Your Mobile Provider Isn’t Worth a Year of Your Life

37

vanontheroad
An entire year of my life. I finally snapped. It happened when I realized that by the time I turned 60 years old, I would have spent an entire year of my life working just to pay for the “privilege” of using Verizon’s cell phone network. I have been paying $155 a month for me and my wife’s cell phone service for years. That’s $1,860 a year. That’s such an insane amount of money that it makes me feel dirty, and this feels like a confession. I indentured myself to Verizon via their 2 year contract, all for a shiny new phone. It’s not worth it. So, after much research we decided to throw Verizon into the river and switch to Republic Wireless, where we are going to save over $1,400 a year.

Who is Republic Wireless?

It’s a relatively new wireless provider that uses wifi when available and traditional cell phone towers the rest of the time. Using wifi saves the company an enormous amount of money which they simply pass onto their customers by providing the lowest cost cell phone plans on the market.

How does it work?

First there are no contracts. You are free to start and stop your service whenever you choose. There is also a 30 day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the service. There are no activation fees and no roaming charges. You simply buy a phone from Republic for $100-$400, and pick a plan. Here is a look at the plans.

republic plans

Which plan are we using?

We signed my wife up for the $10 a month plan. She was rarely using any data while out and about, so we decided that we weren’t going to pay data usage if it wasn’t going to be used. I’m going to be getting the $25 a month plan so I can still have access to data primarily for work. I listen to Pandora a lot when I’m out delivering appliances and I like to be able to check and respond to emails while I’m away from home. I also occasionally will check the latest Craigslist postings. I think 3g is fast enough for most people.

Which phones are we getting?

We purchased the Moto G for my wife, which priced at $149, is an incredible phone. The battery life is very good and lasts over a day easily. Screen is very bright and clear HD display. The camera isn’t quite as nice as the more expensive Moto x but still takes nice pictures. This phone is also very fast, as it’s not bloated with all of the garbage that Verizon loads onto all their phones.

motog

I will be most likely purchasing the Moto X for a few reasons. I’m used to the bigger screen, slightly faster processor and the nicer camera. I take a lot of pictures for work and spending a bit extra for the nicer phone is worth it to me. Besides, I’m still going to be saving over $1,000 the first year even after I purchase our phones outright. Second year savings will be over $1,400, and possibly more if I decide to drop the 3g plan. We’ll see.

How well does the service work?

Let me walk you through a typical scenario. When you are at home, your phone will automatically connect to your wifi connection and route all incoming and outgoing calls through that connection. The calls are very clear over wifi. In fact, we used to have friends that were living in our basement that could not get cell phone coverage from most of the big carriers. When they heard about Republic wireless, they quickly signed up and from that day they had perfect coverage and could make calls again.

When you make a phone call over wifi and, in the middle of your call you get up and leave, something almost magical happens. As you start getting close to being out of range of your wifi source, the phone will automagically handoff your call to a traditional cell phone tower without you even being able to notice. It’s pretty amazing.

Republic wireless uses Sprint’s network of cell towers when available, and will use Verizon towers when no Sprint towers are available. It’s quite incredible.

Going on a trip?

You can change your plan twice a month and it’s as easy as clicking a button on Republic’s website. So say you need or want to use data while you are on a road trip you can switch to a plan with data while you are travelling and then switch back when you return home. This is how it should be. You shouldn’t pay for something year around if you only are rarely going to use it.

Don’t be afraid to pay cash for your phone

Paying cash for your phone is the best way to go. First it makes you count the cost of the phone and causes you to wrestle with what features you are willing to pay for. If you really want a fancy phone but you don’t have the money, then you won’t be buying the top of the line $400 phone. The big cell phone carriers rope people into getting top of the line phones at a subsidized price and then stick it to them in the monthly payments. On average you will pay almost $40 extra per month for 2 years to get that fancy phone from a big carrier. That’s almost $1,000 out of pocket for a fancy “free” phone from a big carrier, and $1,200-$1,400 for a top of the line phone. All of a sudden paying $100-$400 for the phone outright sounds like the bargain it is!

What would you do with an extra $1,400 each year? Depending on how much you need to live on, you could take an additional 2-4 weeks off from work. You could invest the money. You could help people in need. You could go exploring on one of the islands in Hawaii or another part of the US you’ve always wanted to visit.

Life is short. Your wireless provider isn’t worth a year of your labor.

Interested? Convinced? Want to learn more? Click here for the Republic Wireless website. If you decide to sign up for service through Republic wireless, and click the above link, you will be supporting me and this blog as I will get a small commission. I appreciate your support!

What would you do with an extra $1,400 each year?

37 COMMENTS

  1. Nice work! My wife and I dropped Verizon earlier this year for Ting (similar to Republic but with tiered pricing based on usage), and we’re on track to save over $800, essentially cutting the bill in half.

    The service is admittedly not as strong as Verizon (Ting runs on the Sprint network) but I actually haven’t had any dropped calls in the house. Sometimes the 3G just is spotty or runs slow. Nothing life threatening 🙂

    • The thing I was really stoked on was that they use Verizon towers as a backup when Sprint ones aren’t available. Being content to stay just a little ways back from the cutting edge, latest, greatest, fastest is a great way to save a lot of money!

  2. i have a contract phone through work, that they pay for. I have my wife and son on Airvoice Wireless plans for $10/ month (each), with no data. You can bring your own phone to AVW and we are using older model iPhones that are paid for. It’s been working really well for us. Other plans with data are available. We’re also using Google Voice for free unlimited texting. Works great on an iPhone.
    Premium phone, inexpensive service. It’s a winning combination.

  3. Republic really is great! I switched earlier this year over the summer, BEST decision I’ve ever made. I opted with the Moto X for the upgraded performance power over the ‘G’. I primarily work from home and spend majority my time home as well where I have WiFi available so I’m currently on the $10 plan and it feels absolutely great. No I don’t have data when I’m away from home but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to take for the tremendous savings. BUT I’m never really too far from a WiFi network, even my local grocery store has free WiFi. Definitely a great move. You’re on the right team Ryan!

  4. I switched to RW in April 2014 and have the Moto X. On wifi it’s great. On Wifi the calls go right through, the audio is clear, and the transfer from wifi to cell works well.

    They have very good roaming partners. I typically roam to Verizon but I have also roamed onto US Cellular, Syringa wireless, Si Wireless, Commnet, and AT&T (near the Utah/Wyoming border).

    A very good perk with RW is you can go from a no data plan to a prorated data plan in seconds. You can change plans twice a month. If I go on a trip I sometimes add the data plan then when I get back home I switch back to no data.

    For the bad, on cell it garbles up the audio a lot when on Sprint, however, calls are clear when it roams to Verizon, US Cellular, or even AT&T (yes, I have screenshots to prove it was AT&T and I know the difference between CDMA & GSM but apparently there is a tower in Utah that AT&T has that is CDMA). I have complained to RW for months that their cell audio quality is very poor. Before you think this is happening with low signal strength, it also happens when you can see the tower 1/4 mile away and have full bars. There’s no excuse for this audio issue. A friend and I were traveling from Michigan to Wyoming and he has a Moto X on Sprint. Interestingly enough my moto X on RW was all garbly on cell so I used his and his was clear. Many in the forums complain about this but RW will not even acknowledge a problem. I believe it might be a codec issue but I can’t even get RW to acknowledge a problem.

    I stay with RW because I am in Wifi most of the time. I am on their $10 plan which with taxes works out to almost $14. If you don’t expect too much from RW it can be fine but know it’s not going to work as well as many other carriers. I am not willing to pay for Verizon or AT&T so I live with garbled audio on cell for the price.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience! Yeah, I’m expecting service and call quality to be a bit lower than Verizon. For the amount of money we are saving, I’m more than willing to make the small sacrifice. Like you said, we too make most of our calls from home, and that’s where the best call quality needs to be.

  5. I cut the cord with Verizon for 2 years, and used a prepaid flip phone during that time.

    In retrospect, I would have saved even more by switching to republic wireless so that I could have enjoyed the free wi-fi calling. Plus I would have enjoyed having the smartphone. My CPA uses Republic Wireless, if that tells you anything.

    That said,the Sprint network around here is spotty, and I hate having calls dropped (I normally stay in touch with folks while driving)

    We finally went back to ATT this month with a 2-year contract, but since our phones are used so heavily for business, I figure I am getting a 40% discount using pretax money.

    Just sharing my story. I’d do it again.

    I hope folks read your article and wake up from the “sheep mentality”.

  6. Two reasons I haven’t switched to Republic:

    #1: They use Sprint. Sprint’s national coverage sucks. I could probably live with that if the coverage in my hometown was great, but it was horrible. I couldn’t even get a good enough connection in my own home to carry on a business conversation.

    #2: I’ve tried VOIP calls over Google Hangouts. One of four calls was great. The other three calls was choppy.

    Which leads me to Republic Wireless: Seems like a good alternative for kids or college students or even a housewife who doesn’t depend on the phone for business. But in your case? Well… keep us posted.

    For us, when our contract with ATT ran out, we switched to Cricket and we’re saving $70 a month. The connection is more reliable and stronger than ATT– which I don’t fully understand, since Cricket uses the ATT network.

    YMMV.

    • Few thoughts.

      1. Sprint definitely doesn’t have the network that Verizon or At&T. But it some places they have a very strong network. So I think it really depends on where you live. I’ve had a lot of dropped with Verizon over the years, both from my end and from the callers side. I’ve never lost a sale in over 4 years. People understand that sometimes reception isn’t very good, call quality isn’t the greatest and there are dropped calls. For me, if there are occasional hiccups, I’ll deal with them. What I won’t deal with is looking back with regret on how much of my life I would have spent to gain superior cell phone coverage. It simply isn’t worth it.

      2. In my testing of the wifi calls and my wife’s use of them, they have been great.

      I will definitely keep you all posted about what our experience is like with the service!

  7. If not for several out of country trips each year we would have already got rid of ATT. I used to have 7 business phones with Cricket when they first came out and never had a problem. Not that we have any problems with cell service now but it would sure be great to pay less to do the same thing… talk on the phone… as we do now.

    I know there are several options for out of the country calls but we took it to a vote and I lost… 1 to 1. lol Unfortunately I had the non deciding vote. lol Actually, she does most of the travel abroad so it was her decision.

    I use a google voice number for a couple of my businesses. The one thing I like about it is that I can set the hours the phone will ring and the other options. No idea why carriers don’t let us use these features.

    • I think T Mobile has the best plan for people that go out of the country often. With Republic you can go out of country and make all the calls you want for free as long as you are on wifi.

  8. Ryan, you are selling me.
    I’ve been looking to get out of my ATT $70 fleece for a while now.
    I’ve dropped data and moved to 35 / mo, but still not happy.
    SOunds like you have a winner.
    If only they had a biz op for word of mouth advertising, you’d be up there.
    blessings brother

  9. I just signed up this week. I’m waiting for my phone. I ordered the Moto E. I would have liked the X but too much money for me. Considering I’m going from a flip phone to a smartphone it is still an upgrade 🙂 I haven’t had a contract in years and currently use PuretalkUSA. It’s $10 but it’s really limited on minutes and of course no data. I’m happy to make the switch.

  10. I have been with republic for over a year. I have the defy phone and the $20 plan, On the whole it is good with some problems, for example not getting coverage in a shopping mall or movie theater. The battery does not last long unless not used.I paid $249 for it so i cannot just buy another phone every time you have a sale or add a new phone. It would be nice if republic would offer trade in value on the phones they sell so customers could upgrade!!!

  11. I’ve been with RW since Aug 2013. Started with the Defy, went to the first gen moto x and now just upgraded to the 2ng gen moto x. the service has been great and I have never longed for something more. I sold off my first gen moto x on ebay for over $200 so the upgrade wasn’t that bad. I hope republic stays around for a long time!

  12. You did not mention one other big plus with Republic
    Free WiFi calling if you are out of the good old USA I have called home from different place in Europe and the calls sound great.

  13. Ryan,

    Just discovered your site last week, and I am more than a little fascinated with your appliance biz. I am now mostly sold on Republic, all I have to do is figure out how to get out of Verizon contract. $520 to get out of two lines is serious and I have well over a year left. Any suggestions on how to break free without parting with the $520?

    Thanks!

    • Hey Eric, I hear if you live where there isn’t good Verizon coverage you can get out of your contract.

      You could see if an associate would reduce the cancellation amount. Also, once you cancel, selling your phones could pay for the cancellation fee.

      Let me know if you have any other questions about the appliance business. It’s a great business to get into!

  14. Do you, or anyone else, know if it is possible to tether the moto cell phone to my laptop so as to provide unlimited data for my laptop?

    If not, do you know of great deals for Internet computer use?

    Thanks. And great website, Ryan.

    Bev

    • The answer is yes, but not yet! It will be on their newer plans and they haven’t announced a date yet. However, you will most likely pay for what you use. Data is expensive for all carriers so you will not be able to find an unlimited data plan anywhere. The going rate per GB of data is about $10 right now. That is roughly the equivalent of one HD movie being watched on Amazon Prime or Netflix.

      Hope that helps!

  15. Hi Ryan, just stumbled upon your website and I’m finding some decent information. I just wanted to say thank you for admitting that you are an affiliate of Republic Wireless. It may seem like a small thing, but to me it’s refreshing when you actually find honest people on the internet. Nice work!

    • Thanks Brian! Yeah, even if they didn’t have a referral program, I would still recommend the service to people. My wife still uses Republic wireless and loves it. $11/month all said done!

LEAVE A REPLY