Republic Wireless Review: 7 Things to Know Before You Sign Up

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Republic Wireless low-cost cell phone service
Image Credit: Clark.com

Money expert Clark Howard has talked about cheap cell phone plans from Republic Wireless for years, but is the service still a good value? I put it to the test for 30 days to find out!

This was actually my second time as a Republic Wireless customer — I first had service with them back in 2014.

Republic Wireless Review: Everything You Need to Know Before You Sign Up 

There have been a lot of changes since then. The Big 4 wireless providers have shifted to unlimited plans and eliminated contracts to remain competitive, while new prepaid carriers have emerged with inexpensive data plans.

This Republic Wireless review will cover what you need to know about the provider and my personal experience.

Quick Links: 

  1. How Much Does Republic Wireless Cost?
  2. What Network Does Republic Wireless Use? 
  3. Can I Bring My Phone to Republic Wireless? 
  4. How Do I Track My Republic Wireless Data Usage? 
  5. Does Republic Wireless Support Mobile Hotspot?
  6. Will Republic Wireless Block Spam Calls and Voicemails?
  7. Does Republic Wireless Offer Phone Customer Support?

1. How Much Does Republic Wireless Cost?

Monthly prepaid plans with Republic Wireless start at $15 before taxes and fees. For that price, you get unlimited talk and text. Data is an extra $5 per GB. No unlimited data plan is offered.

I used less than 1GB of data, so my plan was $20 for the month. Taxes and fees were an extra $4.

Republic Wireless My Choice Data Plans 

Unlimited Talk & Text  Unlimited Talk & Text + 1GB Data Unlimited Talk & Text + 2GB Data
$15/month $20/month $25/month
Taxes and fees extra Taxes and fees extra Taxes and fees extra

For extremely light data users who rely mostly on Wi-Fi, Republic Wireless is one of the cheapest options around. However, the pricing becomes less competitive once you hit 5GB per month — $40 plus taxes and fees.

With Republic Wireless, you can start with 1GB per month and add data at any time from the app for $5 per GB.

In addition to its monthly prepaid plans, Republic Wireless has an annual plan that can save you money. Customers get two months free when they pay for a year in advance.

All Republic Wireless plans come with a 14-day money back guarantee.

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2. What Network Does Republic Wireless Use?

Republic Wireless is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that partners with two networks: T-Mobile and Sprint.

Customers get access to one of the two networks, not both. When you sign up, Republic Wireless will choose which network is best based on your location.

Republic Wireless says some phones will only work on its GSM network, which is T-Mobile. Sprint is CDMA.

Republic Wireless nationwide coverage map
Republic Wireless nationwide coverage map

For my 30-day test period with Republic Wireless, I used T-Mobile’s towers in South Florida. I experienced no dropped calls or missing texts, but call quality was an issue for a couple of conversations.

Download data speeds were fast — typically around 15 Mbps to 25 Mbps when I checked using the Speedtest by Ookla app.

If you live in an area where you need either Verizon or AT&T to get good coverage, Republic Wireless is not for you. Enter your zip code online to see the coverage where you live.

3. Can I Bring My Phone to Republic Wireless?

Republic Wireless sells a number of Android devices on its website, but customers can also bring select phones to the service.

Check the list of compatible devices to see if Republic Wireless supports yours. Keep in mind that if your phone is carrier branded, it’s not compatible. It must be a factory unlocked device.

The list of supported devices includes phones from Google, Motorola, LG, Samsung and more. iPhones are not compatible.

4. How Do I Track My Republic Wireless Data Usage?

Since you pay by the gig with Republic Wireless, this service is only for people who are willing to track their data usage.

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When you open the Republic Wireless app, the first thing you see is how much data you have left and which apps are using the most data. An exclamation point indicates that you may run out of data before your billing cycle ends.

If you reach your data limit, data will stop and you won’t be charged extra. You can add more data from the app for $5 per GB.

Data usage from the Republic Wireless app
Monitor data usage from the Republic Wireless app

5. Does Republic Wireless Support Mobile Hotspot?

Republic Wireless says that all phones on its My Choice plans can tether. Even some phones on plans it no longer offers to new customers have the same capability.

I was able to activate my personal mobile hotspot from the settings menu within the Republic Wireless app.

There’s no separate data allotment for mobile hotspot, so this feature can quickly use up your cellular data. It’s best to limit tethering if you want to keep your costs down.

6. Will Republic Wireless Block Spam Calls and Voicemails?

Robocalls are a problem for all cell phone users. Republic Wireless has a couple of options built into its app that will prevent as many of those annoying calls as possible:

  • Block spam calls: Republic will block calls from suspected scammers. These calls may still go to voicemail.
  • Block spam calls & voicemails: In addition to blocking suspected spam calls, Republic will also block spammers from leaving voicemails.

Republic Wireless’ spam call blocking protection is included at no additional charge. Learn how to stop robocalls for good here.

7. Does Republic Wireless Offer Phone Customer Support?

North Carolina-based Republic Wireless doesn’t have retail stores or a phone number to get customer support. However, there are several ways that you can reach out to the carrier for help.

Perhaps the easiest way is to open a help ticket through the app and wait for someone to get back to you.

Republic Wireless also has guides to help you get started, community forums and chat support. I was able to quickly find the answer to a question I had by using the search bar on the Help Center page.

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Since there is no 1-800 number, everything from changing payment information to canceling service is done through the app.

Open a help ticket through the Republic Wireless app
Open a help ticket through the Republic Wireless app

Final Thought 

Republic Wireless remains a good option for cheap phone service, particularly for people who mostly connect to Wi-Fi and can limit their data to below 1GB per month.

If this sounds like you, Republic Wireless may be worth looking into:

  • T-Mobile and Sprint coverage is strong in your area
  • You don’t mind tracking your data usage
  • You are an Android phone user
  • You don’t ever have to call customer service

Republic Wireless: Pros and Cons

Pros  Cons
Affordable plans for light data users Limited phone compatibility (no iPhones)
Add data at any time Unlimited data plan not offered
Easy to track data usage from the app No retail locations or phone customer support

Republic Wireless made Clark’s list of the best cell phone plans and deals, but it’s not your only option. Compare the latest offers and see how much you can save on your cell phone bill every month.

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