I’m a huge fan of Rick Broida’s Cheapskate column on CNET, but yesterday he had a particularly good deal for some of you that I want to share. As you may have guessed from the title of this article, it is an “unlimited” $19 phone plan that works with an Android smartphone. Before you go running for that plan though there are strings attached. For some the whole deal may be mummified in string.
Here’s the good: Unlimited voice, data, text, no contracts or termination fees. A similar plan on Virgin Mobile would cost you $55 and I consider that a great price. (I’m happy to be grandfathered in a $25 plan that gives me 300 minutes, unlimited data and text.)
Here’s the bad: The “unlimited” is only unlimited if your definition of “unlimited” is extremely limited. Did I lose you? Their version of “unlimited” is “550 voice minutes, 150 texts, and 300MB of data…” If you cross that they are going to nag you and potentially drop you.
One more bad thing: like Ford’s Model T color selection, you can use Republic Wireless with any phone you want as long as it is the LG Optimus. You’ll pay $199 for the phone itself, but with what most people are paying for cell service, that’s a bargain.
So why am I writing this article? They are using a technology that allows the phone to use wifi access points for voice, data, and text… and these don’t count against your “limit.” So if you find yourself at home or in the office most of the time, this may be a good option.
I see it as the Chevy Volt of wireless phone plans – extremely economical most of the time, but still giving your the freedom to use the extra resources when you need it. (I felt brilliant for coming up with that analogy before I saw that Republic Wireless makes the same one.)
There’s one more thing a little strange about this company… the terminology. I realize they are going with the whole Republic metaphor, but customers are “members” and the service is a “community.” To me that’s some kind of Orwellian changing the language to make people think it’s all a nice cozy, happy family. I’d prefer they call it like it is.
If I didn’t have the Virgin Mobile plan at $25, I might seriously look into this. The biggest downside to me is the data – 300MB doesn’t go too far. Using a Verizon data calculator, it seems like it amounts to 25 web pages a day or 10 minutes of streaming audio a day… and a little more than 2 minutes of streaming video.
What do you think? Is this the kind of thing you’d be interested in? Let me know in the comments.
LaTisha @Android MarketShare Battle says
This started to sound like a good plan until you got to the limited part of the unlimited plan. I’m just waiting patiently for the day when all data will be unlimited. (I might be waiting for a while but I think it will come.) As far as this plan goes, I think it will help the Android operating system to continue to pick up marketshare versus the iPhone.
Lazy Man says
Isn’t all data limited now? Didn’t Sprint say that they were going to limited plans as well?
I think it’s a pretty sweet deal. The whole “unlimited” thing is something that I don’t appreciate. Just call it what it is, a limited data plan. I guess if you live in an area that there are a lot of wi-fi hot spots, the data max may not be such a deal breaker.
LaTisha @Android MarketShare Battle says
Yeah, which is why those commercials showing the unlimited data are such a crock of bull. I guess they’ve realized that the more data they give, the more we want lol
This plan could work for some people. On my plan, I use only a few minutes and no text messages at all. But, 300 MB of data would be way too little because of apps that constantly sync in the background (i.e., Email, maps, etc.).
It seems that Republic is currently “full” and you can’t sign up right now, even if you wanted to. I think that the worst case would be if they boot you out of the program for excessive use. Then you’re out $200 for a phone that you can’t use.
Barb Friedberg says
It sounds better than most econ plans. I’m a Virgin user as well, but I’d look at this plan:)