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Republic Wireless New Moto E and New Plans Review


2 years ago, I was hesitant to upgrade to a smart phone because I thought it was too expensive. I liked my cheap old flip phone. I just used it to call and text, what else did I need? I also didn’t want to pay $60+ per month just for the privilege of checking email on the go. Fortunately, I heard about Republic Wireless and their $19 unlimited data plan (discontinued) so I gave them a shot. Now I’m attached to my phone and there is no way I could go back to a regular old cell phone.

I started out with the Defy XT from Republic Wireless and then upgraded to the Moto X. The Moto X was a huge step up and I still love it. It looks great, performs very well, and I haven’t had any problems with it. Mrs. RB40 is using the old Defy XT, but it’s getting really long in the tooth. I knew Republic Wireless was planning to release the 2nd generation Moto E soon so we held off upgrading. The new Moto E (pictured) is now available for purchase and they also rolled out an updated plan. If you have the Defy XT, don’t worry. Your old plan is grandfathered in.

Republic Wireless

First, let me tell you about how Republic Wireless works. To join Republic Wireless, you need to purchase the customized android phone directly from them. Republic Wireless’ phones are customized to use WiFi first for calling (VOIP), texting, and data usage. If you are not on a WiFi network, then the phone will fall back to Sprint’s cellular network. The phones can switch quickly between WiFi to cellular depending on availability. So if you’re talking and then step out of WiFi range, the call will switch to the cellular network with minimal glitches. Unfortunately, you can’t use the phone with any other network because it’s customized.

Republic Wireless can keep the price low because they default to WiFi. This way, they minimize cellular network usage and pass the savings on to you. I live in an urban area and there are many WiFi hotspots in our area so it’s the perfect situation. I spend the majority of my time at home, the library, around PSU, Target, the community center, and various coffee shops. All of these locations have free WiFi, so I’m the ideal Republic Wireless user. The only time I really need to use the cellular net work is when I’m driving and need some direction. Of course, you will have some heavy users when you offer an unlimited data plan. That’s probably the reason why they are rolling out the new plans.

Republic Wireless New Plans

Republic Wireless’ new plans look a bit confusing at first. With the old plan, you just paid a flat monthly fee. This new plan is a more like pay as you go. You pay based on the amount of cellular data you actually use. They will refund any excess data purchased as a credit on your account at the end of each month. Here are the new plans.

  1. $5 WiFi only – Unlimited call and text through WiFi. No access to cellular network.
  2. $10 base plan – Unlimited call and text through WiFi and cellular network. Data on WiFi only.
  3. $17.50 – Unlimited call and text through WiFi and cellular network. Unlimited data on WiFi. 0.5GB data on Sprint’s 4G network.
  4. $25 – Unlimited call and text through WiFi and cellular network. Unlimited data on WiFi. 1GB data on Sprint’s 4G network.
  5. $40 – Unlimited call and text through WiFi and cellular network. Unlimited data on WiFi. 2GB data on Sprint’s 4G network.
  6. $55 – Unlimited call and text through WiFi and cellular network.  Unlimited data on WiFi. 3GB data on Sprint’s 4G network.

Basically, you pay $10 per month for the base plan and then $15/month for each GB of cellular data usage. You can just get the $10 base plan and buy data as needed. At the end of the month, they will refund you any data that you didn’t use. During the trial period, participants average about $15 per month. If you have readily available access to WiFi networks, then Republic Wireless will probably work well for you. It works great for me because we have numerous WiFi hotspots where we live. We went to visit Mrs. RB40’s dad in June and Republic Wireless didn’t work well in that location. He doesn’t have WiFi and the Sprint coverage is spotty. If I lived there, then I probably wouldn’t choose Republic Wireless.

Moto E review

Now, on to the new phone, the 2nd generation Moto E. I have been using the Moto X for over a year now and I’m very happy with it. Motolora sent me a Moto E to review so I had a chance to compare the affordable phone to the high end phone.

Here are the available phones from Republic Wireless.

  • The 1st gen Moto G – $99 ( I haven’t used this one so I can’t comment on it.)
  • The 2nd gen Moto E – $129
  • The 2nd gen Moto X – $299

Form factor – The Moto E looks and feels similar to the Moto X. The power button and the volume buttons are at the same place. There is a headphone plug at the top and a USB plug at the bottom of the phone. Motorola is sticking with the same curved body design which I like. The Moto E feels great to hold and the case is made out of nice grippy plastic. The smooth edges from previous models have been replaced by ridges which help you hold on to the phone. That’s probably the only complaint I have about the Moto X. It’s a bit slippery. I dropped it a couple of times, but it’s still working well. The Moto E looks and feels solid. It doesn’t look cheap at all, so that’s an added bonus.

Screen – The 4.5 inches screen is acceptable. It’s much nicer than the Defy XT, but the Moto X’s screen blew it away. Of course, the Moto X cost more than twice as much as the Moto E. The resolution is 540 x 960 pixels (qHD.) I guess qHD means not quite HD… It’s a tad less sharp than the 1080p display on the Moto X, but it will do. I don’t read much on the phone anyway. If you do a lot of reading on your smart phone, you probably should get a 1080p screen or get a small tablet.

Cameras – The main camera has 5 megapixels and there is a 0.3 megapixel front facing camera. The pictures from the main camera look fine for sharing online. The front camera takes really pixilated pictures so your selfies are going to be a bit pixilated. At least you can video chat. The Moto E also has the double twist gesture to quickly bring up the camera. This shortcut is useful so I’m glad the Moto E has this feature.

Performance – The Moto X is definitely snappier than the Moto E. Games take a few seconds longer to load and everything is just a tad slower on the Moto E. I can listen to the podcast and play a game on my Moto X, but the Moto E can’t do that. It seems like the Moto E can’t multitask. Again, the Moto X costs a lot more than the Moto E.

Battery life – Battery life is one thing the Moto E does better than the Moto X. I can go the whole day with the Moto E without plugging it in. That’s pretty nice. Anecdotally, the Moto E lasts quite a bit longer than the Moto X and various test sites confirmed that for me.

You can see a bit more detail on the phones here; click to see a bigger picture.

Moto E Review Republic Wireless new plans

Republic Wireless is great for some users

All in all, I’m a big fan of Republic Wireless. They offer an affordable alternative to the mainstream carriers for frugal minded users like me. Republic Wireless has come a long way since they started in 2013. They worked out a lot of the glitches and the service is very stable now. The phones are much nicer and you have more choices. The data plan is still a great deal if you can get on WiFi for most of your data usage. Mrs. RB40 tried out the Moto E and she likes it a lot, too. It is much much nicer than the older Defy XT she is currently using. I’ll let her be the judge of when to upgrade.

You can check out the plans and details at Republic Wireless.

Buy Moto E Republic Wireless

PS. My father in law is paying $60 per month just for talk and text! He doesn’t even text… We’ll have to find a cheaper plan for him soon.

Image credit: Motorola

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Mayan Queen July 17, 2015, 2:30 am

    Does the phone/plan work in all states…in California big cities. Is this similar to a Magic Jack plan?

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2015, 9:46 am

      Republic Wireless works in all states. I would check Sprint coverage map to see if they have good coverage in your location.
      I think Magic Jack is for home phone. I’m not sure if they have cellular service or not.

  • Mrs. Budgets @MrandMrsBudgets July 17, 2015, 6:15 am

    I have republic wireless and I have mixed feelings about it. I live in a big city and the Sprint coverage still isn’t very good. My phone loads soooooooo much slower than my old phone which was through Verizon, it is actually a big inconvenience because I use my phone for directions a lot. I was paying $40 on my old plan (I was on a family plan) and had great and fast coverage, I pay $29.50 (this is including tax) on republic wireless now. The thing I dislike the most is when family or friends send me pictures and I don’t receive them, I think this is due to a poor connection, but even when I eventually get on WiFi the pictures still don’t come through, unless they resend them. I feel that Republic wireless has to offer lower prices because they have an inferior network. You get what you pay for. If my phone bill goes up anymore I’m definitely switching. I think if you work for home than Republic Wireless will work great for you, but if you are out and about most of your day I would reconsider.

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2015, 9:48 am

      Sorry to hear that. What area do you live in? Is the Sprint coverage map accurate?
      My phone loads pretty well, but I’m in a good coverage area and I have 4G. If your coverage is spotty, then Republic Wireless probably won’t work well for you. I’ve heard from a few people about that.

  • SavvyFinancialLatina July 17, 2015, 6:16 am

    I got my brother a Moto G for his birthday and he likes it. It’s perfect for a college student. He only has the voice and text plan, and uses data on wi-fi. It’s $12 a month, so really affordable. I wish I had those options when I was in college and on a super tight budget.

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2015, 9:49 am

      It’s perfect for college students. They are on campus all the time and have readily available WiFi. That’s a nice birthday present. 🙂

  • aB July 17, 2015, 7:03 am

    For other Canadians out there, this is what I am using.

    Tiered Fido Tablet plan* (starts at $10=150mb), Fongo (app) for VOIP.
    Google Hangout for IM. Can receive texts, but can’t text out.
    Also, Tasker (app) to auto connect to certain Wifi spots.
    It’s technically $1 a minute, so don’t answer any calls that are not through Fongo.

    I use data mainly, email/hangouts, rarely make calls, so the call quality of Fongo is ‘acceptable’. Bring your own unlocked phone (currently Nexus 4). Have been paying $11.30 for a long while now.

    * have to get the store to enter a dummy IMEI number. Got the plan at an off chain place. Said I didn’t bring my tablet in.

  • jb82 July 17, 2015, 7:04 am

    Why not try a ringplus free plan. This works on sprint too like republic.
    200 mins, 50 texts, 10mb for wait for it $0.

    They have paid plans too.

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2015, 9:51 am

      I haven’t heard of ringplus. It sounds like a great deal for low data users. I will check them out.

      • pug_ster July 17, 2015, 5:21 pm

        I pay $0 a month for my phone service. You can buy a cheap used sprint phone out of contract, and use Ringplus’ phone service. Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile works too, but don’t tell Ringplus that. Bad thing is that all the free phone service has only 10mb of data.

        I also have an Nexus 5 using freedompop service for $0 a month. You get 200 minutes, 500 text and 500mb of data (but you can get up to 500mb more if you join freedompop friends.) The problem with freedompop is that they use VOIP over 3g/LTE. Sometimes, you get a phone call and sometimes you don’t so Ringplus is definitely better if you want to make phone calls. However, if you want a phone with up to 1gb of free data a month, you can’t beat freedompop.

  • Marty July 17, 2015, 11:02 am

    I use Ting, which is also pay as you go and uses the Sprint network. You bring your own Sprint compatible (they also now offer service to GSM carrie-based phones) and they charge you $6 base fee for being connected to their network and then charge you in tiers of usage for each of the 3 categories: minutes, texts and data usage. I used to be on it by myself and it was roughly $33/month for me. However, now my son and wife are on it and the total is usually around $50 for the 3 of us. My wife’s plan with Sprint was $63 after taxes so we’re saving some nice cash. My son doesn’t use his phone much out of wifi so his phone really only costs $6/mo. The customer service is great too…rather exceptional acutally. The whole bring your own phone is a downfall but they have a pretty big list of compatible phones. I haven’t tried Republic Wireless but have considered one of their hotspots…

  • Nelson July 17, 2015, 11:09 am

    I used to be on Virgin mobile then I switched to Ting. I bought my mom a Moto X for Republic Wireless so I have experience with all 3. Virgin is not bad but they’re the most expensive these days. For me, Ting and Republic have pluses and minuses. If you like fast LTE at a reasonable price, Ting is better but if you’re like my mom and never use data then Republic is cheaper.

  • HMB July 17, 2015, 4:34 pm

    Great post! I too use Republic Wireless, having switched over earlier this year. I’m kind of bummed to see the Moto G price dropped so drastically. That is the phone I have. It’s pretty good and suits my needs well. I know what you mean too about switching to a smartphone and then never wanting to go back. I made the switch a lot later than most people to a smartphone and even then I was on Virgin Mobile and did not have a fancy phone in the least. I’d rather save money and have a decent phone. Thanks for sharing.

    – HMB

  • The Professor July 18, 2015, 9:15 pm

    RW was what got me to dump my flip phone last Dec. I like it though occasionally it seems that I can hear a call but the caller can’t hear me. Then I have to redial. Also the volume is not as loud, (though I am getting older), as my old flip phone was. I don’t like putting it on speaker phone all the time. Still, since I’m home often I love the $10. plan and there are loads of Wi-fi spots in southern CA.
    Also, I just updated with their new operating system, Lollipop. Getting used to it, but it has a few new nicer features and is supposed to take care of some previous bugs.

  • No Nonsense Landlord July 19, 2015, 7:37 am

    It took me about 10 minutes to discover I could not live without a smartphone. Now I need another new one, one that works with Fitbit.

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