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.
Update: My wife still uses republic wireless and I switched to Google’s Project Fi which I love. If you use this link you will save $20 off your first month’s service.
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.
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.
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 Google Fi website. If you decide to sign up for service through Google Fi, 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?