Today, we announced a host of breakthrough products at Republic Wireless: new phones, a new carrier partner, and an all new software architecture that enables fast updates to your phones. In the next couple weeks, we’ll unveil one last piece of the puzzle - new plans. That’s right; we have new plans that push savings even further and they’ll be available with every new phone we’ve announced today. I know this brings up lots of questions, which we’ll answer in detail in the next couple weeks, but here are some of the basics to set your mind at ease:
- You** Keep What You Have: **We focused on ensuring that everyone could keep the plan and phone they have today (if you want to keep them). So, even though we have new plans to offer that we’re very excited about, we won’t be dropping support for existing customers’ plans on existing service lines, including continuing to sell today’s plans on our current portfolio of Moto E and G devices. That’s one of the reasons we recently extended our Republic Wireless 1.0 $25 and $40 plans for our members.
- New** Plans Will Be Savings Simplified:** For example, one of our plans will be Unlimited Talk & Text + 1GB of LTE data for just $20. This single plan fits most of our members needs and as we look across the market, we don’t see anywhere else you can find this deal. Yeah, we’re excited about that one too!
- All New Everything: new Network, new software, new phones means lots of changes. Our new plans are designed to complement all these new features and deliver even more savings to you, our members.
We’re still putting the finishing touches on the details of the new plans, but here’s the inside story of how these plans came together.
Since we launched back in 2011, we’ve been iterating on our plans to deliver the most value to customers using our technology. We started with the $19 plan, then followed with a new lineup including our $10 and $25 plans. The latest version, our Refund Plans, was introduced in July 2015. Refund Plans are based on the premise that you should only pay for the cell data you use. It eschewed the practice of “breakage” by giving you a refund for any data left over at the end of the month. It’s been almost a year since launching Refund Plans, and to say the least, we’ve gotten lots of feedback. Refund Plans were new and unlike other carrier plans - we got some good feedback, and some not so good feedback. Here’s the summary:
When customers used Refund Plans, they had some great things to say:
- "Whoa,** my bill is only $13.83!” **That’s right, customer bills are reaching all time lows with Refund plans. (The average customer bill was $13.83 last month)
- **"I use data only when I need it.” **We built data controls right into our phones, since we controlled the ROM-level software. This gave our members the power to use data just when they needed it, and turn it off when they didn’t. 68% of Refund customers said they relied on these controls - this led to huge savings.
- "I tell everyone I know about the Refund Plans.” We monitor referral activity and our members on Refund plans report some of the highest satisfaction and referral rates (57% Net Promoter Score, which is really good). These folks love the savings of Refunds, and can’t wait to tell others about it.
- And,** we’ve already refunded over $3.4 million** in unused cellular data since launching Refund Plans last July - earning us a near perfect score (a 9.8!) in PC Mag’s Reader’s Choice Awards for satisfaction with plan costs.
Others, who chose not to switch, were very skeptical:
"Whoa,** that looks expensive!” **In comparison to competitor plans that offer lots of data, you told us that the plans “look” expensive, and we agree. I say “look” because these comparisons don’t factor in the Refund component of the plan. They simply say “$55 for 3GB? I can get 3GB for $40 at T-Mobile.” Refunds do matter, though; in fact, we are finding that customers use only about 50% of the data they buy from us, so the refunds add up to real savings. However, although Refund Plans are saving many customers money (the average bill is below $15), the fact that they may “look” more expensive turns a lot of people off.
"I** need more data!”** Although Republic customers, on average, use less cell data than others (because of our built-in WiFi offloading technology), we still find that a majority of customers want more cell data…period. The anxiety of running out of data is a driving force for many of the customers who have told us they value the security of more data over getting refunds.
"I don’t want to think about it.” Thinking about your cell data usage, how much you have and how much you need, doesn’t interest most people - it’s too much complexity. In fact, most people we talked to prefer predictable bills - Refund Plans make them uneasy, knowing that each time they use cell data, their refund gets smaller and they’re closer to running out.
Building Plans for the Future of Republic
Refund Plans have succeeded in delivering savings and putting customers in control - but we knew they had shortcomings. They are too complex, and make it hard for most people (no matter how much data you want) to see the value they can provide. We took in all this feedback and asked ourselves what we always do: “What are the best plans we can offer our members right now?” We knew we had to simplify the savings. We knew we had to give more people more data because having to explain a complicated plan structure shouldn’t be a part of the conversation when telling others about the awesomeness that is Republic.
Today’s market is dominated by carriers pitching larger and larger amounts of data. That said, you don’t see too many competitors actually reducing prices; they are just packing more and more into bigger, more expensive plans. This…this is where we see an opportunity - an opportunity to keep things simple but deliver incredible savings. You’ll find our new plans will look more like a traditional structure, with two important differences: (1) The price; our new plans offer 60% savings versus comparable plans from the Big 41; and (2) No tricks, overages or gotchas; we’ve kept contracts and hidden fees out of our offerings from the beginning, and we will continue to do so!
There will be more details about plans in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, there will be more late nights (just like back in 2015), getting ready for the biggest launch in Republic history - another beginning.
1Savings compared to VZW 1GB plan is $30 for 1GB + $20 for service line = $50 (pulled 5/10/16).
Please feel free to leave your questions and comments here.