Republic Wireless Offers $19 Unlimited Monthly Smartphone Service, With A Catch

Republic Wireless came to The Inquisitr’s attention at this year’s CES 2013, where we discovered the company’s plan to offer a game-changing service — a smartphone for just $19 a month, a fraction of what most of us with smartphones pay for such amenities.

Republic Wireless relies largely on wi-fi calling instead of overpriced and constantly changing data and calling plans over a standard mobile network. As we reported ahead of CES, Republic Wireless was gaining steam with their bargain basement plans, and early plans to limit 3G service in the absence of a wi-fi connection were even shelved back then, with the company stating:

“Some of you advised that we just step back from being ‘unlimited’, Rather than revising our fair use policy, we’ve decided not to have one at all. There will simply be no thresholds, and no risk of losing service.”

And Republic Wireless‘ plan is pretty sweet — back in November, as we reported, the deal seems pretty straightforward:

“Republic Wireless, based out of North Carolina, is offering customers unlimited talk, text, and data for just $19 a month. AND, they don’t require you to sign any contract.”

So, what’s the downside? It seems that as Republic Wireless gains traction, one complaint is rife — you only get to pick from one phone. And it isn’t a very well regarded handset.

Republic Phone

Republic Wireless customers are required to pay $249 (no contract subsides, since there is no contract) for a Motorola Defy XT, considered to be horribly dated by most customers spoiled by iPhones and newer Androids.

Consumerist adds:

“If you don’t mind voice-over-IP service or rarely make voice calls in the first place, that might not be a problem. Consumer Reports found that the voice call quality was okay over wi-fi and decent over the cellular network. If you don’t spend your day flitting between wi-fi zones, though, you may be in for some trouble.”

However, when you look at the costs of overages alone for an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy in a year, Republic Wireless begins to look mighty attractive. Would you use a less advanced smartphone for no bill shock at the end of your cycle?