Republic Wireless added nine Android handsets to its portfolio, making good on a vow it made in May to expand its lineup. But the MVNO also raised the price of its cheapest monthly plan.
The new phones include high-end devices such as Samsung's Galaxy S7 (which sells for $699) and S7 Edge ($799) as well as Huawei's Nexus 6P ($499), Moto G4 ($199) and G4 Plus ($299). Republic said it plans to add more low-priced phones in the coming months, and in August it will begin selling SIM cards enabling users to activate their own unlocked phones compatible with T-Mobile's network.
Republic eliminated its $10 monthly plan, however, replacing it with an offering of unlimited talk, text, and Wi-Fi-only data for $15 a month. It lowered the base price of more expensive plans but dropped its refund model, which paid customers back for unused data. New plans include unlimited talk, text, Wi-Fi data and 1 GB of cellular data for $20 a month, and a similar offering with 4 GB of cellular data for $45 a month.
"With Republic Wireless talk is cheap - literally. From day one, our goal has always been to create a quality mobile service that was remarkably affordable." Republic COO Chris Chuang said in a prepared statement. "The fact is the majority of consumers are within range of a Wi-Fi network most of their day and yet are still paying like they are on cellular twenty-four seven. Our patented technology uses the Wi-Fi networks consumers are already paying for to lessen their cellular use and ultimately reduce what they end up paying for their mobile service. Today's announcement is a significant leap forward in our mission to lower everyone's mobile phone bill."
Republic launched with Sprint (NYSE: S) five years ago and recently added an unnamed nationwide GSM service provider "with the fastest nationwide 4G LTE network." T-Mobile is Republic's new carrier partner, which means Republic can now sell its services into the rural and suburban markets into which T-Mobile is expanding.
The new handsets on Republic's service are notable considering the company previously only offered service on a pair of low-end Motorola phones (Republic's calling technology requires specialized software on users' phones). Further, Republic's lineup is now broader than the lineup available on Google's Project Fi MVNO, which also offers Wi-Fi calling services. Project Fi currently only works on the Nexus 6P and 5X.
Republic Wireless doesn't disclose customer figures but appears to have gained gradual ground over the last few years as an affordable alternative to traditional cellular services. The company is one of several Wi-Fi-first players that could eventually prove disruptive for major U.S. mobile network operators.
- see Republic Wireless's press release
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