Our readers love Republic Wireless. Because of the company's $10-per-month, Wi-Fi-only smartphone plans, they've loved it enough to give it a Readers' Choice award or honorable mention for several years running, even though it's traditionally had a very slim selection of phones.
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Both the $10-per-month rate and the slim phone selection are coming to an end today, as Republic kicks its lowest-cost plan up to $15 per month, introduces nine new phones, and adds a T-Mobile network option to its existing Sprint network.
The new phones range from $179 to $799, and include (in order of price) the $179 Samsung Galaxy S3, the $199 Moto G4, the $299 Moto G4 Plus, the $349 Moto X Pure Edition and Nexus 5X, the $499 Nexus 6P, the $549 Samsung Galaxy S6, the $699 Galaxy S7, and the $799 Galaxy S7 Edge.
You'll also be able to bring one of those phones to the service next month, if you have an unlocked, T-Mobile compatible model. Until now, Republic didn't offer a bring-your-own phone option, but moving some of its custom VoIP software from phone firmware into the SIM card helped make that possible.
That's the good news. The not-so-good news is that Republic's popular $10 plan is no more. It's been replaced by a $15 plan, offering the same unlimited talk and text, but Wi-Fi-only data. All of Republic's other plans have become functionally a bit more expensive, too. While their base prices are lower—a 2GB/month plan dropped from $40 to $30, for example. Republic is also getting rid of its "refund" scheme, which paid people back for unused data. Existing Republic subscribers can keep their phones and plans.
What's going on here? Republic's super-low rates, in part, were tied to its very slim selection of phones with custom firmware. Fifteen dollars per month is still pretty low, and Republic decided it needed a broader range of phones—with a different software approach—to survive.
So that's the news: phone selection going up, but prices going up, too. Will that make you more or less likely to choose Republic?