Data Only Plan: Feedback Requested!

We’re considering offering a data-only plan and we’d like your feedback on how interested you’d be in this offering and how, if at all, you might use it. In a nutshell, the data-only plan would allow you, as a member of Republic Wireless, to order and insert a free data-only SIM card in any connected device of your choice. This could be a spare smartphone or tablet that has a SIM card slot, and could be any iOS or Android device. It would provide cellular data coverage on our nationwide GSM network - so you are connected while out and about. It may also include access to Republic verified WiFi hotspots to help keep you connected, while saving you money.

We’re considering two potential offers:

  1. Pay-as-you-go data access priced at $5/GB per month, similar to our existing My Choice plans.

  2. A 10GB package priced as low as $30 per month, providing you more value for your money.

Both these offers would initially only be available to members who also subscribe to our My Choice plan (starting at $15/month for basic Talk & Text).

We see a lot of different ways this data-only SIM could be put to use, but wanted to learn more about how you might use it. To get the conversation started, we considered:

  • Smartphones: Data-centric users might not be interested in traditional talk & text on their phone, and may only want to use over-the-top communication apps like, ahem, Republic Anywhere or WhatsApp.

  • Wearables: Data-connected watches, fitness tracker and other devices that have accessible SIM card slots.

  • Tablets: Data-enabled larger devices for use on the go.

We’re not committed to building and offering this product…but if we did, what would you think about it? If you’re on a legacy plan, would this encourage you to upgrade? Let us know. Thanks!


It would certainly interest me. Data limits? 10GB per month not enough.


If I understand you correctly one could put this SIM in a spare smart phone and configure it as a WiFi hotspot. By doing this a person with Sprint coverage could take advantage of T-Mobile’s superior coverage in the boondocks by making WiFi calls from their car. Would this SIM work in the Legacy models like the Moto X (2nd Gen).

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While I can’t say for sure because I don’t know, I’ll say for sure, no.

Who knows. When the Moto X (1st Gen) was first delivered by RW I had access to its GSM radio for a few weeks.

Yes and then a system update patched that. Do you think Republic is going to get Moto to release a system update to unlock the capability so that a GSM SIM card can be used in a 4 year old phone?

Well, back on track… I think the plan is a great idea and I’d likely pick-up such a SIM to use in an old Nexus 5X I have a in a drawer especially if it is easy to turn on/off on the months that it would be useful.

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Interesting. Project Fi has this kinda thing as well I have read. Though, their Data only SIM is bundled/shared with your regular plan data usage, not charged separately.

Personally, I don’t really have or see a need for a data only sim for me.
If i need Internet access on my tablet or laptop, I just use tether via hotspot or USB from my phone itself.

Although, if i had access to one, I guess would just put it in my secondary/backup phone, since my Asus Transformerbook tablet does not have a SIM slot.

But I can certainly understand how others could make use of this kinda thing.

This idea brings to my mind another idea, why not offer/sell a low priced “hotspot device” that can make use of such a data only SIM. Not everyone would have a second device that takes a SIM. Though u can buy other devices that take SIM such as car hotspot tings that plug into your cars diag port. Or standalone, mini router like things that are cellular hotspots. Some high end consumer routers can take a SIM card and use that as a fall back connection.


I have a data-only SIM that I use with Project Fi. It’s installed in a rather cheap phone. I use it for a couple purposes:

  1. In the spring/summer I use it in my RV as a hotspot so we have some internet access for non-cellular devices.

  2. The rest of the time I use it as a secondary phone with Google Hangouts/Hangouts Dialer when I’m doing activities that are at a higher risk of potential phone destruction (running, cycling, fishing, etc…).

I think it’s a great idea, but no, it would not encourage me to upgrade from a legacy plan. The legacy plan I have is for my mother in-law’s phone, and it works well enough.

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I would be interested if the SIM worked in a mobile hotspot. (I currently use a ZTE which is branded Tracfone, and pay $10/GB.)

I would use this as a shared WiFi hotspot with other family members, as a second phone with the same number via the anywhere app, and as a backup for times that cable may go out. For those times, the ability to add data by the GB or bundled GB would be great.

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As outlined, there’s no reason a Republic data only SIM wouldn’t work in your ZTE branded hotspot, so long as it’s GSM. There would be no WiFi/cell blended service as with Republic phones, so a hardware compatible device would be sufficient.

Potentially, I’d be very interested. I’m currently using a grandfathered T-Mobile plan which provides 100 minutes of talk, unlimited text messaging and 5 GB of LTE data for $30/month on my iPhone. Obviously for voice, I’m largely using OTT VoIP apps and look forward to adding Anywhere to that repertoire, though calling has yet to make it to the iOS beta. :hint: I do like having a native number on the iPhone for use with Apple’s iMessage, however, one may also use an email address to exchange iMessages, so not necessarily a deal breaker.

Frankly, it’s already occurred to me that a data only SIM + Anywhere = iPhone support of sorts for Republic. Transitioning from WiFi to cell data and back during an OTT call (mimicking Republic’s handoff on its phones) might be a challenge but Bonded Calling already blends WiFi and cell data packets, so, perhaps, not an insurmountable one. There would be other caveats with this approach. The level of integration wouldn’t be the same as what members are accustomed to on Android phones. Apple’s CallKit APIs make it possible for VoIP apps to integrate with an iPhone’s native dialer to an extent. One can receive OTT VoIP calls very much as if they were being made to a native iPhone number. Making calls less so. One may use the native iOS Contacts or Phone apps to make calls via OTT VoIP apps for saved contacts but dialing a number requires doing so via the OTT VoIP app itself.

Interesting. It also occurs to me if this price point were sustainable, why not offer it to members wanting to use more cell data on their Republic phones? There are caveats here as well. A Republic phone might be using CDMA rather than GSM. Having a separate price point for Republic phones using GSM as opposed to CDMA would add undesirable complexity to plan offerings.


@PlaneTherapist We’ve explored higher amounts or increasing the cap on the $5/GB plan to a higher amount. What kind of usage were you imagining that would need higher data amounts?

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Unfortunately we wouldn’t be able to support legacy RW devices - but we would support any unlocked GSM device (including hotspots).

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Would this Data Only option be its own independent thing… in that a new user could only have this?

Or would it be like Fi , in that u have to have a main account with a normal SIM inorder to get a data only SIM.

If this is its own thing, and u dont have to have a normal SIM, then people could just use free VOIP apps like Google Voice or similar for calls/texts. They would not have a R.W. number or cell (phone) service, just LTE Data only. I am not sure how much data such apps use for calls and texts, but I would think that $5 for 1GB per month would be enough fro the low to mid talk user. They could still wifi alot and still make and get calls via wifi and LTE…but again, it would be through 3rd party apps. So that might make it a bit of a pain when folks have issues, and come to R.W. support for help, and they say sorry, not our app or service.

At least, not initially.

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It would be nice as I have a GSM phone that I purchased to use outside of the US with pre-paid SIMs, that I could use as a hotspot with a data only plan, but as I am still grandfathered on your earlier plan, it would not help me. I have no desire to move to any of your newer plans as with my current RW plan, I can downgrade immediately to a WIFI only plan for $5 per month whenever I’m outside the country, and still use my Moto G3 phone for text and calls to/from the US over WIFI. You just don’t offer that on any newer plans. If you opened it up to any RW customer, then I would look into it.

I would be interested.

I would have no interest.

Is that $10 per month, or does it roll over? When I add data on tracfone, it rolls over, so that $10/gb can stretch over multiple months – only for the low data user of course.

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