Republic Wireless is trying to do something crazy with mobile phone plans. It offers cheap rates on its prepaid service by routing calls and texts through WiFi when it's available. Getting compelling phones that had been tweaked by Republic Wireless to support this handoff has been a challenge, though. After some teasing, it looks like there's a killer deal to be had. Republic Wireless has announced it will sell the Moto X off-contract for $299. There are also a few new plans to make service even cheaper.


In its blog post, Republic Wireless is careful to point out that the Moto X is not a $300 phone. It sells for quite a lot more if you're buying off-contract everywhere else. Republic Wireless is essentially pulling a Google and covering part of the cost to get people using the device (and its service). However, you can't get the Moto X right away. The company expects the device to be available sometime in November when the service exits beta.

Along with the new super-cheap Moto X, Republic Wireless is going to be offering two new low-cost plans. These options are cutting the cellular network out of the picture partially or entirely, depending on how much you want to pay. The $5 plan will permit you to place calls and text through Republic Wireless on WiFi, but nothing else. The $10 plan has unlimited calls and texts over WiFi as well as over the cell network, but there's no mobile data included. Of course, you can use all the data you want on WiFi with these plans.


The carrier will still be offering its $25 and $45 plans which include talk, text, and data over cellular when there's no WiFi. The only difference is the cheaper plan is limited to 3G, while the other has 4G. This is all going over the Sprint network, so take that into account when deciding.

[Republic Wireless, Moto X]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • jonathan3579

    If only they were doing this through a carrier like AT&T (though it'd certainly not be unlimited) or T-Mobile. I would have to be paid to use Sprint's network again.

    • Kiltedbear

      I just bought a Nexus 4 16GB for $250 and went to T-mobile for their "bring your own device" service and got unlimited text and data with 100 minutes on 4G for only $30/month.

      • twatttymilan

        sadly the nexus 4 does not gave 4g. but that wouldnt bother you if you wouldnt mind. actually, i too have been thinking of doing what you just did. but i cant decide if 3g is enough for me. maybe i should just wait for the nexus 5 tho

  • Guest

    just making sure--this is an annual contract (month pricing) structure, right? Or is this buy the phone for $300 & one month of service & cancel shortly thereafter?

    • Evan314

      Quoting the site: "In the industry this is typically known as a subsidy, but we’ve added a twist. We are bringing down the cost without holding you to a contract. We’re doing this because we have trust in our members…and we have confidence in our product and service."

      How in the world are they not going to get burned on this?

      • moelsen8

        i'm sure they're going to make sure the phone's locked down nice and tight..

        • n0th1ng_r3al

          Yeah they are all like "We trust our users" Bullshit. it's gonna be locked down. They aren't stupid.

          • Quest

            At that price can you blame them

          • h4rr4r

            Yes. I would rather pay the actual price and be able to do what I want.

          • Tony Fyffe

            You most certainly can. There are 2 unlocked developer editions available for $649.

            Although they don't "hold you to a contract," I'm sure if you cancel, you're stuck with a beautiful brick of a phone.

      • n0th1ng_r3al

        Well you can only use the phone on Republic Wireless. Verizon and Sprint won't activate it on their network so...

        • ProductFRED

          Also Sprint has a habit of locking out domestic (US) SIM cards from their devices. I have a feeling Republic Wireless locked out ALL except for their own LTE SIM.

          • Freak4Dell

            Is Sprint still soldering the SIMs to the mainboard? If so, there's no point in even considering this for use anywhere else. Even if the radio could be unlocked for domestic use, you wouldn't be able to change the SIM.

          • ProductFRED

            They're not doing it as of late. But they still do domestic SIM lockouts.

        • InfDaMarvel

          If this phone is physically no different than the Sprint version then it can most likely be flashed to Sprint Software and activated over the phone (Just in case there is RW Logo)

      • Tony Fyffe

        I'm sure this version will have a bootloader that can't be unlocked. No flashing to another provider. If you give them the $300, it's your choice to continue service on a month to month basis or not... but I bet the phone won't connect to anyone else's towers.

    • Zack Dunda

      I had RW for a while. You buy the phone with no contract. Then you pay for monthly contracts as long as you want. You can cancel (i.e. not pay the next month) anytime.

  • Evan314

    If it's part of the Wifi-Only plan, can I buy the GSM Moto X... Please?!? :P

    • n0th1ng_r3al

      It's a CDMA phone, it uses Sprint.

      • Evan314

        I realize that. My evil plot would be to buy the phone, get one month of the "Wifi Only Plan" or whatever, cancel and use it on T-Mobile

        • Josh Haug

          Once again It's a CDMA phone, it uses Sprint.

          • Evan314

            Sorry for the confusion, I meant it as a joke.

          • Tony Fyffe

            The radio matters to them because they only have a MVNO contract with Sprint. If they had a similar agreement with a GSM provider, I'm sure they'd give us the option. If you choose a Wi-Fi only plan, they still allow us to change our plan up to twice a month, in case we decide we need access to the CDMA network one month. Otherwise, they could offer a Wi-Fi only phone without any cell radios in it at all.

        • ProductFRED

          Well, you COULD use the Wifi only plan with a GSM Moto X, if three things were to happen:

          1. The hardware is the same. So far, I've read that the modem in RW devices is actually different.

          2. You can flash a Republic Wireless ROM onto a non-RW Moto X.

          3. The GSM Moto X has an ESN, and RW would activate it (they don't, and they won't).

          So the short answer is no.

  • Evan314

    Another question: Why would I pay $5/month when I can just use GV and GroovIP?

    • Zack Dunda

      The wi-fi calling should be better quality through their wi-fi calling service than GroovIP.

    • Alex Chapin

      Also, they have worked out a way to get SMS and MMS (supposedly this is being added with the new plans) to work with your Republic Wireless number. As far as I know GV can't do MMS still. So whether better wi-fi call quality and MMS is worth $5/month is up to you.

      Also, this is, or should be at least, easier to use than working with GV and GroovIP for those that aren't into figuring things out for themselves. Plus getting a Moto X for $300 off contract is pretty nice (at least before knowing more about Nexus 5 specs, features, pricing, and availability).

      • http://www.twitter.com/robertmoreno Robert_M

        GrooveIP call quality is crap. Everyone I ever talked to said my voice sounded distorted.

        • chriscarver

          You aren't kidding

        • Dean Politis

          I haven't experienced the call quality issues so much as when people answer the phone when you make a call, you don't hear them say hello. You just get silence and it feels awkward.

      • Tony Fyffe

        Correct, GV can not do mms.

    • Tony Fyffe

      All of the VOIP apps I've tried are terrible. I can hear the person I'm talking to, because data speed DOWN is great, but they can never hear me because data speed UP is awful. Perhaps by having the wifi calling built in, they can address this issue. For me to successfully talk thru my data plan, I have to use my laptop and gmail/hangouts. I'd pay $5 to have good wifi call quality on my phone.

  • Zack Dunda

    *$40, not $45.

  • Hmax

    I've had Republic Wireless for almost a year. I love it! I've dealt with the Motorola Defy XT all this time cause the price is just amazing. This announcement is so exciting! I've missed having a cool phone!

  • InfDaMarvel

    Am I the only one who wants to know if this thing is going to be locked to Republic wireless or of it will have the ability to work on Sprint and Virgin Mobile since technically they are using the same service?

    • Tony Fyffe

      I bet it's gonna be locked down more tightly than a Verizon phone.

      I still want one. If the 3G data isn't great, I'll just pay the $5 a month and use it on home wifi or on my galaxy nexus's hotspot.

  • Garrett Bridges

    I was excited until I found they only have one phone available (not including the upcoming Moto X, which I'm not too interested in) and they use the Sprint network. They'd make a pile of money if they somehow let people use whatever phone they wanted.

  • Kiltedbear

    Eh, I just bought a Nexus 4 and went to T-mobile for their "bring your own device" service and got unlimited text and data with 100 minutes on 4G for only $30/month. You can do it with any unlocked GSM phone that runs in the spectrums they provide.

  • denpad2010

    how do you refill???

    • Tony Fyffe

      My guess is money.

  • Trevor

    See the thing is, republic is a company who is paving a very competitive future for the big 4 right now. They might come up with their own wifi capabilities but they can never lower the price because they have brick and mortar stores, sponsorships, and the biggest part of your bill which goes into "fluff" advertisements. I love how republic is an honest company backed by another with an A+ with the Better Business Bureau. At first when I saw this ad I thought the moto x model was the dvx which made it so low priced for them. I am so glad I read that incorrectly because this is a 600 dollar phone and easily in the top 5 to 7 on the market. Anyway, I like sprint but not too much. My city had a fireworks accident this year and yea Sprints towers were so jammed my phone failed calling 5 times. I got a text sent over 25 mins later because of the network lag. All I am trying to say is that sprint is great but they're slower because of the high demand for calls and data it requests. Oh and free callbacks to the U.S. from any wifi in the world? plus visual voicemail? F*** Yea!

  • dickywickywilly

    how is sprint here in los angeles cvounty anyway???

  • silverbemr

    Coupon / Promo Code for Republic Wireless $19 off. http://referrals.republicwireless.com/a/clk/1Xfqk4 Sign up and Enjoy.