I've covered Republic Wireless a few times here on ZDNet because it offers a compelling wireless solution and continues to work for the benefit of the consumer in the wireless space. In one of the most significant announcements yet, Republic Wireless announced support for the latest Android phones and the addition of a major GSM wireless carrier.
You may recall in the past that Republic Wireless offered a limited selection of Android smartphones with support for WiFi calling, primarily Motorola smartphones. As Android Marshmallow supports WiFi calling natively, Republic Wireless is now able to offer support for its WiFi-focused network to more devices. You can now purchase these phones, or bring them to the network yourself:
- Moto X Pure Edition
- Google Nexus 6P by Huawei
- Google Nexus 5X by LG
- Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
- Samsung Galaxy S6
- Samsung Galaxy S7
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
In the past, Republic Wireless used Sprint to power connectivity through the cellular network with a focus on WiFi calling. Adding a major GSM carrier provides extended cellular coverage to its customers. While Republic Wireless did not state which carrier it partnered with, it has to be either AT&T or T-Mobile. Given that the press release states the "fastest 4G LTE network in the country" I think Republic Wireless partnered with T-Mobile. I'm sure that enthusiasts and savvy consumers will soon figure out who the major GSM partner is in the US.
Chris Chuang, chief operating officer of Republic Wireless, stated the following:
We've been working for this day since we first launched on November 19th, 2011. Our vision has always been to make our remarkably affordable and fair services available to the vast majority of the Android smartphone market. However, as in any new technology approach, innovation often initially comes with a few compromises; and in the case of our hybrid WiFi calling, it was a limited selection of devices and cellular network. Thanks to some key breakthroughs in our Adaptive CoverageTM technology and the addition of a GSM carrier partner, our vision will become reality, as we will remove these limitations so we can serve many more customers with our top-ranked offering.
Its interesting that Project Fi connectivity also focuses on WiFi, with cellular support being provided by Sprint and T-Mobile. Project Fi is limited to the smartphone enthusiast who knows what Project Fi is, but Republic Wireless reaches more consumers so this GSM deal is a major benefit for customers.
New plans with the GSM network support will be launched soon, but as an example Republic Wireless stated customers can expect a $20 per month plan with 1GB of cellular data and unlimited talk and text. I can't wait to see the full lineup of plans and given the devices now supported, I may soon be switching from Project Fi to Republic Wireless.