Dirt Cheap Smartphone Option

I hate cell phones, but I’ve always carried one for safety and convenience. When smartphones came out, I could see the utility of having the interwebz in your pocket, but the high cost of the phone and the ridiculous monthly service charges had me sticking with my craptastic pay-as-you-go biscuit phone for years.

When I finally gave in and got a smartphone almost three years ago, I was appalled at having to pay $70 a month for a single line of service. I understand that that’s actually pretty cheap by most standards – I have a buddy at work who has the whole family kitted out with phones and he pays something like $600 a month! I got my rate as a special deal from AT&T through work, and after the two year contract was up, I stuck it out for a few more months before shopping around. I heard about Straight Talk, and switched over to them a few months ago. At $40 a month, I was saving nearly half. Not too shabby, but still not cheap enough for this thrifty Yankee.

Then last week, I heard about Republic Wireless. With an offer of $10 a month for service, it sounded too good to be true, but I had to check it out. It turned out to be a perfect solution for me. They use modified Motorola Moto phones that can make calls like regular cell phones, but that also use WiFi when available and route the call over the internet. That allows them to keep their cell network costs low. Since I spend almost all my time in WiFi hotspots these days, I figured it would work well for me, so I ordered a $149 Moto G phone and figured I’d give it a shot.

So far, so good. They transferred my number from Straight Talk without much trouble, and I’ve been able to make calls on both WiFi and cell. Turns out that their cell network actually has a decent signal in my house – AT&T and Straight Talk had nothing, so I had to rely on a micro-cell when I was at home. Having an actual cell signal in the house is a nice backup to the cable company landline we have now – an important prep item in itself.

Ten bucks a month for a decent smartphone with solid coverage in my house and on the road is a huge win in my book. I’m back down to the level I was spending for my pay-go phone that did nothing useful. And even when I add my wife and two teens to Republic, I’ll still only be spending $40 a month and getting everything my work buddy is spending stupid money on.


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