Raleigh, N.C. – Wireless MVNO Republic Wireless launched new service plans that refund money back to subscribers if they don’t use all of their LTE cellular data.
The company, which began offering its low-cost no-contract service in 2011, keeps service costs low by routing voice calls, texts and web access over Wi-Fi hotspots. The company’s smartphones then automatically switch to cellular when out of Wi-Fi range, sending calls and text over cellular data channels. Customer trials of handoffs from cellular to Wi-Fi are “imminent,” a spokesperson told TWICE.
Under the new plans, called Republic Refund plans, consumers pay $17.50/month for unlimited calling, texting and data over Wi-Fi plus unlimited cellular calling and texting along with 0.5 GB of cellular data. A $25 plan delivers unlimited calling and texting over Wi-Fi and cellular, unlimited Wi-Fi data, and 1GB of cellular data. A $40 plan ups cellular data to 2GB. For additional cellular data, the cost is $15/GB.
Refunds for all unused cellular data come in the form of a dollar-for-dollar credit on the next month’s bill.
The company continues to offer a $5 plan delivering unlimited Wi-Fi calling, texting and data. The company also continues to offer a $10 base plan delivering unlimited Wi-Fi calling, text and data plus unlimited cellular calling and texting, leaving Internet access solely to Wi-Fi networks.
“The thousands of customers who helped us test and build the Republic Refund plans averaged monthly bills of just $14.88, which represented a 31 percent savings versus what these same customers were paying before,” claimed David Morken, co-founder and CEO.
If current Republic subscribers don’t change how they use their current service, 79 percent of them would pay the same or less with the new offerings, the company estimated.
The cellular industry, Morken contended, “has done a brilliant job convincing people that they need huge buckets of cellular data.” But, he continued, “the truth is that most people are within range of Wi-Fi the majority of their day and therefore never use all the data the carrier made them buy.”
Google’s Fi cellular service, launched earlier this year, also refunds customers for unused data.
Although Republic doesn’t own hot spots, its two Motorola-made smartphones connect to almost any available hotspot around the world if the user has the credentials to log on. Republic’s captive portal technology ensures that once a consumer enters credentials once, the phone will remember it, a spokesperson explained.
A screen alert also lets users know when they are in Wi-Fi range. The Republic app also lets users monitor Wi-Fi and cellular data usage and toggle cellular data on/off at the individual app level.
Republic sells primarily online but also has a retail presence in MicroCenters and college bookstores. Additional brick-and-mortar retailers “are definitely part of the longer-term plans,” a spokesperson said.