NOTE: This post is kinda outdated because I wrote it in Dec 2013. So after you read this post, I would recommend checking out this page to get more current info about RW!
It’s been a little over a week since I got my Republic Wireless Moto X, so I figure it is about time to give you my initial thoughts.
For those who don’t know about Republic Wireless [let’s call it RW, ain't no one got time to type that whole thing out (please say you get that joke)], I’ll give you a brief rundown. RW creates phones that can operate through wireless internet signal AND cell signal. This means that when you are in a place that has wifi (such as your home), everything you do on the phone will go through your wifi. When you are in a place without wifi, you’ll use Sprint cell coverage and 3G (or 4G, if you buy that package) data.
RW realizes that most people are near a wifi signal for most of their day, so by using that pre-established connection, it cuts down on costs. And lower costs mean that they can pass the savings along to their customers!
RW has two phones available right now: the Motorola Defy and the Moto X. I’ve read reviews where people say you can’t move from an iPhone down to the Defy- you’ll want to chuck it out a window since it’s so slow, compared to the iPhone. So I went with the Moto X for $299. It’s a little pricey, especially after seeing all those Black Friday deals where you could buy a new smartphone at Verizon for $0.99. BUT... I’m saving $55/mo on the plan so the initial cost of the phone will be paid off in about 6 months and then I’ll be pocketing the savings :) .
Speaking of plans, there are 4 monthly plan options with the Moto X:
$5-- you can only call/text/use data when you have a wifi connection. If you venture outside a wifi signal, you can’t do anything.
$10-- you get unlimited cell signal (talk and text) everywhere, but no data package. You can only use internet when you’re in wifi range.
$25-- unlimited cell and unlimited 3G data, no matter where you are
$40-- unlimited cell and unlimited 4G data, no matter where you are (although I don’t think 4G is everywhere? So I guess in that case it’d be 3G)
I decided to purchase the $10/mo plan. So far I really like it! I spend most of my time at home, so I’m almost always in wifi range. And when I’m away from the house, I don’t really need the internet. For example, instead of just leaving the house and googling addresses/directions as I go, I’ve got to look up things before I leave. What a novel concept, right?
Also, I think it’s making me a little less attached to my phone. I mean, do I really need the ability to browse Pinterest or Twitter while I’m out and about? No, I don’t. Not having access to the internet makes me pay more attention to real life, and that’s probably for the best.
The thing I love about RW is that you have the ability to switch between plans up to twice a month. This means that if I do decide that I want the 3G data plan, I can easily switch (there is an option within the phone’s menu) up to the $25/mo plan and instantly get data while I’m outside wifi range. So just in case I happened to get lost or something and NEEDED the internet, I could easily bump up my plan and get connected to the world. Or, you know, I could call someone and have them get me directions just like in the olden days.
I got the phone last Monday morning. It was glorious. So shiny and white and new and perfect! I was surprised to find that I was given a phone number with the phone. I planned to switch over my number from Verizon, but it was kind of nice to immediately have a number so that I could start using the phone and testing it out. Especially since the number transfer process was trickier than anticipated...
[Let me preface this with the clarification that this was not RW's fault, it was mine!]
That afternoon (Monday) I started the process to get my Verizon number switched to Republic Wireless. It ended up being a b*%&@ to transfer my number since I was on my dad’s plan and neither he nor I could figure out what the flipping “billing pin” was for our account. (it turned out to be a number that is NOT the “account pin” and NOT the password you log into your online account with... it’s ANOTHER pin... Thanks for being difficult, Verizon! We had to end up resetting it since we couldn’t figure out what it was. Crazy). Anyway, by Tuesday afternoon we figured out the “billing pin” issue and I was finally able to get the ball rolling with my number transfer.
About 24 hours after putting in the transfer request, I received an email from RW saying that the transfer was complete. So ignoring the day that it took us to get our act together, it only took one day to transfer the number. Pretty quick!
So far, messaging has been this phone’s downfall. I know of at least 2 texts that I so far haven’t received and my mom told me one of the texts I sent her on Monday morning came through 3 times.
[Any other family or friends reading this... have my texts come through wonky or have I ignored any of your texts? If I ignored you it’s probably because I didn’t get them...]
Also, I sent a group picture message to my family and when my brother responded, I was sent a blank white box instead of his text response. After a confusing exchange (me: “why did you send me a picture of a white box” him: “huh....no I sent you a text”) I figured out that it must have been an error receiving the message on my end. Now I know if I ever see that white box I'll just ask the person to resend whatever they sent. Annoying but an easy workaround.
RW did warn me that it could take up to 3 business days for text messages to sort themselves out. So I suppose these examples did occur between Wednesday and Monday, and that's 3 business days... hopefully I'm good to go by now!
I’ll caveat this with saying that I think the wireless internet in our house sucks. We often lose signal on our computers for a few seconds at a time, so I think something’s up with our internet or our router. THAT SAID... sometimes making phone calls on this phone is a little dicey. When trying to figure out that silly billing pin issue with my dad, I spent a while on the phone with him a few separate times, and the call quality was not the greatest. I didn’t drop the call but there were a few times where he couldn’t hear me and a few times where he came across a little garbled on my end. But again, that could just be our internet.
Monday afternoon I called my mom and chatted for a few minutes. She was on a landline and said I came across as a little "tinny". She sounded the same on my end and was breaking up occasionally. Not enough to not understand what she was saying, but enough that I had to strain to hear some parts of the conversation.
As for calls NOT over wifi, those have been fine. I was able to call my grandma while in the car the other day and that call went off without a hitch. Texting also seems fine over the cell service. Since RW uses Sprint cell towers, make sure your area has good Sprint service before signing up for RW!
UPDATE 3/28/15: I have since moved to a new place and got a new router and my calls are 100000x better. So I do think it was just an issue with my crappy router/internet and also the fact that we lived on the first floor of a BIG old house so our cell signal was no good.
So far, I really like the Moto X. It’s a great phone and surprisingly easy to get used to after my beloved iPhone. I especially like the camera; it’s a lot better than my iPhone’s (I had the 4, not even the 4S, so I guess I was kinda outdated by Apple standards).
Here’s an example of an iPhone 4 (left) vs Moto X (right) photo. I think it's much better picture quality with the Moto X!
Also, I’m sloooooowly getting used to the Moto X keyboard. For some reason I’m just terrible with it! I’m not sure if it’s spaced differently than the iPhone (I guess it’s a little bigger?) but goodness I make so many typos. It does have the fancy swipe feature (hold your finger down and trace around the keyboard to spell words) and that works surprisingly well, even when my swipes are a little questionable.
So far the pros (cost!) outweigh the cons (texting issues, questionable calls over wifi). I don’t do a lot of important things on my phone so occasionally having a weird signal doesn’t bother me too much. But again, it’s only been a little over a week, so I’ll take a little more time to test it out before I make my final decision. RW offers a great 30-day money back guarantee, no questions asked, so if I get fed up with any issues before then, I’m confident that I’d be able to send the phone back and cancel my service.
But for now, I’m happy and saving 55 dolla bills every month! Can’t beat that :)
Note: I wrote an updated post about my feelings after 2 months with RW- check it out here!
If you decide to sign up for Republic Wireless, please consider using my referral link! (Doesn't cost you anything extra!!) I would greatly appreciate it :)