Those of you who jumped on the chance to join Republic Wireless, a hybrid VOIP/mobile service with eye-popping low rates, are probably receiving your beta invitations now. Republic’s unlimited WiFi calling and mobile data for just $19 a month is tempting – but their sole phone, the 1.5-year-old Android-powered LG Optimus One, isn’t. As part of the survey for its latest Beta wave, the service provider has added a few details for its plans to expand its Android offerings.

The lowest-tier phone will cost $199 without a contract, and will be incorporated into the cost of the first month’s service. The current LG Optimus One is decidedly low-end, but the upgraded phone (which isn’t named) will have a 3.5-inch screen, 600mhz processor and a 5 megapixel camera. The mid-range Republic Wireless offering bumps things up to 3.7 inches, a 1GHz single-core CPU, a 5MP rear camera twinned to a VGA front-facing cam, and gigabyte of storage for $299.

Republic’s top-of-the-line phone will cost $499 off contract and feature more modern specs: a 4.3-inch screen, 1.2Ghz dual-core processor, 8GB of storage and a 7 megapixel camera (possibly a typo intended to be 8 megapixels). All three phones will unfortunately run Gingerbread in order to work with Republic’s unique software, but the company says it’s already looking at upgrades.

Would-be Republic Wireless customers don’t have the option of importing a phone from another carrier. This isn’t some kind of malicious policy – the WiFi-to-CDMA switching hardware that allows for a seamless transition is unique and has to be built into new phones. Republic says that it will begin offering newer Android phones in the summer, though the more expensive options may have to wait.

  • Borgias

    I gave RW a try back in Nov 2011, when they first opened their doors to
    the beta crowd. Within a month I dropped them and ended up filing
    complaints against them with the BBB, FCC, and FTC. Suffice it to say,
    STAY AWAY from this company. You will get absolutely NO customer service
    if anything should go wrong with your service, whether that be phone
    related or billing related. They will only respond to you once you file a
    complaint with the BBB, then they spring into action. Is this the type
    of company ANYONE would like to deal with? Don’t be lured in by
    $19/month thinking this is the greatest thing since slice bread, because
    it isn’t.

    • Bruce Rohrer

      Actually, Republic Wirless customer service has been superb for me. Twice they have overnighted new phones to me by FedEx and by 10 the next morning I had a working phone plus a pre-paid label to use to ship the broken phone back to them. And since all my contacts were in Google, they popped up in the new phone as soon as I typed in my Google password. Granted, it was hard to get through to them by phone, but by e-mailing my problem to their support e-mail address, I got same day service and next day replacements twice!

      • Bruce Rohrer

        I forgot to add that I spent three weeks in Vietnam and Hong Kong last month and had free voice and text and data service whenever I was in a hotel or cafe that had free wifi.

    • IHEARTRW!!

      Borgias is a flat out liar…

      Point #1. Republic didn’t even start charging any of thier customers for accual service until Feb of 2012! So why in gos name would anyone dump it before that time! (You already bought the phone!!)

      • Borgias

         It’s obvious you are a shill for RW, more than likely, an employee. You weren’t here for the debacle that occured the first week of November. Plus, I have the credit card statement with the charge on it, not that I need to prove anything to you. The phone that I bought? After filing my complaint with the BBB, RW agreed to take the phone back and offer a full refund. This company is absolutely horrible!! I, like millions of other Americans, don’t use Facebook or Twitter, I simply don’t have the time for such nonsense; and those were the only ways they were using to communicate with brand new customers if you were experiencing problems. I prefer the simple approach to customer service – pick up the phone, that I just got from RW, and speak to a live person to get problems solved clearly and effectively. Ironically, they did everything in their power to hide the direct dial numbers to their company and tried to corral everybody into using email only. The problem with that, as was evidenced on their massive 35 pages of forum comments from angry customers (which they have since deleted from public view so newcomers won’t see the raw truth about how they handle things as a business), is that RW was not responding to emails and was making blanketed statements that they were not receiving customers’ emails; but when customers starting showing proof that they sent emails, from their ‘sent folder’, RW got quiet all of a sudden because they were busted in their own like. As for forums, I didn’t have the time to read page after page of unrelated comments in the hope of finding a solution to my concerns or questions. Their lack of customer service will be their downfall, and that isn’t just my opinion but an opinion offered by various other review sites, consumer reporting sites and blogs. This company will be nothing more than a niche service for cellphone addicts. I’m sure one of the big boy companies will see this possible potential for success and swoop in and steal RW’s thunder by offering something at or below their price point.

  • Mark

    Been with RW for about 5 months now, no problems whatsoever. While not the latest and greatest, the Defy XT is more than adequate, is the right size, i.e. not too big, and at $149 and $22 total for a first or second line is priced right. It runs all the apps I have tried, and is reasonably fast with a decent WIFI connection. On the towers it is slower, but you won’t grow a beard waiting for pics or anything else to download. There is a learning curve for any computer, the DEFY is no different, as it is a computer running an android operating system. If you are not willing to learn, don’t bother, stick with your old dialpad flipphone instead.