T-Mobile, Republic Wireless Vs. Status Quo

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NEW YORK – New rate plans served up by T-Mobile and MVNO Republic Wireless break with wireless tradition.

For subscribers of its Simple Choice postpaid and prepaid plans, T-Mobile added calls and texts to Mexico and Canada at no extra charge and dropped roaming charges for voice, text and data usage within those countries.

For its subscribers, Republic Wireless launched new service plans that refund money back if a subscriber doesn’t use all of his LTE cellular data.

Raleigh, N.C.-based Republic, which began offering low-cost no-contract service in 2011, keeps prices low by routing voice calls, texts and web access over Wi-Fi hot spots. 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 added.

Under the new plans, called Republic Refund plans, consumers pay $17.50/month for unlimited calling, texting and data over Wi-Fi, unlimited cellular calling and texting, and 0.5 GB of cellular data. A $25 plan delivers unlimited calling and texting, 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.

Google’s Fi cellular service, launched earlier this year, also refunds customers for unused data.

At T-Mobile, the new Mobile Without Borders plan makes Canada and Mexico “part of your home territory,” said president/CEO John Legere. U.S. subscribers can place calls from any of the three countries to anywhere else in the three countries without additional charges.

It’s the second announcement in a planned series of Un-carrier Amped initiatives, the first of which was a leased-phone trade-in program that lets consumers trade in a phone for a new one up to three times per year.

The upgraded plan also extends the company’s Music Freedom program to Canada and Mexico, delivering free cellular music streaming, as well as the company’s Wi-Fi calling and texting. Later in the year, users will be able to tap into their Data Stash in Mexico and Canada. Under that program, unused data rolls forward for up to 12 months.

Separately, T-Mobile launched a new Family Plan that undercuts rivals by offering each family member 10GB of LTE data without sharing and with unlimited talk and text at a cost of $100 for two users. The cost for each additional family member is $20 more per person, also entitling each person to 10GB of LTE data.

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