Republic Wireless

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Republic Wireless, Inc.
TypeSubsidiary
IndustryMobile telephony
FoundedJanuary 2010; 12 years ago (2010-01)[a]
Headquarters,
United States
Area served
Continental United States
Number of employees
100
ParentDish Wireless
Websitewww.republicwireless.com

Republic Wireless (stylized in all lowercase)[3] is an American mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). It is a subsidiary of Dish Wireless. Republic sells low cost mobile phone service on its partner AT&T's network. Republic started as a unique company that provided customers with VOIP numbers which relied on WiFi first with cell as a backup. After being acquired by Dish Wireless, Republic converted to providing conventional cellular service. Their service is now promoted as being available to Dish Network customers only. Switched from AT&T to T-mobile network when purchased by Dish around July 2022.

Customers[edit]

As of 2021, the company had about 200,000 subscribers, and as of 2019 it had close to $100 million in annual revenue.[4] Trade publication Inside Towers wrote that its customers "appear to be more tech savvy than most, and also more price conscious".[4]

History[edit]

Original logo from 2011 to November 28, 2021.

Early history[edit]

Republic was an early provider of WiFi-first MNVO services.[4]

Created in January 2010 as a subsidiary of Bandwidth.com, the company announced it would provide a monthly subscription of $19 per month for wireless service with unlimited calling, texting, and data on a "Hybrid Calling" system.[5][6][7]

Republic Wireless began beta service on November 8, 2011 with the LG Optimus S[8] and later the Motorola Defy XT in July 2012.[9] On November 19, 2012, Republic Wireless ended its private beta and transitioned to an open, public beta.[10]

On November 14, 2013, Republic officially came out of its Beta testing period and began offering the Moto X for $299 with four new service plans starting at $5 per month.[11]

In 2013, the company introduced WiFi-to-cellular handover so that calls could transition from Wi-Fi to cell tower service.[4]

Additional models and new technology[edit]

On March 13, 2014, Republic officially announced the release of their next phone, the Motorola Moto G which was priced at $149 for the 8GB and $179 for the 16GB version. The Moto G was released for sale on April 17, 2014.[12] Unlike Moto X which offered four service plans, Moto G offered only three service plans. (Moto G did not offer the 4G service plan.) On October 15, 2014, Republic released the Motorola Moto E pricing it at $99.[13] On November 26, 2014, Republic announced that they would be offering the 16 GB second generation Moto X for $399 beginning December 10, 2014.[14]

In 2015, the company introduced cellular-to-WiFi handover.[4]

In July 2016, Republic added several phone models from Samsung, LG, and Huawei, in addition to its already-established Motorola line.[15] Also, the switch was made to new plans on the T-Mobile network, replacing their older plans using the Sprint network.

In August 2016, Republic also added a bring-your-own-phone (BYOP) compatibility to its service plans by offering SIM card kit sales in their online store.

On December 1, 2016, Republic Wireless announced its spin-off from Bandwidth.com.[16]

Also in 2016, the company introduced "bonded calling" to use cell service while still keeping the call on a WiFi connection.[4]

On December 6, 2017, Republic Wireless announced a new physical product called Relay. This screen-less device uses LTE and WiFi in order to allow communication between it, other relay devices and a companion smartphone app. It also contains a GPS tracker so that those with the companion app are able to know where the user of the device is. Relay became available for ordering May 2018 at the dedicated Relay website.

Acquisition by Dish Wireless[edit]

In March 2021, television provider Dish Network agreed to acquire Republic Wireless for an undisclosed price,[17][18] as part of a series of acquisitions that also included Boost Mobile and Ting Mobile, with a longer-term plan to move customers to Dish's own in-development 5G network.[19][20][21] The acquisition was completed in May 2021.[22] Dish said that Republic Wireless would be kept as a separate brand from Dish.[19] Industry analyst Martha DeGrasse wrote that Dish probably acquired the company mainly for its engineers and technology rather than for its existing subscriber base.[4]

According to FierceWireless, Dish said that customers would not experience "immediate changes" following the acquisition.[19]

It was announced that the Relay products would be split out as a separate company: Relay, Inc.[4][18]

As part of the transition, the company's leadership team was replaced; it was announced that co-founder Chris Chuang would leave the company and Robert Currie would take over as head of Republic Wireless.[19]

Hybrid calling[edit]

Originally Wi-Fi networks were used as the primary data and connectivity source to the network, while the cellular network was used as a failover if no Wi-Fi networks were in range of the device. The model relied on a proprietary VoIP application for the Android operating system that has the ability to switch quickly between Sprint's CDMA mobile network or T-Mobile's GSM mobile network, free roaming, and WiFi, depending on which access network is available.[23]

As of 2022, This Wi-Fi first calling method is not supported for new customers or phones purchased on the "bring your own phone" program, or for phones purchased from Republic Wireless.[24]

Reception[edit]

Initial rollout[edit]

TechCrunch expressed excitement about the announcement and described the plan as potentially disruptive to the wireless markets. The publication described the "WiFi first" model as an attractive feature because of the prevalence of WiFi access and the superiority of WiFi connections over digital mobile networks, which they expect will improve call reception and clarity.[5] CNet wrote that the low price point would be "a home run" for parents who are interested in low-cost plans for young children.[8] The Atlantic was more hesitant, acknowledging that the price point would be attractive to some consumers but speculating that the low-cost business model may lead to unreliable service. The magazine also suggested that since Republic Wireless purchases its air time wholesale from Sprint, it is dependent on major telecommunications companies who may be inclined to limit the company's growth to prevent it from becoming too disruptive.[25]

PC World questioned Republic Wireless' marketing the plan as "unlimited" given the expectations that users monitor a "Cellular Usage Index" and remain within "fair use guidelines". The magazine faulted the company for advertising unlimited voice and data while simultaneously describing membership as a "privilege" and reserving the right to terminate users who crossed an undefined "fair use threshold".[26] MSNBC wrote that coverage will be unlimited on WiFi access but when on the mobile network, consumers will be held to a monthly limit of 550 minutes of voice, 150 SMS, and 300 megabytes of data or face termination of their subscription.[7] In December 2011, Republic Wireless eliminated this fair use threshold.[27]

Pre-acquisition[edit]

ZDNet gave the company a 9 out of 10 star review in November, 2013 saying "You are unlikely to find a phone as capable and priced as low as the Republic Wireless Moto X...the service offerings are fantastic." [28] Republic also received the Laptop Magazine Editor's Choice Award and was cited "one of the best bargains in wireless."[29]

Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal gave rave reviews to Republic when they came out of Beta testing in November, 2013 saying this was a chance for callers to get "a top-tier, current-model smartphone with all the bells and whistles, and pay between $5 and $40 a month for unlimited voice, text and data."[30]

Huffington Post said Republic had true "stick it to the man potential" in a November, 2013 piece.[31] The article went on to say "The world needs a place where they have access to first class technology at a very low price ... Enter Republic Wireless."

The Art of Being Cheap claims Republic is "... Such a better deal than any other phone on the market, that there really are no viable competitors" in a November, 2013 piece once the company had come out of Beta.[32]

In April 2014, an article in The Wealth Gospel posited that Republic is "poised to be a disruptor in the mobile telecommunications market," citing that the company offers customers an opportunity to "shrug off the shackles of contracts and high monthly costs."[33]

On November 12, 2013, Republic was voted the Lifehacker Most Popular Pre-Paid/MVNO Carrier with 31% of the vote.[34]

Marguerite Reardon of CNET praised Republic's "cut-throat pricing", especially for consumers who only want voice and text, but faulted unreliable hand-off between Wi-Fi and cellular service, and small variety of available handsets, and said "customers who are having problems with the service never actually get to speak to a real human". [35]

In March 2014, Republic Wireless Chairman David Morken said the number of customers subscribed to the company's service totaled several hundred thousand.[36][37] In 2014, it was the top-rated prepaid cell phone provider in the latest rankings by Consumer Reports.[38]

Post-acquisition[edit]

In December 2021, following its acquisition by Dish, Republic Wireless announced changes to its plans that drew a negative reaction from existing customers; one customer wrote that they couldn't "find the door fast enough".[39] Industry analyst Martha DeGrasse speculated that customers might move to competitors if fees increased.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Republic Wireless (29 November 2021). "REPUB_28452_RW_Logo_OrganicLaunch.mp4". Facebook. Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Dish – which owns Republic Wireless in Raleigh – signs $5B deal with AT&T for network services". WRAL TechWire. 19 July 2021. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  3. ^ "republic wireless | Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Unpacking the DISH/Republic Wireless Deal". Inside Towers. 15 March 2021. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  5. ^ a b Kinkaid, Jason (November 8, 2011). "Republic Wireless Officially Unveils $19/Month Service: Unlimited Everything, No Contracts". Tech Crunch. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  6. ^ Newman, Jared (November 8, 2011). "Republic Wireless: $19 per Month for Voice, Text and Data". Time Magazine. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Chansanchai, Athima (November 9, 2011). "'Unlimited' Android for $19 a month -- as long as you're on Wi-Fi". MSNBC. Archived from the original on November 10, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Broida, Rick (November 8, 2011). "Republic Wireless: 'Unlimited' Android phone for $19 per month". CNet. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  9. ^ "Republic Wireless Further Disrupts Wireless Market; Reopens Beta & Introduces New Motorola Android™-powered Smartphone". November 13, 2013. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved July 13, 2012.
  10. ^ "Republic Wireless mobile phone service exits private beta, now available to all". Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  11. ^ "Republic Wireless® offers Moto X for $299 and four new plans starting at $5 per month, scaling up to $40 per month with a 4G data option". November 13, 2013. Archived from the original on November 14, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
  12. ^ "Moto G is heeeere!". April 17, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
  13. ^ "Moto E Is Here!". October 15, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  14. ^ "The New Moto X is Coming Soon!". November 26, 2014. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  15. ^ David Ranii, "Raleigh-based Republic adds cellular network, new phones", The News & Observer, May 11, 2016.
  16. ^ Warren, Tom (2016-12-01). "Republic Wireless celebrates its new independence with six months of free service". The Verge. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  17. ^ Statt, Nick (2021-03-08). "Dish will acquire Republic Wireless to boost adoption of its 5G network". The Verge. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  18. ^ a b "CEO keeping device firm Relay in Raleigh, is hiring after parent Republic Wireless is sold to DISH". WRAL TechWire. 9 March 2021. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  19. ^ a b c d Alleven, Monica (8 March 2021). "Dish to acquire MVNO Republic Wireless". Fierce Wireless. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  20. ^ Dano, News Analysis Mike; Director, Editorial; Strategies 3/8/2021, Mobile. "Dish's new 5G strategy: MVNO aggregator". Light Reading. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  21. ^ "Dish to acquire Republic Wireless and its wireless customers". RCR Wireless News. 11 March 2021. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  22. ^ "DISH Network Corporation completed the acquisition of Republic Wireless, Inc". MarketScreener. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  23. ^ Segan, Sascha (November 8, 2011). "Republic Wireless: It's All About Wi-Fi". PC Magazine. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  24. ^ "Bring Your Own Phone". Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  25. ^ Greenfield, Rebecca (November 8, 2011). "Good Luck With That: A Super-Cheap Phone Challenges Big Companies". Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  26. ^ McCracken, Harry (November 8, 2011). "Republic Wireless, You Have a Strange Definition of 'Unlimited'". PC World. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  27. ^ Brian at Republic Wireless (December 22, 2011). "Unlimited". Republic Wireless. Archived from the original on January 4, 2012. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  28. ^ Miller, Matthew. "Republic Wireless Moto X review: Top consumer smartphone and low cost service are a killer combo". ZDNet. Retrieved 2020-09-01.
  29. ^ November 2014, Mark Spoonauer-Editor-in-Chief 03 (3 November 2014). "Motorola Droid Turbo - Full Review and Benchmarks". LaptopMag. Retrieved 2020-09-01. {{cite web}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  30. ^ "Smartphone With Wi-Fi Smarts". The Wall Street Journal.
  31. ^ McNay, Don (November 26, 2013). "Republic Wireless: Game Changer in Revolution against AT&T & Verizon". Huffington Post.
  32. ^ "Review of Moto X from Republic Wireless and super cheap phone plan". The Art of Being Cheap. 2013-11-25. Retrieved 2020-09-01.
  33. ^ "Why Haven't You Switched to Republic Wireless Yet?". wealthgospel.com. Retrieved 2020-09-01.
  34. ^ Republic the Most Popular Pre-Paid Alan Henry
  35. ^ Is Republic Wireless too good to be true? by Ask Maggie, cnet.com
  36. ^ Scott Moritz; et al. (2014-03-03). "Wi-Fi alternatives threaten cell carriers". Columbia Daily Tribune. Retrieved 2015-02-06.
  37. ^ Lauren K. Ohnesorge (2014-04-02). "Bandwidth CEO talks Republic Wireless, Motorola and jobs". Triangle Business Journal. Retrieved 2015-02-06.
  38. ^ David Ranii, "Republic Wireless ranked tops by Consumer Reports", The News & Observer, November 20, 2014.
  39. ^ Wang, Jules (15 December 2021). "Republic Wireless dishes out new look, new plans, and disappointment". Android Police. Retrieved 10 June 2022.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Its service was not launched until 2011.

External links[edit]