In the first quarter of 2018 we continued to dedicate our focus toward helping our members achieve a better phone-life balance. While smartphones and connected devices are incredible tools that have made our lives easier in many regards, there’s an increasing societal awareness that these tools can also be detrimental to a healthy lifestyle given their addictive and always-on capabilities. You’ll see in our development that we’re using phone-life balance as a guiding principle… often times explicitly, like with our new Relay product or with helping you block spam calls, but other times more implicitly, like simply making it easier to monitor or purchase more data.
Here’s a quick run-down of some things we’ve worked on delivering this past quarter:
Relay is really what we’re all most excited about! It’s a screen-free, LTE & WiFi-powered walkie-talkie aimed at keeping kids connected and safe. We’ve launched a small beta with some of our members. It’ll be offered more broadly in the near future. This device and service really attack phone-life balance for families with children in a meaningful and truly novel new way. Learn more about this product by joining in the discussion in The Neighborhood our new Relay-focused community.
Spam Call Blocking & WiFi Reminders
Nothing irritates us more than spammers using robo-dialers to bombard our members with “free” cruises, money transfers from long lost uncles and threatening IRS tax collectors who prefer to be paid in Bitcoin. To combat this, we rolled out a new feature in the Republic app allowing users to identify and subsequently block individual numbers from ringing your phone (available for users on My Choice Plans with devices that run Android N (7.0) or higher only). Read more about it here.
We’re also now allowing members to opt-in to notifications that will remind you when you’ve manually turned your WiFi off. It’s a useful feature to help our members save data and ultimately save money!
30 Million Republic verified Hotspots
In late April we announced that we’d partnered with a provider to bring our members FREE access to over 30 Million hotspots nationwide. This feature will be rolling out gradually over the next few weeks through the Play Store within version 3.20 of the Republic App. When enabled, the Republic Wireless App will now automatically connect members to nearby verified WiFi hotspots. Members will have access to both premium networks and curated open networks that meet our standards for good connectivity. This feature is available on our My Choice service plans. Read more about it here.
Free SIMs, Free Shipping, Free Month for BYOP
BYOP is our bring your own phone program, allowing members to buy smartphones from Amazon or other retailers. In March we decided to lower the price of our SIM cards + shipping from $5/ea to FREE. The response was amazing as many members, both new and old, decided to upgrade their phones. In April we made this offer even better by throwing in a FREE month of service for a limited time! You can take advantage of this offer either on our site or within the My Choice plan app.
One-Time Data Purchasing
Since launching one-time data purchases (just $5/GB!) within our My Choice app we’ve seen this type of data purchase double. It’s an economical and easy way to up your monthly amount of data without subscribing to a higher monthly plan. Following our members’ suggestions, we’ll be focusing some energy on making this feature more timely and informative - giving members a better heads up before they run out of data.
Half Off for Teachers
Underpaid, overworked and around children all day long. Teachers are amazing, and earlier this month we decided to reward this amazing group of individuals with an amazing 50% off our My Choice Plan. We’ve kicked off this initiative in Wake County, NC but if you know an amazing teacher anywhere, have them visit and sign-up here and we’ll see what we can do (hint hint).
Samsung S9 and S9+
We were pleased to release the Samsung S9 and Samsung S9+ this past quarter. The Samsung S9 is available on our site for $799 (financing available) and both the S9 and S9+ are both capable of being activated as a BYOP device. These are both world class phones that are highly reviewed.
As always feel free to leave comments to let us know your thoughts.