Republic Wireless, a Wi-Fi first carrier that jumps onto Sprint's (NYSE: S) cellular network when Wi-Fi coverage isn't available, plans to launch a new offer that will give customers credits for their unused cellular data. The company argues this provides more value to customers than simply rolling over unused data to the next month.
The company's new program is in beta testing right now with thousands of Republic's customers, according to Republic CEO David Morken. "We decided to do this because we realized 80 percent of our subscribers would save considerable money if we did," he said.
Under the new offer, customers will get a bill credit for their unused data on their next month's bill.
Morken said rollover data plans, such as those from T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T), let customers roll over unused data "so you can waste it again" the next month. "Rolling data over is saying essentially, the data you didn't use this month, you won't use next month either," he said.
Alongside its plan to offer credit for unused data, Republic is also planning to offer a new pricing option. Morken said the company is testing a plan that would offer unlimited calling and texting and 1 GB of cellular data per month for less than $25. Morken said 80 percent of Republic's customers use less than 1 GB of cellular data per month.
Morken said the company hopes to announce pricing for the new plan in May and launch it in June. The plan would stand alongside the company's existing pricing options.
Republic currently offers a $5 Wi-Fi-only plan, a $25 plan with unlimited 3G data from Sprint and a $40 per month plan that has unlimited Sprint LTE data. The company's service only works with four Motorola Mobility smartphones though, the newest being the second-generation Moto X, which sells for $400 without a contract.
Sometime later this year Republic plans to add a second U.S. carrier partner, but Morken said he could not name the carrier. "Sprint remains a great partner," he said. However, customers' No. 1 request is for Republic to add another carrier. "And the reason why they are asking is they want additional footprint, additional creativity and value, and that's one way we think we can deliver it," he said.
Morken declined to provide the number of customers Republic has or its revenue. However, he said the company, a division Cary, N.C.-based VoIP and bandwidth service provider Bandwidth.com, continues to grow. "We're on same pace we were last year when we tripled subscribers," he said.
A number of other Sprint MVNOs, including Scratch Wireless and FreedomPop, also offer Wi-Fi-first pricing plans.
- see this release
FreedomPop aims to wrap up M&A talks in the next 4-6 weeks, CEO says
Sprint MVNO Scratch Wireless offers unlimited cellular calling and data for $4/day
Republic Wireless to launch Moto X, new plans and improved Wi-Fi/cellular technology