Republic Wireless Cell Phone Plans Review
Looking for a way to save money on your cell phone bill? Republic Wireless could be the answer you’ve been waiting for. Republic lets you build your own plan, so you don’t end up paying for what you don’t use. Waste not, want not, amirite?
The big catch is that Republic Wireless doesn’t have an unlimited data plan, and the data that it does offer is expensive. So we would really only recommend this plan to folks who do more talking than streaming (or folks who just want a simple, cheap plan for their kids).
We should also warn you upfront that Republic doesn’t work with Apple devices, and some customers have had difficulty porting their number to a new carrier from Republic.
Republic Wireless plans
Plans start out cheap, but data prices quickly add up.
- Customizable plans
- Uses T-Mobile and Sprint networks
- Cheap no-data plan
- Data costs add up fast
- No iPhones—can't even bring your own
What we like
If you can’t stand those one-size-fits-all cell phone plans, Republic Wireless’s approach may be a pleasant surprise. You only pay for what you want. So if you mainly need a phone for calling and texting (rather than scrolling through Instagram), Republic might be your jam.
Republic’s My Choice Plan is fully customizable. It starts out with unlimited talk and text for $15 a month (which is quite cheap), then you can choose to add data from there.
Image: screenshot taken from www.republicwireless.com
Better yet, if you decide you want to change the amount of data on your plan each month, you can. It’s a great plan for your angsty teenager who needs to text their friends constantly, but doesn’t need the additional distraction of unlimited data.
Republic Wireless is what we in the industry call a Mobile Virtual Network Operator.
That’s a mouthful, so we’ll just call it an MVNO. These MVNOs use wireless networks built by other, larger companies. In this case, those companies are T-Mobile and Sprint.
We ranked T-Mobile second and Sprint fourth for both coverage and speed, so it’s pretty safe to say you’ll get good coverage with Republic. (Unless you venture way out in the boonies, in which case we doubt even the MVP, Verizon, would have you covered.)
What we don’t like
You could say Republic Wireless’s plan structure is simple but it might be more honest to say it’s limited. With Republic you can’t add more than 5 GB of data, you can’t use an iPhone, and you can’t get free international calls or texts.
No unlimited data plans
More and more of our daily lives are conducted through apps on our phones. We can socialize, play, work, and even order food on our mobile devices. But most of this requires data.
So, while many companies are moving towards unlimited data as a standard, it’s strange that Republic is moving in the other direction. It offers no unlimited data plan, and it has even lowered its top-tier data offering from 15 GB to just 5 GB.
Sure, you can connect to a bunch of Wi-Fi hotspots for free using your Republic phone. But being reliant on Wi-Fi hotspots kind of takes the mobile out of your mobile phone plan.
Limited phone selection
Looking to hang on to your new iPhone 11 when you switch phone companies? Well, then, Republic Wireless is not the company for you. Its service doesn’t work with iPhones at all.
We’ll go over Republic’s phone compatibility and retail offerings more below.
How do Republic’s unlimited plans compare?
If you choose the My Choice Plan with unlimited talk and text, but no data, it’s just $15 a month. That’s a pretty sweet deal when you compare it to other talk and text plans from Cricket Wireless and Total Wireless.
Republic Wireless no-data plan comparison
This cheap, no-data plan may be the best option for your kids, who just need a phone for coordinating rides to soccer practice—or for your parents, who don’t care about all those high falutin’ apps and other thingamajigs.
Republic’s prices start to add up quickly when you add data. It charges $5 for one gigabit (GB) of data. (That data doesn’t roll over, by the way.) For comparison, Total Wireless charges $10 for 5 GB of extra data, and MetroPCS charges $5 for 2 GB of data.
Here’s what that data charge would look like for a plan with 5 GB of data—and how it compares to similar plans from Cricket Wireless and Total Wireless.
Republic Wireless plan comparison
Republic Wireless family plans
. . . Or maybe we should say a lack of family plans.
You can add additional lines to your Republic Wireless account. But—and this is a big but—you won’t get any additional benefits or discounts for adding lines. So, in short, Republic doesn’t really have family plans.
If you’re looking for a company that can hook up you and your whole family, then we suggest checking out these plans from traditional carriers. Or, if you’re committed to that prepaid life, then check out Visible Wireless, which has a pretty great “Party Pay” option.
Republic Wireless coverage
Republic has tons of Wi-Fi hotspots on two major networks.
Republic Wireless tries to keep costs low by relying on Wi-Fi signals for service. Hopping on to Wi-Fi hotspots can significantly reduce your phone’s reliance on a wireless network.
If there happens to be no Wi-Fi signal available where you are, Republic hops onto either Sprint or T-Mobile’s network.
These two networks are decent on their own (T-Mobile is a bit faster), but with their powers combined, you should be able to get full bars in every metropolitan (and even suburban) area.1, 2
Republic Wireless coverage map
Image: taken from Republicwireless.com
Ironically enough, Sprint and T-Mobile may be merging into a single network in the near future. It’s unclear how the merger would affect customers on MVNOs, like Republic, but hopefully, it won’t shake things up too much.
Republic cell phones and devices
Google and Samsung users are in luck. Apple users, not so much.
If you’re all about the Android operating system (OS), then you won’t have any trouble hopping onto a Republic Wireless plan.
But if leaving the sleek and shiny iPhone gives you the heebie-jeebies, we’re sorry to say you won’t find any Apple phones supported here.
But why not?
Republic Wireless uses its app to prioritize Wi-Fi when you place a call. If it can’t connect to Wi-Fi, the app hops onto a cellular network. And, unfortunately, that app is currently supported only on Android phones.3
Hopefully, Apple will get its act together and approve the Republic Wireless app for use on iOS soon.
Available phones on Republic Wireless
Republic has some decent deals on Google devices (you can nab a Pixel 3a for just under $400). Here’s a look at Republic Wireless’s five most popular phones.
If you want to see what kind of deals other companies are cookin’ up, check out our cell phone deals article. We update it every week!
Republic Wireless customer service
Got a question? Time to get chummy with other Republic Wireless customers.
We found a lot of rave reviews of Republic Wireless, but not a lot of commentary about its actual customer service. This could be a good thing, since that means fewer negative reviews.
We also noticed that most of the answers on community support posts came from other Republic Wireless users—and the company even recommends asking an “Expert Member” if the FAQs don’t answer your question.
Image: screenshot taken from Republicwireless.com
This is an interesting approach to customer service but it doesn’t help much if you have a question about your bill. You know, a question that requires someone who actually works for Republic Wireless to answer it.
Your other options are chatting with an actual Republic Wireless rep and opening a ticket. But we couldn’t find a phone number for customer service anywhere—even on Google. Hmm . . .
Recap: Republic Wireless is good for low-data users
Here’s the final tally for everything you need to know about Republic Wireless.
Plans: The My Choice Plan gives you unlimited talk and text for $15 a month. That’s pretty cool. What’s less cool is that each gigabit of data that you add to that plan will run you $5, making your cheap plan a not-so-cheap plan. And if you want an unlimited data plan, you better look elsewhere.
Performance: Republic works hard to save you money by hopping on a Wi-Fi signal when one’s available. When there’s no Wi-Fi signal to be found, you’ll get great coverage and speed on Sprint’s or T-Mobile’s networks.
Devices: If you’re looking to buy a new Android device—like the Google Pixel or Samsung Galaxy—you can get one for a decent price from Republic. Or you can bring your own. But, if you’re an Apple iPhone user, then you’re out of luck.
Overall: If you just want an easy and cheap way to text and call the people you love, then you should seriously consider signing up for Republic. If you want anything else—data, new devices, family plans—then there are better options out there for you.
Q: Can I transfer my number with Republic?
You shouldn’t have issues transferring a number to Republic from another company. However, one of our editors here at Reviews.org told us about her terrible experience trying to transfer her number from Republic when she was going to another carrier.
Republic’s website has this to say about it: “Our numbers are classified as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) because of our blended WiFi/cell service, which some carriers consider to be the same as a wireline classification.”4
Basically, many cell phone companies out there won’t accept a number from Republic because it’s classified as a landline. Bummer.
Q: Where can I buy Republic Wireless phones?
Republic Wireless does not currently have any brick and mortar locations, you you’ll have to use the company’s online shop.
Q: Does Republic Wireless use a GSM network?
According to Republic, most of its phones can use both GSM and CDMA networks. But some phones may work only with the GSM network. You can check out GSM or CDMA compatibility here.
- Opensignal, “Mobile Network Experience Report July 2019”
- RootMetrics, “Review of the mobile landscape 1H 2019”
- Republic Wireless Member Community, “Why Not Use iPhones?”
- Republic Wireless, “Why Can’t My Republic Wireless Telephone Number Transfer to Cricket, Hello Mobile, or Google Voice?”