I remember when I was in college.
I have no desire to go back, believe me, because aside from the being broke all the time and waiting tables, I got married my freshman year, and soon thereafter I adopted some of my husband’s spending habits. He’s a great guy, but he’s the spending and I’m the saver. In our haste to set our house, and our life up like we were real adults, together we got ourselves into expensive smartphone, cable, and internet contracts.
But then, about a year after we got married, my husband blew his knee out while on military duty – and if you know anything about the military, you know that it takes FOREVER to get the paperwork needed for the knee surgery he needed as a result of his injury taken care of.
As a result, he did not work for 8 months, and I was still in college and working as a server, trying to make ends meet. On top of it all, we were locked into those expensive phone, internet, and cable contracts!
Once we got through The Big Guy’s unemployment and back on (relatively) solid financial ground, I vowed never to get myself into expensive bills like that or the contracts that came with them ever again!
About that time I started this blog, Retired by 40!, as a result of reading tons (and I mean TONS) of personal finance blogs and was learning ways to save money in every part of our lives – and I discovered a freeing alternative to the traditional 2-year expensive phone contracts!
The company I discovered is called Republic Wireless, and on average, they save us $2,100 a year on our smartphones – and you can lower your phone bill with them too!
How does Republic Wireless Work?
Republic Wireless is different from any other mobile phone company I know of. The service they provide, the price point, and the contract-free nature of their plans.
Rather than running on a network of cell towers like traditional cell phone companies do, Republic Wireless realized that if you could build a phone that would seamlessly allow the user to make their call over the internet when it was available, and then “hand” that call over to a cellular network as the user left wifi, you could offload 75% off the cost of making a call.
Of course, anyone with a smartphone knows that there are applications you can use to make a call over the internet. It’s called VOiP, which is something I just learned. However, there were no applications that could make calls over the cell network or the wifi, depending upon which was available. So Republic Wireless set to work designing this groundbreaking software.
They succeeded, or I wouldn’t be writing this article now!
When you make a call with your Republic Wireless phone while you’re in your home, your phone will place the call over wifi. Then say you need to run to the store, but you’re still on the phone. As you leave your home internet, your Republic Wireless phone will hand over the call from internet to Sprint or Verizon’s cell towers. If you want to make a call while you’re away from your home and not in wifi, your phone uses Sprint or Verizon’s cell towers (whichever has better service where you’re at) to place your call.
What Phones Does Republic Wireless Offer?
Since Republic Wireless’ service is contract-free, there are no contract discounts on phones. Still, their phones cost approximately ½ of what the same phone would cost you out-of-pocket with any other major cell carrier. Here are your options:
Moto X (2nd Generation) : $399
Moto X: $299
Moto G: $199
Moto E: $99
Each of these phones, as you can see by the specs above, have the power to do everything you need to get done on your smartphone – and monthly prices start at $5.00 a month!
Service Starting at $5.00 a Month:
Republic Wireless offers serveral service tiers, depending upon your needs:
$5.00 = wifi only.
$10.00 = Unlimited Talk & Text
$25.00 = Unlimited Talk, Text, and 3G service
$45.00 – Unlimited Talk, Text, and 4G service
….And you can change your plan 2x a month!
Yes, you read that right, not only can you change your plan twice per month, and in order to do so you don’t need to call anyone, jump through any hoops, or fight with your cell company. You can change your plan right from your phone, from the handy Republic Wireless app that allows you to change your plan, pay your bill, or access help from the community forum. It’s seriously that simple!
We have 3 Republic Wireless phones, actually! We have one that serves as our home phone, on the $5.00 a month wifi only plan. Because this phone never leaves our house, the cheapest plan is perfect – and cheap!
I have the Moto G (as does The Big Guy), and normally I keep my plan at $10 a month, because I have internet when I’m at home, work and at most stores I go to. However, we do go on vacation, or camping occasionally, and since I’m always doing something with this blog, I need access to internet. When that happens, I can quckly change my plan for a few days, pay the prorated charges for just a few days of data usage, and then when we’re back home drop back down to the cheaper plan.
Let’s Do Some Math:
In college, in the midst of our crazy expensive smartphone plan, we were spending $180 a month x 12 months = $2,160 + $150 x 2 (the cost of our phones) = $2,460!
Now we pay $20 a month x 12 months = $240 + $99 x 2 (the cost of our phones) = $348 a year!
That’s a savings of $2,112 in savings every year!
That’s like a vacation, ya’ll ( a really nice one).
Or the 2001 Pasat we just bought!
What is stopping you from making the switch?
*This post may contain affiliate links
Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom says
I’m a Canadian! Sounds like a great deal though! We switched our phones over to a local company like this and get so much more service for so much less! When there’s $2,100 to save, it’s a pretty easy choice!
Ooooh, I have no idea how it works in Canada – sorry! But, that’s awesome that you found something cheaper :-)
Nice work Gretchen. We will need to really consider this in the future. Those are incredible savings.
Thanks Liz! You should definitely consider it – it’s a bit of an up front cost, but will definitely save you in the long run!
I love this idea. We all have iPhones and pay $200/month. I’m looking for a program like this that works with iPhones!
I think Ting (not sure of the website, I’m sure google knows :-) works with iphones. You should check it out!
Mrs. Frugalwoods says
That’s a great savings! Our employers pay for our iPhones right now, but we’ll definitely be switching (probably to Republic) once we quit our 9-5’s.
Hey, subsidized iphones are great! How attached are you to them? I know some people that can’t live without theirs, but Republic only has android
Mrs. Frugalwoods says
I’ll be OK with switching to android if needed to get on a cheaper plan. I definitely don’t want to pay for my iPhone plan on my own :)!
Michelle James says
This is amazing. I wonder if this is available in Iowa. We don’t always have the variety and choices of bigger cities. I will check into it. Thank you!
It should be. On Republic’s site, there is a place to check and see if your current number is available to transfer over. It sounds like it would be a great option for you!
Cutting big phone and cable contracts was one of the best things we’ve done. We now have a piano in place of the TV. Amazing how we rarely miss it (disclaimer: we have one in a back bedroom for the occasional movie, but moving it out of the living room made the room more about living than watching).
We went with T-Mobile for service. Unlimited talk-text-data on 2 phones for $45 a month. Not bad. We have Apple computers and phones, so I don’t see us switching that. When we jumped to T-Mo, they had no option for Apple. (we’ve been using Apple way before the iPhone) Hopefully Republic will let us bring an unlocked iPhone to them in the future.
I actually took your advice, and we moved our TV to the basement and put the piano in our formal living room upstairs. So far its working well!