Republic has just launched a new data only SIM: Republic Wireless is pleased to announce a new Data SIM.
An earlier discussion shared some great ideas for using a data only SIM: Community Challenge 14: How would you use our new Data SIM? Tell us for your chance to win!. Still, it may be helpful to explore what a data only SIM is and does and what it is not and doesn’t do.
What Is a Data Only SIM
A data only SIM is similar to the SIM in a Republic phone in that it provides connectivity to a cellular network but minus the talk and text capabilities. It is used for Internet access when out and about and away from WiFi.
What a Data Only SIM Is Not
- A data only SIM is not a standalone device.
- A data only SIM is not a replacement for the SIM in an active Republic phone as it does not supply phone service (no talk and text).
What Types of Devices Might One Use with a Data Only SIM
A variety of devices might be paired with a data only SIM:
- Standalone mobile hotspot devices (sometimes referred to as a MiFi). These devices use a data only SIM to connect to the cellular network, then provide Internet access to other devices by sharing that connection over WiFi. If contemplating purchase of a standalone hotspot device, I suggest one that supports, at least, 4G LTE Bands, 2, 4 and 12 for the best experience.
- Cellular enabled tablets or laptops. Cellular enabled simply means the tablet and/or laptop has cellular radios built-in like a phone. These might be Android devices but could also be Apple’s iPad, a PC or Google’s Chromebook. The easiest way to tell if the device you own or wish to purchase is cellular enabled; is does it have a SIM slot?
- A spare inactive unlocked GSM phone. Unlike Republic’s blended phone service, in this case, unlocked can mean carrier unlocked or factory unlocked. Because a data only SIM does not provide phone service, all of the typical Republic phone compatibility requirements do not apply.
- Smartwatches or other wearables. A word of caution here. Republic’s data only SIM is exactly that data only. There is no phone service. Using a Republic data SIM in a smartwatch or other wearable device will not enable that device to make and receive calls or send and receive text messages without your Republic phone.
What Are the Device Requirements for Using Republic’s Data Only SIM
- The device must be GSM unlocked.
- The device must support at least some of the following bands (cellular radio frequencies):
- 4G LTE : Bands 2 (1900 MHz), 4 (1700/2100 MHz), 12 (700 MHz), 66 (1700/2100 MHz) 71 (600 MHz)
- 3G : Bands 2 (1900 MHz), 4 (1700/2100 MHz)
- You’ll want to verify Republic’s coverage will work well in your area. To do so, please check Republic’s coverage map linked here. Do not settle for the 30,000 foot overview. Rather, enter the address(es) or zip code(s) where you regularly expect to use the data SIM. Ideally, you’ll see 4G LTE data and strong signal. 3G data and good signal strength might be acceptable, however, if you see talk and text and/or fair signal strength, the data SIM is not a good fit for your area.
- Like the SIMs in Republic phones, the data SIM will not provide any coverage outside the U.S.