That was when Republic reduced the price of cell data to $5/GB for all data plans. (Thanks!)
I’ll also mention that Republic has not otherwise changed the cost of plans for existing phones. So, if you purchased one of the legacy phones (as long ago as 2012), the cost of your legacy plan is exactly the same now as it was when you first activated the plan (not including changes in taxes/fees, which Republic does not control). If you activate a legacy phone today, you will still pay the same cost for the Refund plan as when it was first introduced all those years ago. (In fact, there are still customers using the Defy XT who remain on the $19 unlimited plan introduced in 2012 during the beta stage.)
The unlocked phones (introduced in July 2016) require a different plan than those created for the legacy models (those older phones have a specially modified operating system that prevents them from being used with other carriers; the unlocked phones instead work through the Republic app).
Here is what Republic had to say about that back in 2016:
“Republic Wireless Clear Choice plans are an entirely new offer and have tons of new features like a wider range of phones, more timely phone launches, faster Android updates, and a Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) experience. With these features, we’ve also made changes to price points.”
Whether one agrees that this added value is worth the cost of the Choice plan is up to each individual user. (Clearly most people do, but Republic has always understood that different customers have different needs, and that the service isn’t the best match for every potential user.)