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Summary:

After a year and countless waves of beta trials, Republic Wireless is finally swinging open the doors for a commercial launch. New customers can now order its latest Motorola smartphone from its Website and sign up for its dirt-cheap $19 unlimited everything plans.

Motorola DefyXT Republic Wireless

Bandwidth.com’s innovative virtual mobile carrier Republic Wireless is coming out of beta just in time for the holidays. In a blog post Monday, Republic GM and EVP Jim Mulcahy said the carrier is doing away with the waiting list and opening its online store where anyone can sign up for carrier’s $19-a-month unlimited voice, text and data plans.

Republic is trying to challenge the conventional pricing notions for mobile minutes, messages and megabytes by making heavy use of Wi-Fi. Republic is one of Sprint’s many mobile virtual networks operators (MVNOS), relying on its 2G and 3G networks for its backbone service. But wherever possible, Republic phones switch over to Wi-Fi to connect phone calls and offload Internet-bound traffic, which — theoretically at least — allows Republic to offset the large majority of its network costs.

Republic launched a year ago, but it has only let new customers, which it calls members, on board in a series of five waves as it tinkered with its business model. Starting now, though Republic is accepting pre-orders for its newest phone, the Motorla Defy XT, which will begin shipping in mid-December. The Android smartphone costs $259 and includes shipping and Republic’s $10 one-time membership fee. Current beta customers will also get access to the new Moto handset through a trade-ins or upgrades.

  1. It’s hard to image this working as the only phone available is an android 2.3 phone. Not very impressive for $259.00

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  2. This would be a slam dunk if users were able to “bring their own device” and install software to work with the service. Limiting options to one older phone will make it difficult for Republic to differentiate itself from pre-paid offerings.

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  3. PAY ATTENTION HERE VERIZON!!

    And get your ACT together!

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  4. It supports ONLY VOICE CALLS over wifi. Everything else is delivered by Sprint ONLY. If you’re outside of the Sprint coverage but still have WiFi, forget about using text messaging as it won’t work. You still have voice coverage through the wifi as well as data over wifi. They have a very large bloated business management staff. Oh and a nice ex-JAG attorney running the show. Unfortunately, they’re really off to a bad start with this interface. Their technical skills are lacking. Yes, the service is cheap and you will get what you pay for.

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    1. Thanks to continued development and a recent OTA, RepublicWireless now has pretty robust SMS and voice, the former works with WiFi as well as cell network, the latter has an expanded footprint thanks to the cross agreement between Sprint and VZW. While the service is (not yet) for everyone, it definitely will appeal to a diverse crowd — first adopters, bargain hunters, and perhaps even geeks. These are folks that blaze a trail for everyone else to learn from and perhaps follow. Bloated? I’ve no idea but the market will definitely provide the conclusive answer. I say “You go RepublicWireless, let’s see what happens!”

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  5. The Defy XT in the beta wave was a single-band radio which only worked on Sprint. They replaced mine for free with a new dual-band which roams across CDMA networks. That is the model they are using for new customers as well.

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  6. I myself am impressed. I have a few hacker friends and the most of them know about the phone in question. They are rootable, which makes the phone performe much better. It is compaired to the zte warp. Good work! Hope to see more options from this.

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