What a Data SIM Is (and What It Is Not)

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.
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Republic hasn’t specifically identified who the cellular network partner providing coverage for its forthcoming data SIM is, however, I believe it’s possible to read the tea leaves.

First, Republic historically has no partnership with Verizon. That’s not to say such a partnership might not happen one day but currently such a partnership, to the best of my knowledge, does not exist.

Second, Republic has mentioned the need for devices using its forthcoming data SIM to be GSM unlocked. Verizon is known as a CDMA rather than a GSM operator.

Third, Republic staff and I are pointing folks to its existing coverage map linked here: Cell Phone Coverage Map – Republic Wireless. That map shows existing partner coverage and Verizon is not an existing partner.

Based on the above, I conclude Verizon will not be the partner providing coverage for Republic’s forthcoming data SIM.

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Thanks for your information.

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Do you have to use all the data with-in 30 days?

Hi @timp.f4fs6a and welcome to the Community!

Yes 30 days after activation, any remaining data on the SIM expires and the SIM must be replaced.

when does the 30 days start?

the 30 days will start when you activated the SIM on-line after you have it in hand (the SIM ICCID number is need to activate)
Instructions to activate should be arriving with the SIM

Hi @david86426,

You may find this helpful:

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Okay, I’m confused. Are you saying we have to buy a new data Sim each time, or can we simply reload the one we have? I would prefer to have more than one data option. $60 for a data Sim that’s only good for 30 days doesn’t work for my purposes. Perhaps offer a 5gb Sim for $30. Another option would be to make the $60 plan last 60 days. I have a ZTE Hotspot that I only use when I go camping. I don’t get to camp more than one weekend in a 30 day period so $60 for a 3 day trip just isn’t worth it. I think there are a lot of bugs that need to be ironed out to make this any use to me.

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Hi @michaelb.rfag0f and welcome to the Community!

Currently, yes.

Currently, no.

This is an initial not necessarily a final data SIM iteration. Republic will likely see it here but would very much appreciate your feedback regarding what would make a data SIM work for you here: Republic Wireless is pleased to announce a new Data SIM.

Is it possible to have such a “new Data SIM” handle both GSM and CDMA on the same card?

Hi @johnk.mhomwy,

No, Republic’s data only SIM is GSM only.

I have been a Republic Wireless customer for over 5 years. My phone has a CDMA card, as does my wife’s. ‘ just wondering why a single card isn’t set up to handle both/ either.

since the 30 day start when I activate it then if I buy one now but dont activate until Like Dec. 2019 when I may need it the 30 days will start on the day I activate, Right?

that is correct the data starts when you activate it

I’m not convinced that this is a very good deal. Seems to be another ■■■■, with not being able to reload and no Verizon network added.
Sorry, Republic, but I think you missed the mark with this.
Other than this, I have zero complaints with Republic and a happy customer.

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Hi @johnk.mhomwy,

Generally, a data SIM isn’t intended for use in a phone as it provides no phone service just cell data for Internet access.

Other than Google Fi (and I don’t believe this applies to Fi’s data only SIM), no one has developed a single SIM that operates on multiple cellular networks simultaneously. GSM cellular networks use GSM SIMs. CDMA networks use CDMA SIMs.

Correct. The Fi data only SIM is T-Mobile only as the network.

I am looking to add a hotspot to my phone coverage. If I cant get what I need here, I may have to switch to Sprint for both phone and data. I’ll pay more for phone service, but what looks like about a total of $70 per month for a data sim in addition to a phone sim. If this $30 deal is only for the first month, there’s no comparison.

$4.00*$4.00*** to mail a letter with a sim card in it is a little outragous

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