving steadily towards unrestricted BYOD and easily affordable double-digit data.

    Light users can already turn to R+ and FP, both of whom sport free and low cost plans with BYOD and LTE and work with various Sprint phones. Boost's $55 for 10gb plan is another option for the more data hungry Sprinters. All three work with cheap Sprint LTE phones.

    Users who gobble at least 5gb every month are better served by T-Mobile's $30 for 5gb plan, Simple/Cricket's $55 for 10gb plan or Metro's $60 unlimited everything plan. All four are accessible with any unlocked, bargain bin GSM LTE phone.

    IMO, RP and Fi will either triple and double their data (respectively) or settle for making bank on the backs of subscribers who either don't know any better or simply don't care.

    1. At least Fi brings some value for your money - two networks, international data roaming, automatic WiFi connections with integrated VPN on an unlocked full featured phone you can take anywhere else if you leave Fi.

      Republic brings continual management of network and connections by users, poor device control (can't even turn off WiFi), locked devices, sketchy functionality on a bastardized ROM, and no phone number to call for support when in a crunch.

      I have no clue why Clark Howard trumpeted this "want to be" phone service. Without his endorsement this would have folded into a deserved early demise.

    2. I actually really like the concept behind Fi and the copy cat new Republic Wireless plans. Basic service at a fixed cost and paygo data. I want Fi to succeed beyond anyone's wildest imagination. If it does, it will pressure the big 4 to offer similar plans. Since they can sell data direct rather than as a re-seller, the rates should be cheaper from the start and decrease steadily as the carriers compete for the people migrating to that type of service.

    3. I am a RW customer and I was a beta tester on these new plans. At first I (like many) balked at the $15/gb price and 18x roaming multiplier, but in reality I am much happier on the new plans than the old ones. So if you are asking who these plans are for, they are for people like me, who want unl tnt and metered data. I dont need data all the time, that is what WiFi is for, but now I do have access to data whenever I need it (was previously on $10 tnt and would switch to $25 plan as needed).

      Glad they did this, I am much happier (dont get me wrong $10/gb and a 10x roaming multipler would be better).

      One of the things that other offerings dont have is access to roaming for talk, sms or data. FP, SW, R+ are all Sprint native coverage, which as everyone knows sucks ...

    4. Common knowledge isn't always true. Sprint coverage is rock solid in some areas and R+ allows roaming at an added cost.

      I've actually had a much better talk/text/billing experience on Sprint than with Verizon postpaid, Metro's CDMA network and various T-Mobile's MVNOs. The latter had irreparable shortcode problems to boot.

      Still, your point about roaming is spot on. I'd forgotten that Republic's fallback selling point is offering the cheapest Verizon unlimited talk/text plan.

      On the other hand, RW still loses its value once you hit the $35 mark. At that price point, Total Wireless offers 2.5GB of unthrottled, non-roaming Verizon data with $10 top ups of 1.5 gigs.

  7. Absolutely terrible. It's been nice knowing you Republic. Your growth stops here.

  8. Personally, I find any plan requiring an upfront payment that gets rebated later a borderline scam. Over many years I have lost out on many rebates for various reasons. The real revolution would be straight charging for use like postpaid, but without all the scammy contracts, penalties, and bogus tacked on fees.

    1. That's called Ting.

    2. Wrong. Ting hasn't done that for almost 2 years.

  9. I've been with Republic for a year now and really like their innovative, WIFI-first approach. FWIW, Google/Fi is the real copycat. RW's been wifi-first for years now.

    To the Chicago poster: When I was on their $10 plan, my taxes (Maine) were <$3/mo, fyi. Thats a high percentage, sure, but a low net cost. $13/mo! Like all RW plans,that includes unlimited data over wifi, of course. And since I mostly work at home, it was a great deal for me.

    Then I started an outside project that consumed lots of cellular data, and switched to their $25 plan. I never got close to their 5 gig max, though.

    Now that project's over and I will rarely need more than 1/2 gig of cellular data, (on top of my unlimited wifi data). Under the new pricing, that would cost me ~$17-20. Still a very nice deal, especially for a fairly conservative data user like me. Of course, I'm greedy and will probably hold on to my grandfathered $25 plan for another year. Just in case. ;-)

    I admit I've had occasional problems with my 1st gen Moto G not always ringing when someone calls, but that seems to have been fixed with the latest update. Other users have had other problems, too, but they're no more prevalent than the itching and moaning about other carriers. Don't forget, they're forging new ground here.

    Plus, RW offers a complete money-back guarantee (phone and plan) if you're not satisfied, so anyone can try it and see if it works for them. I wish other carriers would do that! (Both Cricket and VZW Prepaid would owe me money if they did.)

    Anyway, with all the hate directed at RW, mostly by people who have never used it, I thought I'd stick up for them. I expect to get flamed for it.

    BTW, RW has a very active community of knowledgeable users who go out of their way to help others answer questions and solve problems. The big carriers' CS could learn a lot from them!

    1. The only real innovation Republic has made to the wireless industry is price under-cutting of the major carriers. Don't get me wrong - that's a really big contribution! But they have never been first at anything else. They were not first to offer WiFi calling. T-Mobile had WiFi calling in place long before Republic launched their Beta.

      Fi officially announced their rate structure April 22, 2015. Republic announced their lab April 20, 2015 but NO supporting information was announced at that time. Republic officially announced their rate structure on July 7, 2015.

  10. I'm a former RW customer. The service was not reliable for me. Especially missed calls that went straight to voicemail. Also delayed texts. I bought my MotoX off Swappa and when I sold it I lost a little money but not enough to cry about.

    The problem I see with RW members is it is cult like. It's hard to get any solid opinions because of their group think and badgering of anyone who disagrees.

    But RW insists on using the public forum as first line support. Even though the general result of any question is "If you don't like it, LEAVE".

    Strange company that one.

    1. Time to look at other options after next summer.

  11. I'm another former Republic customer. Great Idea but terrible customer service and frequent problems with WiFi calling. T-Mobile had much more reliable WiFi UMA calling 8 years ago.

    Republic has cut their customers data by 80% with no reduction in price. You have to give Republic's marketing department credit. They massively rip off their customers but style it as a pro consumer change.

    I wouldn't use Republic if it were free.

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