I have been a Republic Wireless advocate and customer since they announced the Moto X 1st generation. The prices were better than fair, they were great, especially for someone like me, a low speed (3G), but relatively high (3GB) a month user. Best of all, Republic offered amnesty for users every six months if they went over the 5GB/Month limit (perfect for those vacations down the shore).
Republic did drop significantly the amount of roaming data. Since I came on board, roaming data went from 200mb to 25mb a month. I understand that roaming data is expensive, and it didn’t matter too much since I could get WiFi connectivity in even the most rural location if I needed to make a call. Many of the other MVNO’s either don’t offer roaming at all or charge for it.
In July, Republic announced Maestro, a new plan which pays users back for bandwidth they don’t use. For low bandwidth cell users, (500 mb) a month or less, Republic is still a value. But once you get past 1GB usage a month, Republic’s pricing becomes very similar to that of other MVNO’s, and past 5 GB’s, it becomes more expensive than some of the big 4.
|OLD PLAN (3G)||OLD PLAN(4G)||Maestro(4G)||FI (Google)(4G)||Metro PCS(4G)||Cricket||T-Mobile||Verizon|
These comparisons are apples and oranges in a lot of cases. Most plans charge taxes and surcharges, Metro bundles them in. Cricket will give you $5/month credit for auto-pay, and Verizon will discount $15/month if you purchase your phone through Verizon Edge. Metro’s $60 plan states unlimited 4G on the device, but 6GB if you tether. And Google has a pretty expensive phone. Google and Republic will pay you back for unused minutes. (Sprint’s website was down when I wrote this, so their numbers weren’t available, except tor a 20 GB plan for $100). T-Mobile’s $80 plan is unlimited. I also didn’t include family discounts.
The critical point is 3GB a month, at that point is makes sense to choose most of the alternatives, excluding Verizon, given all other factors are considered equal, like customer service and network quality (ha ha).
Republic touts no contracts, which is technically correct. But they also don’t have phones that can be transferred to other carriers. They have proprietory firmware that can’t be easily removed. So once you purchase that Moto X, you’re locked in, or forced to sell your device on Ebay.
It’s the 3G users who suffer the most from the new Maestro. They essentially lose the discount they got for a lower class of service. The Moto G and Moto E first gen that were part of Republic’s phone line up only have 3G, so those users won’t be able to even take advantage of the higher speeds that they are now forced to pay for.
I have to wonder, does Sprint charge the same to Republic for 3G and 4G access, and if not, why did Republic ever differentiate on bandwidth speed in their pricing?
So, I’m grandfathered in unti 7/31/2016. At that point, you’ll more than likely see both my son’s and my phones on Ebay.
Thank you, Republic for two years of great pricing. Now the party is over.