Low-cost phone service wins high praise

Republic Wireless’ upgraded phone and improved technology is winning plaudits from reviewers.

The new low-cost service that became available this month from the Raleigh-based company ranges from as low as $5 a month to as high as $40 a month for unlimited voice, text and data when you buy Motorola’s Moto X smartphone for $299; no contract is required. It’s a hybrid offering that uses Wi-Fi as its primary network and cellular service provided by Sprint as a backup – with the exception being the new $5 a month plan, which is Wi-Fi only.

The Wall Street Journal’s tech guru, Walt Mossberg, wrote this week that the chief drawbacks of the company’s former offering – a substandard phone, iffy call quality over Wi-Fi and a clumsy transition when the phone switched from Wi-Fi to cellular – have been overcome.

The phone is solid, Wi-Fi phone quality is “very good” and “handing off calls between Wi-Fi and cellular networks is now truly seamless,” Mossberg wrote. “Neither I nor the people with whom I was speaking could detect the millisecond pause when I left Wi-Fi range and the calls switched to Sprint.”

“Republic is offering a clever, modern service on a good smartphone, and is showing that Wi-Fi calls can be as good as cellular ones,” Mossberg concluded.

A reviewer for the Huffington Post also came away impressed.

“I’ve yet to lose a call or conncection and, for some reason, it connects much faster than my iPhone,” the reviewer noted.

“Republic Wireless has ‘stick it to the man’ potential,” the reviewer added. “A terrific phone at a cheap price is going to cut into AT&T and Verizon’s market share.”

Republic’s corporate parent is Raleigh-based Bandwidth. Both businesses operate out of offices on N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus, where most of their employees are based.

Republic previously made its mark with its $19-a-month plan for unlimited talk, text and data and no-contract terms.

Staff writer David Ranii