A Yogi in the Republic

For years I had dreamed of Apple making a cell phone. I’m a confessed Apple fanboy, and I knew they would get it right. I was there for the launch of the first iPhone, then the iPhone 3G, 4 and finally the 5.  The only bad thing is as each iteration came out, my phone bill kept going up and up.

The original iPhone rocked crawled on at&t’s 2G Edge network, but the data fee was only an extra $20. Compared to Blackberry’s data plans at the time it was a steal.  Then the iPhone 3G came out, and the price jumped $10.  Years later unlimited data was nowhere to be found, and the buckets of data were getting expensive.  Soon my share of a family plan was closing in on $80 a month.

When the iPhone 5 came out LTE was one of the major selling points, and I wanted it. at&t had drug their feet forever upgrading to 3G in my area, and they were already way behind in the race for LTE supremacy.  So, we left for the faster pastures of Verizon.  No complaints on their service.  Everything was fast and stable.  However, I was growing tired of paying so much for my cell phone every month.

Before I moved to Verizon I had read about an upstart in the wireless industry called Republic Wireless.  The pitch was you paid $19/month for unlimited talk, text and data.  The major downside was this was only possible through a rather crappy LG android phone.  Still, the price hooked me, and I started looking into it.

Republic is a MVNO that rides on the Sprint network, and they use wifi for everything whenever possible.  Calls, texts, and of course data all routes through wifi whenever possible.

They started out as a beta, and I had signed up for access.  Eventually I made it in one the “beta waves”, but I let the opportunity pass.  I was anti-Android at the time, and it was still a one crappy phone offering in the form of the Motorola Deft XT.  From my rosy Apple lenses it was inferior, and I wasn’t willing to try it.

Fast forward nearly a year on Verizon, and I had started to get the Android itch. My pre-iOS7 iPhone felt boring, and I started hearing about the Moto X. Actually, it was all over the press. Google had made a big deal about the customization options, and the fact that it was assembled in the States. The Verge, Engadget, and every other tech blog in America was giving it glowing reviews.  It looked fresh, and was close to running stock Android.

Then this past November Republic  announced that they were out coming out of beta, and had squashed some irritating little bugs.  Plus, they had the Moto X for $25/month. Unlimited talk, text and 3G data was on tap, and even 4G was only $40. That would save me $50 a month if I made the switch, so I did what any rational person would do. I made a spreadsheet!

Screenshot 2014-02-09 21.11.36

Seriously, I do a lot of my yoga business from my phone, so I needed to be sure all my apps were there. I scoured my iPhone making a list of all of the important apps, and then looked in the Google Play store to see if they were available. I think there was only one, Gipis, that I couldn’t get, and that wasn’t a big deal since I could run it on my iPad.

I figured  the money I could make selling my iPhone 5 on eBay would be enough to get out of the contract with Big Red, and buy the Moto X on RW. I hadn’t quite counted on the amount of fees eBay would charge, but it was still close.

So here we are nearly three months later, and the phone has been great.

I had always heard how slow Sprint’s 3G speeds are, but they certainly aren’t any worse than 3G on Verizon. Streaming music with Rdio or TuneIn works just fine, as does watching TV on Netflix. Downloading apps is serviceable, but you’ll want to be on wifi for anything very big.

I tried 4G during a road trip to Nashville, and to me it’s just not worth the extra $15 a month. The great thing about RW is you can switch your plan twice per month directly from the phone, so if you want to try it out you can. Sprint’s LTE may be better in your area than mine.

In three months with Verizon I would have paid about $234 in monthly fees.  On Republic I’ve only paid $53. Any shortcomings the service may have I can easily overlook for that reason.

For every person you get to sign up RW will give you a $19 account credit, and I’ve gotten four credits so far.  I didn’t even pay a bill in January because of that. If you’d like to try them out click my link here, and we’ll both get a credit.

UPDATE 2/26: Looks like the referral program is being suspended at 11:59PM on February 28th.  If you’re thinking about ordering be sure you get it in before then if you want the $19 credit.