Sprint prepaid MVNO Republic Wireless shook up the prepaid market a few years ago when it introduced ridiculously cheap unlimited wireless service, including talk, text, and data, for only $19 per month. The idea was that its customers could call and text over WiFi, and as long as everyone used WiFi whenever possible – and the cellular network was only strictly a backup – the carrier could keep prices down and not have to meter people’s usage.
Apparently, that business model stopped being profitable.
Starting now, new customers who sign up start with a $10 base plan that includes unlimited talk and text on WiFi or cellular. You then pick a data plan that starts at $7.50 for 500MB and goes all the way up to $45 for 3GB. (It’s $15 per gig.) Overages will be charged at $15/GB.
Like Google’s Project Fi, Republic will also refund you for the cost of any data you don’t use. That would be great, but the problem here is that data on Republic is 50% more expensive than on Fi, and you are restricted to the Sprint network. (Fi also gives you access to T-Mobile at the same time.)
In other words, Republic Wireless is no longer revolutionary, and compared to Fi, it’s not really a good deal anymore, either. Too bad … another unlimited plan bites the dust.[Republic Wireless]