A few years ago Republic Wireless launched a cellular service offering unlimited talk, text, and data for as little as $19 per month thanks to a unique (at the time) system that routes your calls and messages over WiFi whenever you’re near a hotspot.
Now the company is killing off its unlimited plan… but that could actually save you money in some situations. That’s because Republic Wireless is now offering a plan that will refund you for data you don’t use each month.
Here’s how it works: you sign up for a new Republic Wireless plan and pay $10 for the base plan which includes unlimited talk and text on the cellular network. Then add $7.50 for each 500MB of cellular data you think you’ll need.
Only use 300MB of mobile data? Republic Wireless will refund you $3 at the end of the month. That means your bill payment will only come to about $14.50 for that month.
During a trial of the new Republic Refund plan, the average participant paid just $14.78 per month.
Of course if you’re not average, you might use a lot more than 300MB of data each month and you could end up paying a lot more under the new plan that you would have under Republic’s original unlimited offering. In that case, you might be better off looking at alternatives including:
- Cricket Wireless (Data plans starting at $35 per month for 2.5GB of data)
- Virgin Mobile (Data plans start at $35 per month)
- Straight Talk ($45 per month for up to 5GB of data)
- Ting (Design your own plan)
If you expect to use less than 1GB of data per month, most of those alternatives will still be more expensive than Ting. But at least you won’t have to deal with a hybrid WiFi + cellular network.
Interestingly, Republic’s new Refund plan looks a lot like Google’s Project Fi plan. Google’s experimental phone network also combines WiFi and cellular connectivity and refunds customers for unused cellular data.
Project Fi prices start at $20 per month for talk and text. Mobile data costs $10 per GB. That means Republic Wireless is cheaper for folks who use 1.5GB or less per month ($32.50) or the same price as Google Fi if you use 2GB per month ($40). But once you hit 3GB per month, Google Fi is cheaper ($50 for Fi or $55 for Republic).