Nov
3
2011

A Truly Unlimited Plan for under $20 a month: Welcome to a New Republic

Republic Wireless - A Truly Unlimited Plan for under $20If you’ve used Twilio, Skype, Google Voice, or one of the numerous other services that use VoIP (voice over internet) to connect a call, it was most likely Bandwidth.com doing the heavy lifting. The company has an extensive VoIP infrastructure that handles many of the connections for these services. Now, if you HAVE used these services, the thought has probably occurred to you; “Why can’t I place all my cellular calls, via VoIP, with a WiFi connection.” “But what if there was no WiFi?” Wouldn’t it be just like a ‘new republic’ if there was a device capable of both connecting your calls via WiFi and determining whether it’s available or not on its own AND switching automatically?

Welcome to the new world! As confirmed by a Bandwidth.com spokesman, Republic Wireless, a division of Bandwidth.com, will launch a $19 per month hybrid VoIP/cellular service on November 8th. That service will provide unlimited calling, texting and 3G data for Republic Wireless customers. And it will do this with a new custom handset running a version of Google’s Android operating system. A number of carriers already offer handsets that support similar services, more commonly referred to as Unlicensed Mobile Access or UMA services. Republic is claiming its service is being built from scratch so it can’t yet announce the required handset or its selling price. But, with the service reportedly going live in just over a week, that announcement can’t be too far off.

Current promises of the new world:

  • The service is being referred to as, “Hybrid Calling.” The phone primarily uses Wifi and only resorts to cell networks when it can’t connect to Wifi
  • The new device will automatically switch between Wifi and cellular as available
  • The new device runs on Android and is required because, Hybrid Calling needs both hardware and software systems
  • The first cellular network announced is Sprint, however Republic has plans to include other carriers in the future
  • The phone will have one number (no swapping between phone numbers for VoIP and cellular)
  • The device will send both voice and text via WiFi
  • There is no contract requirement and no termination fees nor overage fees, either.

According to a teaser on Republic’s website; “You are OS-SIS–Set in Stone. You’re 21st century technology married to a 20th century business model. But we’ve moved on. We don’t just want wireless. We want stringless. As a matter of fact, we want it DIY. We’re responsible adults. We drive cars. We vote. We can definitely join together to make a new kind of wireless network. One for us. One, in fact, that is us. In other words, we have our own Operating System. It’s called Freedom, and it works.” With a declaration like that and a price-point to match, we may very well be seeing the dawn of a new VoIP age.

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