An interesting thing about me, my current cell phone number has not changed in over 16 years. I’ve carried it with me through 5 carriers and 3 states. As the years have passed I’ve seen costs reduce significantly, and today I want to tell you about some options to lower your plan costs.
Two years ago when my contract was up with Verizon I decided to switch to one of the lower cost carriers. At the time there were really only 2 I considered, Cricket Wireless and Republic Wireless. Today there is actually a 3rd, Google Fi. Each one of these phone plans are significantly cheaper then one of the larger companies like Verizon or AT&T. Their basic premise for operation is that the phone uses a local wifi connection when around an open network, and seamlessly transitions to a cell phone network when you walk out of the range of the router. All of these lower cost carriers, offer unlimited talk and text, however they differentiate in cost due to their data offerings. In addition, I’ve found they have some positives beyond their lower price.
My Personal Choice for Cell Phone Coverage
Ultimately I chose Republic Wireless 2 years ago as the cheaper option as compared to Cricket (at the time). Republic Wireless has made some changes in their network in recent years. Originally, Republic Wireless transitioned over to use the Sprint network when out of range of a wifi connection. There were two plan options, one that had talk and text only, and the other also included unlimited 3G data for an additional $5/month (for a grand total of $25/month). If there was no Sprint signal available, it transitioned to Verizon, with the only limitation affecting data usage as you now only could use a mere 50GB of what it called roaming data. However, roaming phone and text messages were still free. Over the last year or so those still grandfathered in to this plan (like me) gave up the 50GB of roaming data, but still retain the unlimited 3G data on the Sprint network.
Newer plans for Republic Wireless now transition over to the T-Mobile network (though they will not come out and say this). The plans are priced to provide only a certain number of GB of data on T-Mobiles network with unlimited text and phone still intact as well as unlimited wifi data. We recently had to purchase a phone for my wife given her recent job transition. We again chose Republic Wireless over Google and Cricket. I can give you some perspective on both types of plans Republic Wireless offers, both old and new style. Republic sells phone types compatible with Sprint’s 4G network as well as T-Mobile’s 4G network. The phones compatible with Sprint’s 4G network are now offered only with a data purchase setup that is per GB, but allow the customer to receive a refund for unused data. I have read that Google Fi also refunds unused data. Costs of Republic Wireless are also slightly lower than the other 2 at $20/month for 1 GB of data versus $30/month for Cricket and $25/month for Google Fi. This was our primary decision maker. At our current data usage of under 1GB per month per phone Republic Wireless was the cheapest.
To date with either phone we have had no more reception issues than noticed with my wife’s former AT&T work phone or my previous Verizon phone. In fact, there was a certain road in which my wife routinely would have dropped calls on the AT&T network, that will maintain connection with Republic Wireless. I do wonder if we’d have reception issues if we lived in the middle of nowhere, but in the suburbs of a major city, the reception is at minimum the equal of the other major carriers. Transitions from wireless to cell are also seamless. Voice quality is clear and data is available at 4GLE speed, so no concerns here.
We also found an added bonus to these plans. We like to travel a lot internationally. Because of the wifi features we can call people in the US while in a foreign country at no additional plan cost. In fact this was one of the big reasons we chose Republic Wireless a second time over the other options. Both me and my wife are a bit fat fingered with ensuring we don’t go over data limits or we don’t make calls accidentally while roaming in a foreign country. Republic Wireless literally cannot do either. If you use up your allotted minutes you can change your plan to a higher tier of data on the fly from the app, but you will not simply go over the limit. If you attempt to use the phone in another country where you don’t have wifi, it just won’t work. This is in contrast to some of the other discount carriers while they make it smoother to just continue using data beyond limits or roam on an international network, which are great features in theory but just do not fit our needs.
Little Risk to Trying
Previous to trying Republic Wireless, both my wife and I had always been wary about low cost cell phone carriers, thinking that there had to be some horrific catch in getting unlimited talk, text and reasonable data for the super-low advertised prices. I was a die-hard flip phone user. No smart phone with data for me because I wasn’t about to waste money on an expensive smartphone and another $20-$30/month so that I could utilize its features. Republic Wireless is a pay as you go system so you can cancel at anytime with no contractual obligations. You can also bring your own phones with SIM Card replacement or buy a slightly more expensive phone from the company with no issue as well. Because of this there is no real risk to giving it a try beyond the price of a SIM card should you change your mind. I would strongly suggest giving it a try if your contract is up. I’m actually convinced you can’t go wrong with any of the 3: Cricket, Republic, or Google Fi. Regardless of your choice I would strongly recommend you consider one of these alternative cell phone companies this is an easy way to cut costs while still meeting your mobile tech needs.
Have you ever tried a low cost cell phone carrier?