Posting in Cities
Republic Wireless offers unlimited calls, texting, and data for $19/month, trusting its customers to switch to wifi whenever it's available.
Republic Wireless doesn't offer quite that, but it's close. For $19 per month, you get unlimited phone, data and text use with no contract. The catch -- if you could call it that -- is that the phone automatically switches to wifi when it's available. And when it's not, the phone hops back onto Sprint's 3G network.
This concept would seem to be profitable only if there were some kind of 3G cap to restrain service to those users who are regularly connected to wifi. But Republic has no such caps. Initially, the company laid out guidelines for acceptable use, covering 1,200 minutes, 3,600 texts, or 600MB each month. These still weren't caps -- users could go over the limit without losing access.
But the idea that these were just guidelines for the good of the commons was "too difficult of a concept to communicate," Kevin LaHaise, a Republic Wireless representative, told Ars Technica. "Whenever we gave example numbers of usage patterns that would be safely within the Fair Use Policy, people thought they were 'caps.' And they weren't."
It's an interesting philosophy for the company to take: it assumes that its users will respect the way the service works, only signing up if they have regular wifi access, and using wifi whenever possible as to not strain the 3G network. LaHaise told Ars that, if a user did severely overstep his or her bounds, they would probably cancel the service. But they haven't had to do that yet.
The model is certainly intriguing, if not because it's the most legitimate challenge to mobile providers that I've heard of. It provides a new option and, perhaps, a new model to free smartphone users from the tethers of large cell phone bills, two-year contracts, and the whims of the large companies.
The downsides, as Casey Johnston's Ars Technica review notes, are that it's tied to Sprint -- the third-slowest provider -- and that only one phone is available at the moment, the LG Optimus S running Android 2.3 Gingerbread. And because there is no plan, which usually offsets the cost of the actual device, there is an up-front cost of $199 to pay for the phone.
And another downside is that the phone will only be functional for people living in cities or other areas with consistent wifi access -- or else it could turn into a 'tragedy of the commons.'
"Nobody likes a cell-hog," as their site says.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Feb 5, 2012
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Hello, I just found this website http://mobile-wi.fi/ which provide free voip calls between members and has very good prices to worldwide destinations. I was just curious to make an account to this guys and i was pleased to find that they can adapt offer for payed calls considering your declared destinations. For example if you want to call mobile / landlines in Italy, Spain, Greece and Germany they will offer you an amount of minutes at fixed flat rate plan for all destination for 5 , 10, 15 etc.. euro rechargeable account. Is an interesting consideration and i think is better for everybody to optimise costs per minutes. Also their services is functioning on my cisco voip phone but i tried on my smart phone and other ata modems.
Frankly I am surprised that this concept has taken so long to catch on (not that it has as yet.) I have an iPhone from Verizon with unlimited minutes etc. The problem is that my son lives in St. Thomas, USVI. Verizon says that is a foreign country and thus an international call. The price is $1.99 per minute. Well obviously that got me looking for an alternative. I found at [b]www.dial91.com[/b] an iPhone app that calls anywhere in the world for an unbelievably low price, i think a cent or so per minute. It pulls in my Apple contact list. Dial91.com mostly sells to India business people who want to call India when they travel. But really it works as a calling card for anywhere in the world. But think about the implications of using the plan on WiFi instead of using data plan or minutes. The think I like about it also is that the call quality is really superb. In fact the quality is better than the cell network. It is called "dial91 viop" in the app store.
This concept was developed and used in the UK by BT 10 years ago, it is called Fusion, the phones were Motorola. Though the monthly usage did cost a little more, but the handsets were free. And their free service was only from within the home. Though I have been away for a while the concept may have changed.