Data SIM Q&A with Sarah K

After having such a great discussion with @john.barbacci about our Bring Your Own Phone program, I decided to do the same thing, but on a different topic. We recently launched our new Data SIM, and there have been many great conversations and questions surrounding it. This felt like enough to warrant chatting with Data SIM expert @sarah.k about it - the process, behind the scenes information, and much more. Here’s what we discussed.

Have any questions for Sarah? Reply to this topic! :slight_smile:

If you’re interested in purchasing a Data SIM, click here to learn more.


@sarah.k thanks for taking the time to discuss our new Data SIM with me!

How did the process start for this new Data SIM offering?

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Thanks @swall!

We wanted to address the need for a product that has been historically hard to find at budget-friendly pricing, and with no strings attached. In order to accomplish this, we needed to figure out what exactly that product would look like, and how it would work.

Our ultimate goal is to have our customers (both current Republic members and non-members) tell us what they need, not the other way around. So we set off to learn more about consumer needs, habits, and usage as it relates to data separate of your regular cell service plan. We decided that a fun way to collect this information was to launch a series of “limited time” data-only offerings. Consumer feedback on each of these offers has been invaluable in the process of product refinement - but we are still on this journey, so stay tuned!

How long has Republic Wireless been working on this new offer?

The original concept for a data-only SIM was first thought up in 2017.

What role do you play in the process?

I am the product manager for Data SIM, which means it is my job to develop a product that hits all the right notes:

  • Highly desirable
  • Solves a common problem
  • Is a great value at the right price (aka budget-friendly while also being sustainable for the company).

Who are some people within Republic that you’ve worked with to get Data SIM launched? What are they in charge of?

We have an amazing engineering team here at Republic. They have been integral in helping figure out how to create the pathway to enable us to offer various data-only products that can be flexible and adjusted to fit demand. But no one would know about any of this if it weren’t for the creative and hard-working efforts of our Marketing team. I have worked closely with both of these teams throughout the development of these data-only offerings, and I cannot thank them enough for their contributions.

What learnings can you share from the first Republic Data SIM in December of 2018 that helped to shape this new Data SIM?

One major takeaway we learned is that unlimited does not always equal best. Unlimited certainly has its place, and brings high value for those who really do need it and use it. However, we found that the more common situation is that consumers are overpaying for the security of “unlimited”, when their needs could be perfectly met with less data (and less money). Usage reports from our first offering showed that, on average, data consumption was around 10GB/month. So we created a new offer that more closely matched that need.

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Are there potential plans in the future to change the offering?

From my perspective, the ideal end state would be that we have multiple data-only offers so that folks can choose the version of the product that best meets their needs. That could be varying amounts of data, recurring or one-time use, etc.

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What has your experience been like using a Republic Data SIM? What devices have you used it for?

Life. Saver.

I recently bought a house and anyone who has gone through this process before knows the pain of making changes with your (rigid) internet service provider. My ISP will not provide service to two different addresses unless you have two accounts. This presented a problem when I was halfway living at both places. Data SIM was the perfect solution. We got our internet service all set up at the new house, and used the Data SIM and a hotspot device at the old house. It worked perfectly - supported multiple devices, including laptops, phones, and a Roku box for streaming.

I also carry a data SIM-powered hotspot with me when I travel for the holidays. I have some family in rural areas that only have access to dial-up (yes, those places still exist!), but the GSM coverage is great.

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What is the team hoping to learn with this Data SIM?

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I think we’d like to know - what else do customers want to see with a data-only offering?

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Great! Thanks so much for chatting with me about our new Data SIM @sarahk. It’s great to pull back the curtain and show all of the hard work that goes into a product offering like this. As a reminder, if you have some questions for Sarah, please feel free to reply. Especially regarding her last question for you all! Let us know what else you’d be interested in seeing with a data-only offering :slight_smile:

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As mentioned above, Recurring would be killer for me.

I left RW for Google Fi in part because of how they handle data sims; no additional monthly cost, just takes from the same pool of data your phone uses. I barely use my ipad on cellular, but in a pinch, it’s clutch.

None of the situations I have used my tablet for on cellular would have justified the $60/30 day option, I actually think that can be a good deal for specific use cases, but it’s just so inconvenient for any spur of the moment uses. I would love for more options, something recurring, hopefully similar to what google fi offers.

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So, what type of hot spot would work with this? I’ve recently purchased a Mifi 8800L, but I think that works only with CDMA sim cards?

Sarah, I’m not sure what it would take for Republic technically and financially to offer a data Sim that let’s one choose between varying amount of gigs in a given month and a SIM card that could be reused with whatever frequency the customer finds most useful, but those two features would for me be necessary in the way that I use data to make the offering really viable.
Hoping we can see such a long those lines soon.

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