I’ve been with Republic for 5 years now, so am an early user myself (starting with a Defy XT during the beta phase), and have had phones now on the legacy 1.0 plan, the Refund plan, and the Choice plans.
I guess I don’t see encouraging people to check out the new plans as being deceptive (or even implying that it’s definitely cheaper), especially since they clearly state that nothing is changing for legacy phone users. But, I understand that it may feel that way to you.
You make a good point about marketing and messaging and the fact that some of the long-timers may respond better to a different approach.
I don’t think it’s quite as simple as saying that the new plans are only better for those who spend at least $20/month, though, as there are other factors as well that people consider when comparing one option versus another.
Everyone should look very carefully at their own month-to-month usage patterns to make sure they are comparing apples and oranges (e.g., total up your data use from the past year, noting if you’ve ever exceeded 1GB of data use).
In reality, the $20 ($18 with a beta discount) 1GB plan works essentially the same for me as did the unlimited $19 Defy XT plan in terms of cost, although light years ahead of it in terms of data speed and phone features. The increase over what I would be paying on a Refund plan is minimal, as I typically used between .5 and 1.0GB/month.
There is still a personal incentive to conserve data use with the new phones; I know that I remain very careful about using cell data, even if I don’t track every KB.
Sorry, Republic. I’m with many of the other commenters here. I’ve been a subscriber for two years now, and what matters to me most is total cost of ownership. New features/apps on other platforms/new hardware/etc are all secondary for me. The number of dollars I pay each month is primary.
I’m switching to another MVNO in the next couple days. Just bought a SIM, and I’ll get more data each month while spending considerably less money. I’m an adherent to the “Wifi First” mentality that you founded the company on, and I really don’t need more data (I have been on the $20 per month 1GB plan, and don’t use nearly half). However, I do feel foolish skimping on data all the time, when I can spend less and get twice as much.
I’ll continue to keep an eye on what RW is doing, and I appreciate that you’re making changes like these, but I do miss the Refund plans and the option of a $5 per month wifi-only plan. If you’re able to make some changes, and refocus on delivering an outstanding value alternative in the mobile space, I’ll be back with bells on.
he researched the market perhaps as a result of the My Choice announcement
he found that another MVNO provides 2GB of data for less than the $20/mo total cost on My/Clear Choice plans
there is a particular company i’ve seen mentioned around here once or twice with a $15/mo plan i think he may be talking about. it’s worth noting a few key differences (i’ll phrase them as pro and con with respect to Republic and hope that this info is useful to @mikec.w8hw7t):
PRO RW (con for the other guys):
pro: the other guys don’t do domestic roaming. check the coverage maps: where Republic has talk&text the other guys are just vacant. looks like the same backbone network otherwise though.
pro: the other guys offer GSM only; no CDMA for those who might need/prefer it (i loathe CDMA myself, but if you need it, you need it)
pro: as usual for Republic, if you don’t have good cell service indoors the WiFi service can still be fantastic (one of my main reasons for joining back in Nov 2011!)
CON RW (pro the other guys)
con: the other guys really are cheaper per month; 10GB/mo for $25? yowzers they can’t expect many to actually use up that data or they’ll go out of business!
con: after you use up your data it looks like you get low-speed data for nothing?
con: you can buy international roaming as an add-on package. pricing info is hard to understand; they list 3 prices without clarifying what those prices are for (you have to log in to an account to see more details, so i can’t find out without joining them). still - international cell coverage for a fee when you want it. sounds potentially useful.
i see several reasons to pick RW over the other guys, and several to pick the other guys over RW. no single carrier will be the best for every single person under the sun. for me, personally, domestic roaming and hybrid (wifi+cell) service matters - so RW is worth more to me than the other guys would be. i’m sure that’s not the case for everyone, but again no one carrier has to be perfect for all customers.
I’m on the $20 per month plan with Republic (1GB), and my new MintSim plan is $15 per month for 2GB.
MintSim also has an intro deal where you get 6 months of coverage for the cost of 3, so for the next 6 months I’m paying $7.50 per month for 2GB of data and unlimited talk and text. It’s also on T-Mobile’s network, so it’s the same quality reception and speed.
The new Republic plan doesn’t make it more expensive for me, but it doesn’t help Republic compete with other low cost MVNO providers. I’ve seen a lot of disappointment from Republic customers who are frustrated that this company began as a leader in low cost wireless, and now seems focused on more and flashy features as opposed to providing a great value proposition.
Republic is still much better than Verizon or the other big players, but they’re getting beaten handily by MintSim and some other low cost MVNO’s.
How long do you have to commit (prepay) to MintSIM for and what happens after the promotional pricing expires? Certainly if you’re shopping on price, Republic can be beat. If you’re shopping on value, and things like one-month prepay, wifi calling, domestic talk/text roaming, or republic anywhere features are at all important to you, then Republic is hard to beat.
I agree, there are some trade offs. And I’m not sure the coverage will be exactly the same. They do have WiFi calling for certain Android phones, but I’m not sure how well it works.
The international piece isn’t a big deal for me, although it’s nice to know it’s there.
You’re right, not everyone is well served by the same plan or company. Just a bummer that I felt like RW was a perfect fit for me for a while, and now they aren’t. When I can get double the data for almost a third the cash…I’m willing to give it a shot.
Who knows, maybe it’ll suck, and I’ll be back with RW in 6 months!?!
Make certain to exercise that coverage for 7 days. Unless something has changed, you’re committed to 3, 6 or 12 months after that. No prorated refund if things change after 7 days and you decide to leave.
As I respond to this, I want to say upfront: although I’ve been with 7 carriers in the last 6-7 years or so, I’ve been biased towards liking Republic Wireless the best (so far). Also, I’ve never used MintSim before; I’ve done just a little bit of research on the company, and most of that happened this evening. Even though I’ve expressed my opinions below that definitely are in favor of Republic Wireless, who knows, maybe I will still try out MintSim one day.
Thanks for letting us know where you’re going. Please reply to me (@aFloridian) on this thread or another thread after daily using MintSim for 3 months and let us know what your review of MintSim is. There are pluses and minuses to every carrier. When I’ve switched to a new carrier, I’ve tried to give them at least about 30 days before I feel like I understand what their coverage and overall service is like by experience. I’m writing this response with no intention for trying to convince you to stay with Republic Wireless. I’ve personally exercised my right many times to change carriers, so I understand the desire to test the waters of other cellphone companies. I also appreciate the fact that you have made a decision on going to a provider that you deem will benefit you more than Republic Wireless.
Also, you might want to make sure that the unlocked phone that you take to MintSim can do wifi calling on its network so that can extend your coverage with them.
If I take the deal at face value, it really does look very appealing. I can definitely see why you are switching to MintSim.
I’m no phone plan prophet, but I predict that this price is going to go up after MintSim’s promotional period ends. It seems like many carriers–including Republic Wireless–have had promotional pricing to establish a customer base. But then those prices disappear, and their actual prices are listed.
I personally don’t see MintSim’s prices as sustainable long term because:
They don’t rely heavily on wifi calling like Republic Wireless does.
They’re leasing the usage of T-mobile’s towers.
According to Republic Wireless’ CEO, Chris Chuang, cellular is a 2nd tier network for Republic Wireless. He explained that Republic Wireless customers use wifi to make calls 53% of the time. Republic Wireless’ wifi first innovation is what has enabled them to pass on savings to their customers long term. Because of this, they’re not totally dependent on their leasing partners on the CDMA or GSM side to make calls. Since MintSim doesn’t have a wifi first calling strategy, and not all of the phones that are on its network use wifi calling, I predict when the promotional period ends, customers are going to have to eat MintSim’s T-mobile leasing costs more and more.
I don’t know if you’re saying that MintSim has the same quality and reception as T-mobile or Republic Wireless on the GSM side. Either way, I don’t believe that will be the case.
For example, Cricket Wireless is an MVNO of AT&T, and it uses AT&T towers. However, when you really do the research on Cricket, AT&T is still the stronger brand because Cricket doesn’t have access to AT&T’s roaming partners. I believe that most likely is same for MintSim. They might be using T-mobile’s towers, but I believe T-mobile still is the stronger brand. Also, Republic Wireless includes voice roaming, which I don’t believe MintSim does.
As with probably every carrier, MintSim says on their website: “Actual availability, coverage, and speed may vary.” I interpret that to mean that you’ll really know the quality and reception of MintSim after you use it daily for at least 30 days in various settings: home, work, traveling, inside, outside, and etc.
It’s my personal belief that some members don’t actually see the value in Republic Wireless, which has caused them frustration. “Why can’t Republic Wireless be as low cost as MintSim or [insert carrier]? Republic Wireless should be cheaper than MintSim or [insert carrier] if it wants to survive!” is the cry of people I believe I’m hearing based on the comments I’ve been reading.
It appears that you view Republic Wireless right now as only a “low cost wireless” provider. During their promotional period, MintSim seems to offer their services for less cost, and so they have a greater value proposition to you. I think time will tell whether you still believe Republic Wireless’ only value proposition is low cost.
According to the MashTalk interview I heard with Chris Chuang, Republic Wireless has hundreds of thousands of customers with a very small turnover rate (which wasn’t disclosed). Since MintSim is new, I have no idea how well they’re doing. Also, will it continue to attract customers when its promotional period ends? Time will tell.
Yes, I still have my defy XT (a phone that I dropped from a bicycle not once but twice while riding a bike in Manhattan and all it got was a couple of nicks on it–I really hated giving up that phone). With my Moto G, a couple of days from my monthly bill I have 486MB of 512MB left, and that’s pretty typical. And I’m traveling right now. But as soon as I got to the hotel I logged onto their wifi, and now at the restaurant I’m logged onto their wifi. I’ve never gone below 400MB and I doubt that I’ve ever gone below 450MB. It would just be nice to know that those of us who adhered to RW’s early philosophy are still valued.
In the past, RW was all about rewarding those who use less data by allowing them to save money. Now it’s the ones who use more data who save the money. As a business strategy to maximize profits, they’ve certainly made the right decision. If you have to choose a group to please, choose the customer demographic (current, but more importantly, prospective) that gives you the highest profits, right? RW has switched their strategy recently, and for them, it’s probably a good decision. As long as they can work out the persistent bugs that the “average” customer likely won’t put up with, the loss of their less affluent customers won’t hurt their bottom line.
But for legacy customers who have been willing to put up with the functionality issues for lower charges, we will just have to keep shopping around. I’m going to try to stick with it as long as I can, with all the frustrations of used phones, but eventually I’ll cave in and, like you, switch to a different provider. It seems like there are several less expensive providers out there for those who are willing to take a gamble. The willingness to take a gamble was the whole reason people were with RW in the first place, so I’m sure we will move on to greener pastures.
This is a very insightful post. RW appears to be moving on from the extremely low margin customers they have attracted in the past. Painful for the customers left behind but necessary to grow the business. Change can be difficult.