Republic Labs: Maestro Check-In & Release Notes

10856634_627675934000840_5167802990263250858_oWant to know what’s up with Republic Labs – Project Maestro? We’ve got release notes!

Pairing WiFi + Cell for more coverage, in more places, was just the beginning. For a few weeks now, nearly 2,000 members have volunteered to help us test radical new ideas that may very well change the entire mobile industry all over again in Republic Labs. This is collaboration with our members cranked up to 11. It’s coming along nicely too – getting refined every step of the way.

Highlights so far:

  • We’ve collected 7,000 survey results (thank you for taking the time to give us your incredibly valuable feedback testers)!
  • Folks previously on a $25/month plan are saving an extra $9 on avg. per month.
  • Folks previously on a $40/month data plan are saving $19 dollars on avg. per month.
  • Former $10 plan members are using about $2 worth of cellular data.
  • And, we’ve received thousands upon thousands of comments in our Community and on social like:

“…meets my needs perfectly. Now I’m paying less than ever. If I need more [cell data], it’s very easy to buy in small increments. Republic wireless with the new Maestro plans is hands-down the most consumer-friendly wireless alternative I’ve seen.” – member Ryan K.

With our member testers’ help in this Lab, we’ve been able to implement new offerings such as:

  • A whole new cell data pricing option of 0.5GB for $7.50 per month based solely on our testers’ input. Amazingly, as soon as we introduced it, a whopping 85% of data purchases and plan changes were for this new option.
  • Tethering – with cell data on demand in project Maestro, you told us it made sense to be able to use your phone to connect your other devices like your laptop to the Internet. We couldn’t agree more and it is coming! We are testing this internally and planning to release it on devices with Lollipop & Maestro plans in the near future.
  • To make tethering work – we need Android Lollipop 5.1. That’s right – we’re skipping right over 5.0 and are actively testing 5.1 as you read this post.
  • Exciting new app controls and notifications. With your input, we’ve figured out how to make our app as simple to use as possible, so you can use your phone exactly how you need.

So! When will the final results of project Maestro be unveiled?
We are edging closer and closer. It’s really really neat to be able to implement new features and functionality and have immediate feedback to make our service as awesome as it possibly can be along with our members.

Hear more on our Lab results so far from our Product experts, Tim and Ibraheem:

Keep watching for more exciting developments from us and our member testers in Republic Labs.

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145 thoughts on “Republic Labs: Maestro Check-In & Release Notes”

  1. With the current plan of $40/month for 5GB o 4G data, which comes out to $8/gigabyte, you raising my out of pocket rate to $15/gigabyte for the SAME DATA, which equals a 87% increase in price, is NOT saving me any money. You know it, I know it, and everybody who can do basic math knows it. It’s interesting how you are trying to pull the wool over many unsuspecting customers’ eyes, but not this customer. When you look at what Google Fi is charging for data ($10/gigabyte) and you look at some of the other packages offered by other providers, you’re not being an industry leader charging so much more than almost everybody else for the same mobile data that they also provide.

    1. Stephen, I am not sure that you understand the point of using Republic Wireless. The point of using Republic is to reduce cell data usage and use WiFi instead. This is what keeps the bill so low. When you use a great amount of cell data, you essentially take advantage of Republic and of all the Republic members that do maximize WiFi. Cell data is very expensive, but republic charges us less than the other companies on the premise that we will intentionally limit our cell use and opt for WiFi as much as possible. This is an effort that we all, as a community, need to be a part of to make this work. Republic offers a lot of excellent resources to help us minimize the cell data that we use, including articles on how to limit cell data by downloading maps and music on WiFi before commuting and trips. These resources are available on Republic’s blog and are quite clear and thorough. Google’s Project Fi is yet another great option that is similar to Republic Wireless. You are free to try it and see if it is for you, that is the beauty of non-contract cell plans such that Republic offers. I personally am very excited about Maestro and, though I was not selected for the lab, I am waiting eagerly for it to be released to the whole community.

      1. I’m somewhat offended by the way you’ve decided to try and talk down to me. I fully understand the point of Republic’s wifi-offload mantra. That’s not the issue here. The issue is an unwarranted price increase. You sound very much like the cadre of people that were beating up customers in the forums for using the data that was allocated to those choosing the $40 plan; and I wont’ subscribe to that abuse. I’ve done my bit to offload when I’m within wifi range, but there is no point in calling it a “mobile device” if you restrict how people use it by forcing their hand to stay tethered to a homebase wifi spot, such as work or home. In the end, Republic can spin it anyway they want, with any wording that they want, it’s still a massive price hike, plain and simple. We’ll have to agree to disagree today.

        1. That’s kind of the point though. As a person who uses the entire amount of data allotted to you, you are in the vast minority of RW customers. Therefore, while this may cost you more and end up driving you away from RW, it will save far more people a significant amount of money over what they were spending before and attract even more people to RW.

          RW is seeking to help as many people as they can save as much money as they can on their service. That is ultimately the only way they can really compete against the big telecoms, and I think this plan is going to further that goal significantly.

          1. Tim,

            I think I’ve understood your argument. As you see it, RW can serve more people better by offering only a small (1GB) plan for almost $25 than by continuing to strongly undercut the big guys by offering 5GB of 3G data at exactly $25.

            It seems to me that the argument you’ve made, if it became policy, would deliver vastly higher margins for the Republic Wireless corporation, along with negligible theoretical savings for some consumers coupled with dramatically reduced phone service availability when customers need it. Even if you see other benefits to the Maestro pricing plans, can you at least understand my point and the mathematics that it is built on?

          2. Couldn’t agree more… this is not “giving money back to users who don’t use all the 5GB and stay way below” (been one of those light users for over 1.5 years now). It would be such if those who use less would get a refund and those who use up to the allowed 5GB would still be allowed to do so without seeing a price increase. Sadly the way things seem to be headed is a very bad marketing spin to increase profit margins. I am not questioning the need to do that, but given the way in which RW has identified itself from the start as the honest alternative to Wireless carriers, I wouldn’t have expected this move by RW 🙁

            Regrettably this looks more like pulling the wool over its customer base’ eyes. When customers pay full price (say $25/mo for unlimited talk and text + 5GB over 3G data) and they end up not using the full 5GB allotted to their account, those customers are saving RW a bundle, part of which may be used to offset users who happen to consume more cell data. And let’s not forget that if one talks and text very little, there’s even more bandwidth and money offsetting/saving for RW.

            If it’s true that the vast majority of the users consumes WAY less data than those 5GB (which must be within 0.5GB given the plan RW came up with), I don’t see what the problem would be at this time since that vast majority is already contributing to lower bandwidth costs for RW. If we made an educated (and conservative) guess and we say that “the vast majority” translates into 85% of total users, then there is only a mere 15% using amounts of cell data between 0.5GB and 5GB. That means RW now has 85% of its users consuming 10% of their 5GB allotted cell data and just 15% using the same allotted data in amounts spanning anywhere from 11% to 100%.

            The bandwidth used by voice and text (which is additional to the 5GB data) is minuscule, about 3.43MB/day. The standard CDMA codec uses an 8kbps bandwidth which means that, even if the average time for calls place or received over cellular network was 1h/day (which for real chatterboxes considering that other talk time would be done over wifi), that daily usage wouldn’t be just about 103MB/mo.

            But let’s say that 103MB between voice and text was actually 0.5GB (or about 512MB), this would mean that 10% of the cost of RW monthly subscription is for voice and text, while 90% of the cost is for the 5GB data allottment. Hence of the $25/mo paid for a 3G plan, $2.5 cover talk and text, while $22.5 go against the 5GB data. Consequentially means that subscribers of that plan pay $4.5 for each potential (used or unused) GB of traffic (note: calculations for 4G plans will obviously be different since the cost is higher by $15/mo)

            A new plan sees a 0.5GB data offered at $7.5/mo (it’s not clear to me how much the voice and text would cost though… would that be in addition to the unlimited talk and text for $10/mo?) but according to the above conservative speculation using the current costs that 0.5GB should cost no more than $2.25/mo a $7.5/mo would mean a price increase of about 333%. Using the amounts extracted through the above speculative calculation, a new plan with unlimited talk and text (which would use a max. of 0.5GB data for calls over cellular network estimated in excess for up to 5h of average daily conversation!) with an add-on 0.5GB for cellular data, should cost $2.5+$2.25 or $4.75/mo a quarter shy than the current wifi-only plan. If now the cost of a 0.5GB will become $7.5 it will mean that the current 5GB will cost a whooping $75/mo! Sure it’s still lower than other carriers but with that figure it’s beginning to blur the lines.

            Granted my calculations are quite likely not as accurate as they should be… then again I don’t think I am all that far off the mark.

            I consider myself to be a very light users when it comes to cell data usage since in the past 6 months (i.e. 180 days), between Jan 1st 2015 and June 30th 2015, I consumed only 2.1GB in cell data (that’s out of 5GB x 6months i.e. 30GB “allowance”!). That’s not even 11.9MB/day and just about 356MB/mo in average. If I was to get back money for the unused data at $2.25/GB for the remaining 27.9GB, then I would see a refund of $62.775, or just a little over $10.45/mo, which would mean the total monthly expense would go down to $14.55 over those 6 months. Well that’s not considering the initial expense of buying the phone which after 18 months is now down to just about $19.4/mo (which means I’ve been paying some $45/mo for my RW service between phone and $25/mo plan)

            In all honesty, this 0.5GB/month add-on data doesn’t seem to be about adding savings for the user since the per GB cost is apparently going to increase by 333%. It looks more like it’s all about increasing company revenues and decreasing cell data allowances for subscribers. Again, I have nothing against increasing revenues, but I would much prefer RW to be upfront and announce a price increase instead of spinning the move as something being done solely in the customers’ interest.

            In conclusion, the massive increase in cell data cost means that RW is further becoming less of a choice for many potential users in the market and becoming more of a restricted niche service for people who will be fine dealing with extreme limitations because, while the current plans make lots of sense, if this nonsense of 0.5GB add-on will be rolled out RW will cease to be the alternative it currently is because in addition to the the limited choice in phone models to choose from (well can’t even say “limited” since it’s just 2 models), now prospective customers would have to also consider that they will have nearly no cell data since the 0.5GB add-on at $7.5/mo will mostly be eaten up by app download/updates, occasional map navigation/web browsing, and sporadic email checking for which 0.5GB will barely be enough.

            I do hope that if ever rolled out it would apply only to new users and even then that it will be changed to be more in line with current costs and features like say… $4 per GB to be added at automatic increments which means that someone who would want to keep their current 3G plan with unlimited voice and text and 5GB cell data would have to pay $30 ($10 unlimited voice and data + $20 for the 5GB cell data at $4/GB) which would translate into a 20% plan cost increase, not a 333% one!

          3. If it’s true that you use very little data, then I have to ask you why you would bother with RW at all in the first place. Consider these nominally “everything unlimited” plans:
            RW: $150 phone, $25+tax monthly, poor voice quality, spotty 3G data, plus the RW issues (no 800 support number, bizarre visual voicemail burial in the call history, dialing delays, no foreign characters in text messages, short code messaging that still doesn’t completely work in spite of the claim, disappearing keyboard while typing, frequent app crashes, etc.), after 5GB the data spigot is shut off

            Metro PCS: Free phone, $25 including tax monthly ($30 for one line, but if you have a family plan of two or more lines they knock off $5 per line), excellent voice quality, robust 4G, and no issues, after 1GB data continues but at a throttled speed (and $35 get’s you twice as much data, 2GB, now at LTE speeds)

            All of which is simply to ask, what are you–you, who doesn’t use much data, especially–doing here?

          4. I understand your could be puzzled by someone not consuming mich data being on RW, the fact is that when I joined RW was all about that… meaning RW would give you a 5GB cell data if needed, but had been pointing the whole business model counting on the whole subscribers community to be supporters of this new wireless carrier model by asking everyone to try and be on WiFi as much as they possibly could to consume the least amount of cell data traffic as possible… and that’s also why I have the small consumption you saw me posting here.
            I am always mindful about it so much so that I would always look for an open wifi hotspot with good signal before using data or making calls while on the go, and I am often able to find one in NYC also because I as a Time Warner cable customer I have several open spots available (and more will come in the future hopefully thanks to the http://www.link.nyc/ project). So all in all my cell data consumption might be this low not simply due to using data on the go less frequently than other… but perhaps because I use it more mindfully and frugally opting for any available alternative before hopping onto a cell tower.

            I might not be the only one who has been doing that because apparently the request made by RW to its community of subscribers seems to have listened and tried their best, so much so that the new business model has now become a massive success thanks to the reported “vast majority” of users is consuming very little data while on cell networks (someone mentioned it to be a 92% users consuming less than 2GB somewhere in the comments on this page). I am glad that happened for many reasons… from shaking up the wireless carriers’ world, to bringing a much needed alternative in the very same oligopolistic market.

            So to answer about “why” I am on RW I could start by saying that RW is exactly for people who don’t need much data (as they also help offset the small percentage who does need to consume more). Furthermore there was no viable alternative at the time I got RW and didn’t get it sooner (been almost 1 year without a cell) because of the issues that were still present and the sub-par model offered at the time of the beta waves (the LG Optimus).

            As for MetroPCS I must ask… have you ever had one? (I am truly asking, not being sarcastic or anything) Aside from the phones being terrible, friends who had the service complained constantly also about quality of service when it came to both voice calls quality, coverage, reliability and data speeds. MetroPCS uses t-mobile network and branded users will take priority over MetroPCS ones… apparently peak t-mobile users happen always whenever a MetroPCS customer needs to use his/her phone.

            About the cost comparison: As I would not need a family plan I’d have to pay $30/mo plus taxes and fees which is already more than I pay now on RW’s 3G plan (including taxes and fees). I’d also have no option to downgrade to $10/mo plans forgoing cell data on the go unless a wifi is around and downgrading might be something I’d do if the spin off of price-increase-disgused-as-customer-savings at RW will take place making the 0.5GB at $7.5/mo (aka $15/GB!) add-on a reality. And back to metroPCS/RW comparison, by switching I’d get the unreliable, low quality service friends have been complaining about over the undeniably more stable and reliable Verizon cell network.
            Unfortunately there seem to be no much of an argument (at least from my POV) about not ever switching to MetroPCS in NYC.

            Believe me, I did look into lots of alternatives (I even though to use voip on a T-mobile data only plan for less than $30/mo back then) I looked into all major carriers as well alternative ones from MetroPCS to Ting to Virgin Mobile, boost, straighttalk, tracfone, consumer cellular and other prepaid but none had the cost/features offered by RW.
            Is the service quality and reliability stellar on RW? Not by a long shot, but I’d compromise putting up with the occasional issue rather than having to fork $80+ a month elsewhere to have a comparable level of service (metroPCS to date doesn’t make the cut, at least not in NYC) not to mention I wouldn’t be able to use it (on wifi or otherwise) while traveling abroad.

            There is no doubt that RW is having an impact even by simply having turned a mixed VoIP/cell wireless carrier business model into reality (no matter the issues still present some of which you’ve mentioned) and about that I am glad… that’s also why I find upsetting the possibility of the current options being messed up since it would mean that in the end they joined the rest while RW seems to be all about making a difference.

            What I am really not liking is the squeezing blood out of stones which is what it seems to be the future plans here (and I do hope I am completely wrong). Looks like the 5GB plans that for the moment are still there, were just to lure in a first wave of subscribers to gauge how much of that traffic the customer base would use in average, with a hidden plan to then slash that to a fraction justifying it as “customer savings”. If the true intent is truly to save customers money, then (as I mentioned earlier on) take the cost per GB on the $25/mo and $40/mo and sell increments much like the Google Project Fi does so that everyone will pay what they consume. If the plan is not to increase plans’ cost to users, then there would be no reason for not doing that to save money to the customers who use less data… right RW? 😉
            If on the other hand the plan IS to increase plan pricing then it’s clear that Google fi would be slightly cheaper than a post-Maestro RW (at least the way it’s looking now).

            In the end I will support whatever carrier will create the best features/value proposition and even if I’ll have to shell out more money once again to purchase a Nexus 6, if I get an invite for project fi, I’ll likely bid RW adieu, not for the ability to pay data as you go, but also being allowed to text internationally for free and be able to call abroad using hangout which seem to be included in the calling plan use not the data use (though that remains to be seen at this time). But above all I’ll stop to try and act in a mindful way about data consumption only to then have to see my mindfulness be used to jack up data plan cost to $15/GB/mo 🙁

          5. You said a lot, and I don’t have time to reply to all of it. I will say that if you’re not a data user, then you should be on the $10 plan–a plan for which it’s crazy to invest $150-$400 for a smart phone. A voice and text plan on the cheap is appropriate for a plain old cell phone. If you are consuming data through WiFi, get yourself a tablet.

            And, as I wrote earlier, the MetroPCS $30 including taxes plan is for 1GB of 4G and unlimited 3G data (and I think their 3G is slower than Sprint’s) thereafter that is very reliable and robust in NYC and surroundings as opposed to the RW Maestro plan which will give you a GB of 3G data for $25+tax that you’ll be lucky to use if you’re standing in the wrong spot within the City. I’ve had MetroPCS for years and it’s service is fantastic–you’re right though that the phones within their reasonable price range are not as nice as even a Moto G, but you can bring your own device and should if you don’t mind shelling out $150 for a phone. I opt for the freebies, like the Galaxy Light they’re giving away to newcomers now–very comparable to the Moto G but free, smaller and with a screen that isn’t quite as nice, and it can store apps as well as music, photos and the like on an SD card.

            What’s just weird is RW selling fancy, expensive data consuming machines and charging too much for the data in hopes you’ll downgrade to their dumb phone plan. Wacky economics.

          6. True, sorry for the verbosity. Don’t assume I am not a data user because I am… simply I am quite good at offsetting them and had been lucky enough not to be needing data on the go too often. It was also by choice… if I wanted to show a video on my cell to friends I’d instead email them the link so they can look at it when they are back home so I wouldn’t have to stream it and show it to them playing on my cell. And that’s but one example.

            So I am a data user and I want the option to be able to use those 5GB whenever I need or see fit. Having a low usage in the past 6 months won’t meant on the 7th month I wouldn’t max out my cell data allowances. I get the point about MetroPCS though and in that case could do the same on Harbor Mobile which is a reseller of t-mo (and wouldn’t be trailing behind t-mo traffic as MetroPCS would)… HM might be indeed a viable option as well, but not one that would save money. Perhaps though that might be something you might be interested in since $40/mo gets almost the same 5GB as RW but will not be using voip… it would like having a t-mo cell service and $50/mo gets unlimited everything for those who need lots of data on the go https://www.harbormobile.com/plans/

            It’s indeed the strange if RW started to go astray and is now selling not-exactly-cheap data-consuming phones while cutting down data plans. It makes no sense and that’s why I hope I am wrong. With the current 3G and 4G plans on RW those phones make sense (better ones would make even more sense ;D) And clearly no, I don’t mind to shell out some extra cash on a device that I will enjoy unfortunately that’s not the case.

            That said I do see your point and it’s also been my reasoning… why buy a 150+ smartphone when one would get no cell data? Might as well get a super cheap phone (which would be mostly used for call/text) which would be used sporadically for browsing and other data over wifi tasks since a tablet (small or large) would be better for that.

            A sub $50 smart phone with decent specs would be more than enough for the $10/mo Unlimited Talk and text. Heck it would be enough even if RW added a $15/mo Unlimited Talk and Text with 1GB cell data over 3G. Mark my words, if RW was to roll out such a plan tonight, paired with the release of a $49.99 smartphone, a giant flood of users banging at RW’s doors would immediately follow as soon as news had spread… Are you listening RW? *hint-hint* ;P

            Who knows if we will ever see that! But hey, you never know, right? So I thought I’d throw this idea out there… maybe it will make sense also for some peeps at RW… there would be all to gain for both subscribers and RW after all per this article:

            […]
            “A whole new cell data pricing option of 0.5GB for $7.50 per month based solely on our testers’ input. Amazingly, as soon as we introduced it, a whopping 85% of data purchases and plan changes were for this new option.

            […]

            So how can it be only clear to me that a $15/mo (being a $10 plan + $5 for 1GB cell data) would attract several metric truckloads of new customers? 😉

          7. Thanks for writing back. I looked at that Harbor Web site you linked to. It seems a good service deal they offer (it doesn’t look like they sell handsets), but there’s a Catch 22 problem with it: the only way to use their service is with a T Mobile phone, and also the only way to use it is to port over a number from any carrier other than T Mobile.

            Now, you may have to point out my ignorance about this subject, but who would own a T Mobile phone besides someone with a T Mobile phone number?

          8. Sure, sharing is caring someone once said 😉

            To address your questions: Not ignorance… perhaps just you’ve not been pointed in the right direction 😀

            There is no Catch22…

            Question about the number:
            You will not need a number to port. Yes t-mo numbers can’t be “ported” since they are using the very same network and there would be nothing to port, but once getting HM service (i.e. getting a SIM card) you will receive what’s called a temporary number which will become your permanent one if you did not port an existing line.

            Question about the phone:
            You will not need a t-mobile phone and incidentally anyone can own a “t-mobile phone”… For instance someone who left t-mo and switched (for instance to RW or other carriers) but kept their smartphone. Also, anyone could buy a clean t-mo phone on ebay. But why get a branded device when there’s no need for that? T-mo phones are are just GMS phones using a SIM card so anyone could simply get an unlocked GSM phone of their liking (almost all will be compatible GSM networks like t-mo/att) et voilà, they got a phone ready to use on HM 🙂

            From HM FAQs page:
            – Can I keep my current device/phone that I have now?
            YES! As long as device is gsm and UNLOCKED or T-Mobile branded, you can use it on our network. To UNLOCK your device simply call your current carrier or visit any unlocking company to get this done.

            Key words here being GSM and UNLOCKED 🙂 As I noted before you can buy a phone that is already unlocked anywhere online (eBay, Amazon, Newegg, etc)

            Hope that clarifies things a little…

            Cheers and happy 4th of July weekend!

          9. Thank you for that insight. I do like the Motorola phones RW sells, and have thought about buying one “unlocked” and bringing it to a carrier. Problem is, I know I’m not technically knowledgeable about these things, and I’m afraid I’ll either buy one that’s not compatible with the network or get the right phone but not program it right so it won’t function for me….

          10. If you buy an unlocked Moto, you should be able to just pop in the SIM and be good to go.

          11. Like freakqnc basically said, any GSM phone that supports T-Mobile’s bands can be brought into Harbor Mobile. There is no Catch 22 with Harbor Mobile (Except you must apply for an EIN to be eligible as a business owner, but the process takes only around twenty minutes). And Harbor Mobile is not an MVNO but a reseller of T-Mobile Business Plans. Nearly any GSM phone will be compatible with T-Mobile. You could use a T-Mobile branded phone if you wanted, but any unlocked GSM phone would work perfectly as long as it supports T-Mobile’s bands. Just pop in your SIM and you’re likely good to go.

          12. Careful about opening an EIN–just consult your lawyer or accountant. You may be opening yourself up to Federal and state annual business licensure fees and tax reporting obligations. I’m not saying you are, I’m not an expert on that area. I’d look into it before leaping.

          13. Just a recommendation. You should check out Harbor Mobile. HM isn’t an MVNO but rather a T-Mobile business reseller, so you use a T-Mobile SIM and get unrestricted access to the T-Mobile network unlike with Metro PCS. As a bonus, unlike the regular T-Mobile plans, you have unlimited roaming both domestically and internationally. The $30 Plan includes 2.5GB LTE, Unlimited 2G, Unlimited Domestic/International Data Roaming, Unlimited Domestic/International Texting, Unlimited Domestic Calling, Unlimited Music Streaming. $40 will get you 4.5GB LTE and $50 will get you unlimited LTE. Also, worth noting since you mentioned data-only plans, HM has a $15 Data-Only Plan with 5GB LTE, Unlimited 2G, Unlimited Domestic/International Data Roaming, Unlimited Music Streaming. This plan will only work on tablets, hotspots, or any phone T-Mobile doesn’t sell directly (i.e. Oneplus One, Amazon Fire Phone). A few months ago, HM started requiring proof of business to sign up which wasn’t previously required. However it isn’t hard to sign up for an EIN as an individual proprietor online and submit the ensuing documentation to HM: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-%28EIN%29-Online . One of my friends had no issue with this approach and it works perfectly from what I see in forums. If you do happen to sign up, here’s my referral link if you want to use it: http://harbormobile.com/?affiliate_id=f119

          14. Appreciated the info about HM but please don’t push other services to make a buck through affiliate programs… that’s rather on the lame side in my book. That said I appreciated you letting me know about the additional option.
            PS: doesn’t depose to well that the coverage plan link yields a
            “Not Found
            The requested URL /pcc-customer.php was not found on this server.
            Apache/2.2.15 (Red Hat) Server at maps.eng.t-mobile.com Port 80”
            If the site doesn’t work what should prospective customers expect from their service? Just sayin’ 😉

          15. Don’t need to use the link if you don’t want ;). I would have recommended HM affiliate link or not. I also use FreedomPop, and I get no money recommending that. Since you’re a light user, I’d also recommend FP’s $0.00/Month 1GB LTE Data-Only Plan if you don’t mind VoIP. They recently added a feature called Premium Voice that allows you to make outgoing calls over the native Sprint Voice Network when you have poor data signal for a couple bucks a month. I personally use Hangouts for all my calling/texting, so I don’t have the FP Messaging App installed. Without that app installed, any call made using the native Dialer is automatically routed over the Sprint Voice Network, so I’ve found this new feature pretty convenient since I can make normal phone calls whenever I want now.

          16. I wouldn’t mind to use it… just gives a bad impression if added on a first post. Perhaps posting the main link and then giving one disclosing the affiliation would be perceived less as a post from someone with vested interests 😉

            Looked into FreedomPop a long while back (to get internet in a garage) but they use WiMax which is problematic at many levels. If FreedomPop was using anything other than that it might have been an option. If used for phones one needs a compatible device… the info on the site aren’t too clear in many areas. They aren’t upfront on what technology is used, which carrier network they’re on, what specs compatible phones would need to have, nor they state what’s the deal with talk and text… is it on at $0 once buying a data plan? Would it still work once reaching the max on data plan or voice/text use data (hence no data, no voice/text?

            The process isn’t straightforward on their site and many info are missing. But the main reason I dismissed them as an option years ago was that many in NYC had issues with WiMax and still do.

            HM map problem apparently is due to full site being redesigned. Supposedly there will be changes and they will roll out the new site in a few weeks. I know they’re on T-mo but that wasn’t the point… if they care so little about the site what level of service one could expect? I contacted chat rep and that was clarified as being part of growing pains (and was also given the t-mo link which I didn’t need but was nice to have an immediate response even afterhours… that sends a positive message which offset the broken link to a degree ;))

          17. Ah I see what you’re saying.  That’s true and prally sound advice.

            As for FreedomPop, it’s a data-only Sprint MVNO.  You definitely can use LTE.  No issue whatsoever on the data side. WiMax still works on older devices, but Sprint will phase it out at the end of this year I believe.  The activation fee for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is $20.  If you buy a FreedomPop device directly from them, there is no activation fee.  The list of compatible devices is here: https://forums.freedompop.com/discussion/6319/freedompops-supported-byod-list-sprint-apple-devices-dated-6-22-2015 . The free plan is 500MB LTE.  They have a feature where if you add friends by e-mail address you can get another 500MB, so you have a guaranteed grand total of 1GB LTE on the free plan (0.98GB) as long as you copy and paste the e-mail lists on Facebook/Slickdeals:  http://slickdeals.net/f/5276432-freedompop-friends . If you plan on going over the limit on the free plan, you have an overage charge of $0.02/MB.  Once you near your limit, your account is automatically charged $10 and that account credit is used for overages.  If you disable this feature, data may be cutoff within 100MB of the plan limit.  They have an unlimited data plan for $15 that includes 1GB LTE and Unlimited 128Kbps (Just last month it used to be Unlimited 3G ='( ): http://t.co/ptzeBVGKdf . Any minutes or texts they give you with your plan are just for use with their app. So you’re prally better off just using Hangouts/GV since there’s not much special about their app (That’s what I do). The Premium Voice feature they introduced is neat since you can make native outgoing calls now. If you are like me and don’t have the FP app installed, then any calls placed with the standard Android Dialer will simply work and display the FP # for Caller ID. If you have the FP app installed it will only let you make native calls if you have poor or nonexistent data signal. I’m typing up a storm, but you’re right that they don’t articulate all this information clearly enough. I can answer pretty much any question you could possibly have about FP however. Also, PM me and I can prally link you to some exclusive plans and deals they don’t normally make available.

            Good to hear about your customer service experience with Harbor Mobile =)

          18. Thanks for the much appreciated info about Freedom Pop. Since you said you can answer pretty much anything then I’ll ask away… for starters:

            – Do you work or are affiliate with Freedom Pop? (must’ve seen that coming ;D)

            – I don’t quite get the deal about data-only…so let’s assume a user was going to get a compatible device (from FP or BYOD). How would it work when placing and receiving calls?

            – Let’s say a user with a data-only 500MB plan needs to make a call, will such user have unlimited voice and text with 500MB data OR will call and text be using the data plan?

            – If the latter case, would FP devices still use data plan even when user is on wifi hence eating up plan’s data?

            – If the a subscriber is using hangouts, wouldn’t that use plan’s data?

            – With 3G speed it would make sense to call using data, but at 128Kbps not so much. How is the quality of your calls?

            – If the plan uses data for calls, text and data (email, web, updates, etc) WITHOUT ever using wifi for those, then 500MB will be gone in no time. Does FP allow offloading calls/text/data by using wifi when available?

            Thanks again for sharing the additional info 😉

            PS: Freedom Pop should really do something about their communication and marketing skills. Too much info is missing on their site. They could start by moving the list of compatible devices to the BYOD page on their site… providing a link to it would be the absolute must. Quite worrying that they are so bad at it.

          19. 1. Nope. Wouldn’t make money off referring free plans lol.

            2. Since the service is data-only, you need to use an app to call/text over 3G/LTE/WiFi. You could use the FreedomPop app; however, Hangouts/GV is far more robust service. Like I said earlier, FreedomPop just introduced a feature called Premium Voice for $2.99/Month which allows access to the Sprint Voice Network for outgoing calls when you have poor or nonexistent signal if you have the FreedomPop app installed. However, if you do not have the FreedomPop app installed, outgoing calls made via the native dialer will ALWAYS be routed over the native voice network. At least that’s how it has worked with my phone.

            3. If you use the FreedomPop app, all you have are a few hundred minutes and text. You even have to pay extra for voicemail. MMS doesn’t work. Use Hangouts instead… But yeah the only advantage to using the FreedomPop app would be that any data used by the app is not supposed to count towards the data allotment. It doesn’t really matter though. I’ve consumed less than 2MB with Hangouts over the past month (granted I might not have made any calls). Realistically, you aren’t going to use up much data just making calls and texts. Probably not this little but not over 100MB.

            4. On WiFi? No LOL… And again, you get basically 1GB LTE on the free plan when you use Freedom Friends. All you have to do is copy and paste the e-mail list on Slickdeals and people will add you back in a day or two. Then the 500MB LTE will be expanded to 1000MB LTE (Technically 0.98GB).

            5. See #3

            6. I’m not on the unlimited plan. For the free plan, you’ll have 1GB LTE (With Freedom Friends) and overage charges are $0.02/MB. Call quality would suck on throttled speeds. If you have Premium Voice, outgoing calls would just be normal phone calls and be crystal clear anyways though.

            7. Not much different than any other carrier there. If you are using WiFi, you are using WiFi, so has nothing to do with your data plan =).

            Yeah their website isn’t well designed to say the least…

          20. 2. Data only = use app to call, got that. I would be OK with hangout (I already use it now to call abroad since native dialer on RW phone won’t allow re-routing calls to google voice/hangouts service for unsupported international calls… which is something that should be improved indeed). You said that regardless of having Freedom Pop app or not, calls ALWAYS get routed on native voice network what’s the difference then? And how does one gets routed on the voice network if one isn’t paying a premium voice subscription? Would it mean that the user will get routed on the voice network but will be throttled down hence getting a crap quality call until they get the $2.99/mo for Premium Voice?

            3. So if one uses the freedom pop app there are “a few hundred minutes and text” included? Is that the case (if so what are the specific amounts minutes/texts), or are you making a ball park estimation based on placing and receiving calls and texts over the 500MB free data allotment? Calls on hangout consume about 0.75MB per minute therefore if you used just 2MB you haven’t used that at all 😉
            The “realistically” part of data usage for voice and text over hangout is simple to figure out: A 500MB allotment would allow some 11h of calls (as 495MB at 0.75MB/min would mean ~660 minutes/mo or 22min/day). The remaining 5MB should be able to handle as many text (SMS) messages (no MMS/picture messaging etc.) that an average person might send in a month. Although this way there would be no actual data left, as all 500MB would go towards voice and text! So let’s compromise and say we would split those 495MB in 2 to get roughly 250MB of data, some 5.5h/mo of calls (or 330min/mo 11min/day average) and 5MB for text messages
            If service is usable, which means having clear calls, no call dropping and good coverage (i.e. connection is there when needed) then, considering this would be totally free (aside from buying a phone to use with Freedom Pop that is ), then it ain’t bad at all!

            One thing I do not understand though is how FP app use won’t count towards data allotment… what would the app use to function (place/receive calls or update itself) then?

            Note: the above 0.75MB/min was taken from info available here: http://bit.ly/1Cmp5eS

            4. So you mean that on WiFi Freedom pop won’t use cell data for calls (made via their app or hangouts), SMS, or general data usage, would that be correct? I didn’t quite get the Freedom Friends email list on slick deals part… that said, if getting 0.98GB data plan, would that be an upgrade for the lifetime of the subscription or just a one-time thing?

            6. So it looks like one would have to get the $2.99 premium Voice to get clear calls or call quality would irremediably suck, right?

            7. Well not really… if you are using Wifi on most carriers you are not using wifi when placing/receiving calls or sending/receiving text. In that case you are using the digital data allotment for voice and text which as wifi is used only for data. Since on Freedom pop it’s all data and there seem to be no voice and text allotments, one would be always using data for everything calls/text/data… so when you said there is no much difference between carriers and Freedom Pop when it comes to cell data use vs. WiFi you mean that if you are on wifi, then that traffic won’t go via cell network therefore it won’t impact the cell data allotment on Freedom Pop, correct?

            PS: PM on Reddit? Was lucky it was me and I remembered the pass to get in ;P Got the PM, thanks! 😉

          21. OK from the top. The free plan includes 500MB LTE as well as 200 Minutes/500 Texts on the FreedomPop App. When you add friends you permanently raise the monthly data allowance by 500MB (0.98GB LTE Total) and have overage charges of $0.02/MB.

            The Premium Voice service is a new feature that lets you use the native Sprint Voice Network for outgoing calls ($2.99/Month) when you have poor data signal. Basically what I was saying is that if you have the FreedomPop App installed, it will redirect calls over to the app even if you have only one bar 3G. It only seems to let you use the voice network if you have 1X or no signal. However if you do not have the app installed, then ANY call made with the normal dialer/phone app will simply work and display the FP # as Caller ID. In other words, the app will not redirect you to the app if the app isn’t installed!

            So what I recommend is that you bring a device over to FreedomPop, get on the free plan, and expand it to 0.98GB LTE. Don’t install the FreedomPop App and use Hangouts instead. Use Premium Voice ($2.99/Month) and you can make normal phone calls whenever you want since the app isn’t installed.

          22. Again thanks for the much appreciated info. It’s all welcome since I am seriously considering leaving RW as I really don’t appreciate how the company has started operating. Rolling out the new subscription plan models without even a shred of consideration for existing subscribers as RW hasn’t even given the remotest thought about getting feedback from current customers, nor has given a shred of forewarning about what was going to be a permanent change for everyone.

            In theory I could be one of the new happy campers at $17.50 or less per month. But since I’ve been with RW for over 1.5 years now, I am extremely disappointed with RW and I help but feel cheated. Therefore despite I’d be somewhat OK under the new plan (as long as I stick with my hyperawareness of not using cell data on the go), I am actively exploring other service options, even if that would cost me some initial investment of at least new phone since the RW will be useless anywhere else. So thank you again for sending along info and PMs. I appreciate it.

          23. Thank you, Tim, for clarifying that. It does make things much simpler to understand.

      2. I don’t think you get it. RW includes 5GB in its $25 plan because that’s what it takes to lure customers away from a mainstream service that actually works. This is a little cheaper but half baked. Now they want to jack up the price by stripping out the data. That’s not a value proposition, its a kiss goodbye.

        1. I see you dropping the mike like a boss after that 😛 sadly as you may have gathered by now I see this RW Maestro plan much the same way 🙁

      3. Makes no sense. You can use WiFi as much or as little as you want on any carrier. You can’t justify this price increase by saying that most customers will be using WiFi for most of their needs anyway.

      4. That’s an awesome idea. When I’m at home with my router, at a public place w/ free wi-fi, I’m on it. However, when I’m on the road (often), at out of the way places (semi-often) I’m using cell data. And if there aren’t cell towers nearby, I have to use a portable hotspot. It’s even more frustrating when my phone is showing it’s on a cell network and my wife’s phone (exact same model and settings) shows Roaming and we’re right next to each other. So I agree with Steven Von in that apparently RW is meant only for people who only use their home routers and walk quickly to free wi-fi spots and use just as little cell data as they can get by with and the rest of us who travel a bit more, we’re ripping off the system.

    2. Check out my post here (https://goo.gl/xqhl95) for why I think they are doing what they’re doing. They are probably limited in the deals they can offer by their contract with Sprint. Ultimately, the point is that in aggregate they are saving their customers money because the vast majority of them don’t use more than 2 GB of data.

      I should also mention that using this little data is only possible with RW because other telecoms don’t give you the tools to easily connect to Wi-Fi like RW does. Therefore, more than likely people that switch from RW to another provider probably end up using far more data than when they were on a RW plan.

      1. You nailed it!

        Our phones and service are smarter right out of the box. We’ve totally rebuilt our app from scratch and are adding TONS of tools and resources to our site that help your phone sniff out WiFi at every turn and corner. We have engineered our devices and app to save – save money, data, all of it!

        Everyone uses a lot of data – but there is a fundamental difference between WiFi data and Cell data. With WiFi networks on the rise, how we help is by giving people a smartphone that does everything a normal cell phone does and more with the added power of WiFi for talk, texts, and collecting a sweet refund each month.

        There’s no wrong way to stay connected – we are in the business of helping you have coverage in more places, for less money.

        Thanks for the comment and the write up Tim!

        1. Unfortunately that wifi sniffing “feature” is a colossal pain in the ass when using the TuneIn app while driving through town.

        2. Median data usage in the US is 2.5GB and you’re charging a higher marginal rate for service. You’re not saving customers ANY money, you’re saving RW money by reducing your wholesale expenditure. Why do you talk to customers like they are idiots? You’re not paying for my WiFi access, I am ($60/month). Why not refund me when I don’t use the macro cellular network instead? I’m saving YOU money, but you’re not saving ME money. Most of the time your WiFI service doesn’t even work, so what exactly are we saving? Your per GB wholesale rate hovers around $4/GB but you have the audacity to charge $15, that is 375% markup!

        3. RW’s phones are so much smarter that you can’t even place a call with them. But at least the service is cheaper. Well, at least it used to be?

        4. I’ve been using wifi for data long before RW started. You guys really have to stop saying you invented that. You did not and every carrier & every MVNO & every smartphone does it. And has been doing that. Making calls over wifi is your only unique technical contribution. I guess you don’t tout that because the call quality is pretty poor? The only real reason for folks switching is (was) the price. Pure & simple. There was no technical advance that added to quality of service. Period.

          1. Other providers also have for some time allowed WiFi calling. The sound quality is a step down, but it’s a nice backup if you happen to be at a WiFi location that has no data coverage. Except for Google Fi, though, I think RW has an edge in terms of “handoff” so that when you walk out of your WiFi zone the call doesn’t just drop–that only matters, of course, if you actually want to place calls over WiFi and endure the lower sound quality.

      2. Median data usage in the United States is now 2.5GB. I don’t know why you think you’re getting a good deal when you’re actually paying a higher marginal rate. You’re not saving money, you’re saving RW money. I guess math is hard.

        1. You’re comparing apples and oranges. Just because the majority of people use more than 2 GB of data on a normal carrier does not mean that RW should set up their plan structure based on this. As I mention in the post I linked to (which you apparently didn’t read), RW has done their research and have found that only 8 percent of their customers use more than 2 GB of data (and I’m guessing that out of even those people, most of them aren’t using that much on a consistent basis). The point is that they are helping at least 92 percent of their customers save money.

      3. The other providers all allow you to offload data to WiFi. This is by no means unique to RW. Only with RW, if you have a WiFi network on your phone, you’ll have a hard time placing a call while mobile. Big advantage!

        1. “…you’ll have a hard time placing a call while mobile.” I don’t understand what you’re saying. They readily admit that the fact that they partner with Sprint makes them not the ideal fit for everyone. In fact they specifically advise people that aren’t in an area with good Sprint coverage and/or without a consistent Wi-Fi connection to not try to use their service.

          “The other providers all allow you to offload data to WiFi. This is by no means unique to RW.” They do allow you to offload to Wi-Fi, but they do not provide the simple automatic connection methods that RW provides. Ultimately, I think the data proves that this is helping their customers save a significant amount of money. Specifically, over 92 percent of their customers use less than 2 GB of data per month whereas I’ve heard the average usage on a normal carrier is something like 2.5 GB.

          1. Every smartphone has had automatic WiFi connection for years, and the multi minute dialing delays attendant to placing a call on RW, which RW blames on Android apps, is a major problem only RW customers can “enjoy”–don’t fool yourself into thinking its a Sprint problem.

          2. So you think the lower data usage (and significantly greater amount of Wi-Fi usage) from RW customers is just a coincidence?

          3. First, I am unconvinced RW customers use proportionally more WiFi than cellular data compared with customers of other cellular service providers/resellers. But even if it’s true that they are, I would look to plausible explanations for the variance such as the reasonable expectation a higher proportion of RW customers are home-based and on a budget reflecting that life situation than with other carriers since that would explain their need to cut costs and ability to remain connected to WiFi; the alternative explanation that you imagine, in which the only phones physically capable of routing data traffic through WiFi are those sold by RW, must be wrong since it’s based on a mistake of fact.

            Second, it’s important for the sake of your argument to establish an apples-to-apples comparison of data usage between carriers. Since RW almost uniquely transfers its its voice traffic into a low-quality VOIP format, RW call quality is not only lower than its competitors but RW asserts its WiFi-based voice calls are data rather than voice. This is a factor that misrepresents a real comparison of proportional RW customer WiFi data usage with normal cellular service customers. On this point, it will be interesting to see if Google’s Fi service sacrifices as much on sound quality, dial delay, and non-English characters in texting to make WiFi VOIP work as RW’s brain trust has.

    3. But there is no doubt that this will save money for the majority of users. And it opens the door for the thousands of users who could never justify spending $15 extra dollars 1) that they might not be able to afford, or 2) to add data they’d barely use.

      1. You wrote “there is no doubt that this will save money for the majority of users”, and I am not sure how you could know that without insider access to billing files. But the bigger point is that any modest savings, to the extent you’re right about their existence on average, is more than offset by a radical slashing of the value delivered for the money: reducing the $25/mo by 20% while cutting the 5GB by 80% to 1GB is not a value delivered improvement–quite the opposite.

        I honestly cannot understand why the advocates for the alleged minute relative savings are being so myopic in their willful dismissal of the profound services downgrade. What’s the problem with looking at the total picture, and not just the supposed small savings that go along with sacrificing most of the service you’re buying?

        1. RW discloses average cell data usage. In June, average cell data usage was 0.58gb. In each of the past six months, the average is between 0.50gb and 0.58gb.

          Unclear if this average includes people who don’t even have a cell data plan. I would assume not, but you never know!

          1. We have to be careful to distinguish between a marketing claim and a disclosure. An advertisement plays an important role in convincing people to, say, spend much more money on a phone bill for far less phone service, and even when it’s coupled with a celebrity endorsement most people recognize that it’s a commercial enticement rather than a revelation of divinely pure truth. As you pointed out, the parameters of the claim are hugely relevant and left undefined.

            On the other hand, a disclosure is a bringing out of truth, in a form that is rigorously defined and not subjective in any way. It’s credibility comes into play as a result of the independent auditors report that accompanies it.

          2. I agree that we must be careful. Personally, I would save money if this new “option” was mandatory. But I’m not everybody. And I don’t exactly trust that their reported average.

            I don’t totally agree with the rest, though. For me, my bill was cut by $35 and the service is functionally the same as T-Mobile. My calls aren’t dropping, etc. And I’m not attacking you here, but I’m curious to your motivations for posting here, given that you’re not a RW member. Aggrieved former member looking to enlighten current members?

    4. …and Google Fi is charging you $20 for calls and texting whereas Republic is charging you half that. Pick your poison.

      1. For that $20 you get TWO cellular networks, international roaming (including data at same-as-home price) and international calling.

        And at only $10/GB, if you use over 2GB, Fi is the better deal even if you don’t care about the dual-carrier or international roaming features.

        1. Sit tight Mike, the two cell networks are on their way too. But I understand your situation. I exist in a Wi-Fi environment, and if I’m out and about, I’m not streaming data and use little if any. If I use more than 50mb this month I’m overboard. Republic in buyback mode is a perfect fit and business model for me. But I wouldn’t sweat anything just yet, because I think there is a good chance you may be able to maintain your current $40 account even after changes. Stay tuned and good luck. If you opt for fi, keep us informed.

    5. Thanks for posting that. To read RWs copy on this massive price hike, you’d think they think they are the only ones with calculators and that are gullible enough to think a $25 plan now costing $55 is a $16 savings!

      The second this plan change goes into effect is the moment the fan boys become the entire customer base and RW closes its doors.

  2. So if you use 2gb of data you pay exactly what you can pay in other places for the same plan, if they don’t want people to use the smart part of their cell phones just sell an ipod with the app for the phone service, it’s the same thing, and 0 data, mind blown!

    I thought that I would be able to buy the gb on the same price range as the 40dll plan and be ok with it, I don’t use that much data, I have the wifi only plan and wanted a cheap option to upgrade, while you may think it is, it is more expensive per unit than buying bulk like the 5gb for 40dll plan, you get less than half data for the same price.

    Yes you are paying less in the bill, but also yes you are paying way more for data, it is truly regrettable that they changed their ways from user focus to corporate greed.

    5 or 10 dll plans are really the only ones you need according to them and helps them to do 0 data, always use wifi and you’re set, why bother offering data if you really don’t want us to use it?

    1. Everyone uses lots of data – where we help unlock extra savings is by helping you use more of it on WiFi. It isn’t about price per GB – it’s about total end cost and what you pay month over month for service. Our members testing these plans with us are seeing an avg. monthly savings of $9-$19 per month.

      It’s called “breakage” – it’s a made up industry term. Essentially, the other guys want you to buy in way up high in the cell data usage range, but really, most folks use way WAY lower than where they get you to buy in. Why? Because of all that sweet, money-saving WiFi that’s out there, waiting to be tapped into. That’s where we come in – giving you all the coverage and capability of a normal cellphone, but with the added power of WiFi for talk, text, and getting paid back each month too.

      1. You keep saying data, but I don’t think it means what you think it means… Wifi is not data, wifi is home/work/static place, data is mobile data, as in outside, moving.

        Well yeah, if you use wifi you don’t use data, then you have to be somewhere with wifi and get access to it, if you’re on the road and decide hey I want to hear music or watch something I got sent then I pay more, we try to help you by using wifi, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have to or don’t need to use the data.

        The least you could do is make it a little bit more fair for heavy as well as light users, because I can honestly say you’re math and statistics are way WAY off, as in wrong, trust me, I’m an engineer and I have a calculator.

        To each his own, I guess I have to stay on the wifi plan then

        1. Not quite, there’s WiFi data and there’s cell data. Data – at it’s core is what you use to connect to the Internet, download an app, stream a song or video. This can happen using data over WiFi, or it can happen using data over a cellular network. Our service marries the two – and further – our entire service is engineered to save, by helping you offload as much of that data onto available WiFi as possible. So – in that regard – we are helping heavy users by offering a service that expands your service beyond that of a normal smartphone and uses WiFi for more than just Internet – but for talk, text, and mobile data as well.

          1. The data that people buy from you is cellular data, the 5GB on your great new competitive alternative to the big guys, and that’s the piece you’re now jacking up from $25 to $55 per month under the new new “money saving” plan. Or, looked at the other way, $25 at RW is now going to buy you only one fifth of the cellular data you were lured here with at that exact price.

            Not cool.

          2. Most smartphones these days can use wifi for data, RW is far from the only one. “Data” in terms of “buying data” means cell data. You know that or wouldn’t have done Maestro in the first place. Wifi is only useful when you have access to a high-quality wifi network which is basically at home or at work. People do a lot of living between home & work. Again, that’s the whole reason for Maestro. Don’t treat us like dummies here.

          3. The reason Pity Add pointed out is also the reason we call these things “mobile phones”. Hopefully nobody is spending $150-$400 for WiFi only–that’s called a “cordless phone”, and it’s screen is too small for the price compared with the available tablets in that price range.

    1. It is being actively tested. We keep finding bugs in the packs they send us. Every time we find and fix one, it has to be resubmitted thru multiple companies’ certification processes. It is on my phone right now and the home button doesn’t work, which is pretty lame. I’ve gotten amazingly good at opening superfluous apps and using the app screen though to get to where I need to go over clicking the back button 1,000 times. If this is an experience you would like to try, we can give it to you right now! 😉

      1. What about all of the snafus in RW service. Are you going to roll out 5.1 with the delayed dialing issue unresolved, no foriegn characters in texting, voicemail still lumped into the call history, etc.?

  3. How long will the current plans be grandfathered? Do you know yet? We are on the $10 per month plan and only use data on WiFi. I would be happy to stick with the $10 plan permanently, but have a feeling it might go away at some point thus being pushed to a data plan we don’t want/need…

    1. With Maestro, everyone still has the option to do Wi-Fi only. They can just purchased data to go on top of that and get reimbursed for what they don’t use. That plan is RW’s bread and butter. It won’t be going anywhere any time soon, and I would wager that as Wi-Fi coverage increases, it will become an even bigger portion of RW’s customer base.

          1. Keep everything like it is .. But add the maestro as another option— that way rw and the customers, Both have more options,,which brings more customer base.

          2. Thank you, give users the option to do the pay as you go Maestro option and give them the option of the current plans. If I can’t keep my current $25 a month unlimited plan, I am considering leaving for another network.

      1. And what guarantee do we have of that? You can say whatever you want – it is a contract-free month-to-month service. All you’re obligated to is this month’s service at the price I already paid for it. What happens in a few months when all the <1GB users have moved off the 'breakage' plans and only the less-profitable users are on them? Especially if you start losing money (which, if we are to believe what you've told us, you will) – you'll pull the plug on the 'breakage' plans as fast as you pulled the plug on roaming data. When people complain "but you promised…" you'll point out that there's no contract, therefore no guarantee.

        1. Bandwidth will never go away – they are the backbone to the Google services used with Hangouts and Google Voice. I have a feeling Google will pump them full of cash before they go anywhere.

          1. I never suggested that anybody would “go away” (though I’m not as convinced as you of their durability) — I was merely pointing out that they can SAY they’ll grandfather the ‘unlimited’ users, but that’s only as good as their word. As a prepaid carrier, they are under no obligation to do anything other than sell you a month’s service at their current rate. Anything more is a “gentleman’s agreement” and not legally binding nor enforceable.

      2. This is why I cancelled my plans. T-Mobile has unlimited data with no caps right now for $50. I get that this is more expensive than the $25 I was paying, but who knows how long they’re going to offer the no-caps data plan. I am not gonna wait until Jun next year to find out that they no longer offer it.

        You’re just pushing customers away, under the guise of trying to “help” customers save money. In no way is this what you are doing. Your Maestro plan is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    1. And what guarantee do we have of that? You can say whatever you want – it is a contract-free month-to-month service. All you’re obligated to is this month’s service at the price I already paid for it. What happens in a few months when all the <1GB users have moved off the 'breakage' plans and only the less-profitable users are on them? Especially if you start losing money (which, if we are to believe what you've told us, you will) – you'll pull the plug on the 'breakage' plans as fast as you pulled the plug on roaming data. When people complain "but you promised…" you'll point out that there's no contract, therefore no guarantee.

    2. This is why I cancelled my RW plans. T-Mobile has unlimited data with no caps right now for $50. I get that this is more expensive than the $25 I was paying, but who knows how long they’re going to offer the no-caps T-Mobile data plan… so I gotta jump on it now. And even though they’re a no-contract carrier just like RW, they actually honor existing agreements and allow you to keep your plan for as long as you maintain T-Mobile service. This is what RW should have done. Instead, they’ll lose customers like me. Saving money on existing customers isn’t going to help you convince people on other carriers that your plan is a better alternative. You’ll lose existing customers and have a very hard time getting new ones cuz you don’t have a value-proposition like you used to. You’re the same price, or even more expensive than lots of plans out there now under this Maestro plan.

      You’re just pushing customers away, under the guise of trying to “help” customers save money. In no way is this what you are doing. Your Maestro plan is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    3. Thank you, give users the option to do the pay as you go Maestro option and give them the option of the current plans. If I can’t keep my current $25 a month unlimited plan, I am considering leaving for another network.

  4. It is being actively tested. We keep finding bugs in the packs they send us. Every time we find and fix one, it has to be resubmitted thru multiple companies’ certification processes. It is on my phone right now and the home button doesn’t work, which is pretty lame. I’ve gotten amazingly good at opening superfluous apps and using the app screen though to get to where I need to go over clicking the back button 1,000 times. If this is an experience you would like to try, we can give it to you right now! 😉

  5. You nailed it!

    Our phones and service are smarter right out of the box. We’ve totally rebuilt our app from scratch and are adding TONS of tools and resources to our site that help your phone sniff out WiFi at every turn and corner. We have engineered our devices and app to save – save money, data, all of it!

    Everyone uses a lot of data – but there is a fundamental difference between WiFi data and Cell data. With WiFi networks on the rise, how we help is by giving people a smartphone that does everything a normal cell phone does and more with the added power of WiFi for talk, texts, and collecting a sweet refund each month.

    There’s no wrong way to stay connected – we are in the business of helping you have coverage in more places, for less money.

    Thanks for the comment and the write up Tim!

    1. Other providers also have for some time allowed WiFi calling. The sound quality is a step down, but it’s a nice backup if you happen to be at a WiFi location that has no data coverage. Except for Google Fi, though, I think RW has an edge in terms of “handoff” so that when you walk out of your WiFi zone the call doesn’t just drop–that only matters, of course, if you actually want to place calls over WiFi and endure the lower sound quality.

  6. Steven,

    I think you’re right that it’s disrespectful to claim a massive price increase is a savings offer. Thanks for posting that.

    To assert that cutting 4GB out of the $25 5GB plan is a savings (along with some theoretical de minimus price reduction in the form of a future month’s discount), or that increasing the price of 5GB from $25 to $55 is part of a pro-consumer price savings “lab” is insulting because it suggests a person might be gullible enough to believe something so obviously wrong and contrary to customers’ interests.

  7. I don’t think you get it. RW includes 5GB in its $25 plan because that’s what it takes to lure customers away from a mainstream service that actually works. This is a little cheaper but half baked. Now they want to jack up the price by stripping out the data. That’s not a value proposition, its a kiss goodbye.

  8. “…you’ll have a hard time placing a call while mobile.” I don’t understand what you’re saying. They readily admit that the fact that they partner with Sprint makes them not the ideal fit for everyone. In fact they specifically advise people that aren’t in an area with good Sprint coverage and/or without a consistent Wi-Fi connection to not try to use their service.

    “The other providers all allow you to offload data to WiFi. This is by no means unique to RW.” They do allow you to offload to Wi-Fi, but they do not provide the simple automatic connection methods that RW provides. Ultimately, I think the data proves that this is helping their customers save a significant amount of money. Specifically, over 92 percent of their customers use less than 2 GB of data per month whereas I’ve heard the average usage on a normal carrier is something like 2.5 GB.

    1. Sorry, let me clarify. Every smartphone has had automatic WiFi connection for years, and the multi minute dialing delays attendant to placing a call on RW, which RW blames anecdotally on unspecified Android apps that only seem to trip up RW phones, is a major problem. Sprint’s spotty data coverage is a separate issue, and while RW may admit it–and we should respect their honesty about it, and not blame them for Sprint’s shortcomings–that doesn’t make the RW user experience any better when watching a video clip on the train to work.

      Tim, if I may ask, how do you know what percentage of RW customers use which amount of data? You seem to have such specific insight into this one particular private company.

      1. First, I am unconvinced RW customers use proportionally more WiFi than cellular data compared with customers of other cellular service providers/resellers. But even if it’s true that they do, I would look to plausible explanations for the variance such as the reasonable expectation a higher proportion of RW customers are home-based and on a budget reflecting that life situation than with other carriers since that would explain their need to cut costs and their ability to remain connected to WiFi; the alternative explanation that you imagine, that RW customers are more heavily reliant on WiFi for their data consumption because they have the only phones physically capable of routing data traffic through WiFi, has to be an incorrect explanation since it’s based on at least one mistake of fact.

        Second, it’s important for the sake of your argument to establish an apples-to-apples comparison of data usage between carriers. Since RW almost uniquely transfers its its voice traffic into a low-quality VOIP format, RW call quality is not only lower than its competitors but RW counts its WiFi-based voice calls as data rather than voice. This is a factor that misrepresents a real comparison of proportional RW customer WiFi data usage with normal cellular service customers. On this point, it will be interesting to see if Google’s Fi service sacrifices as much on sound quality, dial delay, and non-English characters in texting to make WiFi VOIP work as RW’s team has.

  9. If it’s true that you use very little data, then I have to ask you why you would bother with RW at all in the first place. Consider these nominally “everything unlimited” plans:
    RW: $150 phone, $25+tax monthly, poor voice quality, spotty 3G data, plus the RW issues (no 800 support number, bizarre visual voicemail burial in the call history, dialing delays, no foreign characters in text messages, short code messaging that still doesn’t completely work in spite of the claim, disappearing keyboard while typing, frequent app crashes, etc.), after 5GB the data spigot is shut off

    Metro PCS: Free phone, $25 including tax monthly ($30 for one line, but if you have a family plan of two or more lines they knock off $5 per line), excellent voice quality, robust 4G, and no issues, after 1GB data continues but at a throttled speed (and $35 get’s you twice as much data, 2GB, now at LTE speeds)

    All of which is simply to ask, what are you–you, who doesn’t use much data, especially–doing here?

    1. Just a recommendation. You should check out Harbor Mobile. HM isn’t an MVNO but rather a T-Mobile business reseller, so you use a T-Mobile SIM and get unrestricted access to the T-Mobile network unlike with Metro PCS. As a bonus, unlike the regular T-Mobile plans, you have unlimited roaming both domestically and internationally. The $30 Plan includes 2.5GB LTE, Unlimited 2G, Unlimited Domestic/International Data Roaming, Unlimited Domestic/International Texting, Unlimited Domestic Calling, Unlimited Music Streaming. $40 will get you 4.5GB LTE and $50 will get you unlimited LTE. Also, worth noting since you mentioned data-only plans, HM has a $15 Data-Only Plan with 5GB LTE, Unlimited 2G, Unlimited Domestic/International Data Roaming, Unlimited Music Streaming. This plan will only work on tablets, hotspots, or any phone T-Mobile doesn’t sell directly (i.e. Oneplus One, Amazon Fire Phone). A few months ago, HM started requiring proof of business to sign up which wasn’t previously required. However it isn’t hard to sign up for an EIN as an individual proprietor online and submit the ensuing documentation to HM: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-%28EIN%29-Online . One of my friends had no issue with this approach and it works perfectly from what I see in forums. If you do happen to sign up, here’s my referral link if you want to use it: http://harbormobile.com/?affiliate_id=f119

      1. Appreciated the info about HM but please don’t push other services to make a buck through affiliate programs… that’s rather on the lame side in my book. That said I appreciated you letting me know about the additional option.
        PS: doesn’t depose to well that the coverage plan link yields a
        “Not Found
        The requested URL /pcc-customer.php was not found on this server.
        Apache/2.2.15 (Red Hat) Server at maps.eng.t-mobile.com Port 80”
        If the site doesn’t work what should prospective customers expect from their service? Just sayin’ 😉

        1. Don’t need to use the link if you don’t want ;). I would have recommended HM affiliate link or not. I also use FreedomPop, and I get no money recommending that. Since you’re a light user, I’d also recommend FP’s $0.00/Month 1GB LTE Data-Only Plan if you don’t mind VoIP. They recently added a feature called Premium Voice that allows you to make outgoing calls over the native Sprint Voice Network when you have poor data signal for a couple bucks a month. I personally use Hangouts for all my calling/texting, so I don’t have the FP Messaging App installed. Without that app installed, any call made using the native Dialer is automatically routed over the Sprint Voice Network, so I’ve found this new feature pretty convenient since I can make normal phone calls now.

          PS: Odd the map isn’t showing. Checked it out and I see the same thing. Well the coverage is exactly the same as T-Mobile Postpaid (Except Unlimited Roaming). Since it’s a T-Mobile Business Plan, you shouldn’t have any service issues unless T-Mobile is affected.

          1. Ah I see what you’re saying.  That’s true and prally sound advice.

            As for FreedomPop, it’s a data-only Sprint MVNO.  You definitely can use LTE.  No issue whatsoever on the data side. WiMax still works on older devices, but Sprint will phase it out at the end of this year I believe.  The activation fee for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is $20.  If you buy a FreedomPop device directly from them, there is no activation fee.  The list of compatible devices is here: https://forums.freedompop.com/discussion/6319/freedompops-supported-byod-list-sprint-apple-devices-dated-6-22-2015 . The free plan is 500MB LTE.  They have a feature where if you add friends by e-mail address you can get another 500MB, so you have a guaranteed grand total of 1GB LTE on the free plan (0.98GB) as long as you copy and paste the e-mail lists on Facebook/Slickdeals:  http://slickdeals.net/f/5276432-freedompop-friends . If you plan on going over the limit on the free plan, you have an overage charge of $0.02/MB.  Once you near your limit, your account is automatically charged $10 and that account credit is used for overages.  If you disable this feature, data may be cutoff within 100MB of the plan limit.  They have an unlimited data plan for $15 that includes 1GB LTE and Unlimited 128Kbps (Just last month it used to be Unlimited 3G ='( ): http://t.co/ptzeBVGKdf . Any minutes or texts they give you with your plan are just for use with their app. So you’re prally better off just using Hangouts/GV since there’s not much special about their app (That’s what I do). The Premium Voice feature they introduced is neat since you can make native outgoing calls now. If you are like me and don’t have the FP app installed, then any calls placed with the standard Android Dialer will simply work and display the FP # for Caller ID. If you have the FP app installed it will only let you make native calls if you have poor or nonexistent data signal. I’m typing up a storm, but you’re right that they don’t articulate all this information clearly enough. I can answer pretty much any question you could possibly have about FP however.

            Good to hear about your customer service experience with Harbor Mobile =)

          2. Again thanks for the much appreciated info. It’s all welcome since I am seriously considering leaving RW as I really don’t appreciate how the company has started operating. Rolling out the new subscription plan models without even a shred of consideration for existing subscribers as RW hasn’t even given the remotest thought about getting feedback from current customers, nor has given a shred of forewarning about what was going to be a permanent change for everyone.

            In theory I could be one of the new happy campers at $17.50 or less per month. But since I’ve been with RW for over 1.5 years now, I am extremely disappointed with RW and I help but feel cheated. Therefore despite I’d be somewhat OK under the new plan (as long as I stick with my hyperawareness of not using cell data on the go), I am actively exploring other service options, even if that would cost me some initial investment of at least new phone since the RW will be useless anywhere else. So thank you again for sending along info and PMs. I appreciate it.

    2. Thanks for writing back. I looked at that Harbor Web site you linked to. It seems a good service deal they offer (it doesn’t look like they sell handsets), but there’s a Catch 22 problem with it: the only way to use their service is with a T Mobile phone, and also the only way to use it is to port over a number from any carrier other than T Mobile.

      Now, you may have to point out my ignorance about this subject, but who would own a T Mobile phone besides someone with a T Mobile phone number?

  10. Um… This means 5 gb is now $75… No thanks. Crappy deal. Will switch right away if implemented.

  11. If I were to purchase the current MotoX phone and start using RW now, would I be able to upgrade the phone by download in the future to Lollipop? Or do I have to wait for it to be sold as a new phone?

    1. When I got the moto g, they did a major system update and it was free. I only assume it works the same way for the new moto x.

    2. once a version of Lollipop is working on a Republic Moto X there will be an OTA to upgrade current Moto X to that version (they did this for the update to 4.4.2 KitKat from 4.2.2 Jellybean for the Gen 1, also for 4.4.4 Kitkat from 4.4.2 Kitkat for the Moto X 1st Gen and Moto G) these OTA happen before the phones were ever shipped with the new OS (new phones also had to get the update for awhile. Each model of phone will need it’s own ROM and may not all happen at once and the OTA will be rooled out in batches (about %10 per day for 2 weeks)

      1. Thank you for the detailed answer. I will take advantage of the reduction in price of the Moto X now since I will be able to update it later, for free.

  12. Here’s my personal experience: When I drive, my Moto X will still try to attach to the various wifi access points (at a stop light for example), and this interferes with navigation app (Waze). So I turn off WiFi as part of my driving start. And I don’t always remember to turn it back on. I am all for wifi offloading, but I’m not really going to try that hard as long as cellular provides a more reliable experience.

  13. So, you picked the members to beta test that you knew use more Wifi and less cell data. I wonder what the results would have been if you had randomly selected the beta testers., instead of picking the ones you knew would support the story you’re trying to sell people on.

    I think we all know what would happen… bills go up, not down.

  14. I’m one of those users who rarely uses cell data. For one thing, I never even consider watching Netflix on the highway. I find alternatives by pre-downloading any content I may want through programs like plex or Google play music. That being said, I still need data for last minute Google searches, calendar and note synchronization, and for GPS maps and route calculation. All of this said, is a very small amount of data. I’m sure my usage doesn’t even reach the hundreds of megabytes, let alone a gigabyte. The option to pay for small amounts is certainly the better option for me!

  15. When I got the moto g, they did a major system update and it was free. I only assume it works the same way for the new moto x.

    1. there is never a charge for an OTA of a OS on a phone as long as the update is done over WiFi and not download though the Cell Data channel

  16. Wait, I’m not quite sure I understand this correctly – is Republic going to more of a “Ting” style of pricing where you buy little chunks of minutes/text/data and pay more than the full pricing of other MVNOS? At least that’s what it sounds like from the description above.

    Here’s the problem… With Google Voice Service, you can pair your mobile device with a Sprint Data only line for $15 per GB – or the same rate you are now offering. With FreedomPop, I get the same style of VoIP service for $20 a month with a GB (and I can earn additional data by grouping with friends or family…) You are losing the battle with that move.

    Originally, the $19 – 3G plan was pretty unbeatable. Then the device costs got crazy, and so did the $40 ‘unlimited’ plan. The market has caught up a bit. T-Mobile now has MVNO’s that offer unlimited talk, text and 2G data for $25 flat. That’s a pretty good deal. You guys were right there until this move. Unless this is an OR deal, many people will jump ship to the lower cost MVNO’s and the lower cost handsets. Sure, they can rock an iPhone 5 on these plans, but most of them are just bread and butter users that rack up a few hundred minutes a month, send a few texts and check social media. They don’t need a tiered system for that.

    1. WAIT! I JUST FIGURED IT OUT!!!

      This is to compete with Bandwidths other Google Project Fi thing!!!

      Google Project Fi…

      Unlimited Talk and Text – $20 a month
      Data is purchased in 1GB chunks for $10 per GB
      Unused data is refunded at a rate of $1 per .1 GB monthly.

      Does this sound vaguely familiar?

  17. Wait, I’m not quite sure I understand this correctly – is Republic going to more of a “Ting” style of pricing where you buy little chunks of minutes/text/data and pay more than the full pricing of other MVNOS? At least that’s what it sounds like from the description above.

    Here’s the problem… With Google Voice Service, you can pair your mobile device with a Sprint Data only line for $15 per GB – or the same rate you are now offering. With FreedomPop, I get the same style of VoIP service for $20 a month with a GB (and I can earn additional data by grouping with friends or family…) You are losing the battle with that move.

    Originally, the $19 – 3G plan was pretty unbeatable. Then the device costs got crazy, and so did the $40 ‘unlimited’ plan. The market has caught up a bit. T-Mobile now has MVNO’s that offer unlimited talk, text and 2G data for $25 flat. That’s a pretty good deal. You guys were right there until this move. Unless this is an OR deal, many people will jump ship to the lower cost MVNO’s and the lower cost handsets. Sure, they can rock an iPhone 5 on these plans, but most of them are just bread and butter users that rack up a few hundred minutes a month, send a few texts and check social media. They don’t need a tiered system for that.

    1. WAIT! I JUST FIGURED IT OUT!!!

      This is to compete with Bandwidths other Google Project Fi thing!!!

      Google Project Fi…

      Unlimited Talk and Text – $20 a month
      Data is purchased in 1GB chunks for $10 per GB
      Unused data is refunded at a rate of $1 per .1 GB monthly.

      Does this sound vaguely familiar?

  18. Let’s hide a huge price increase by claming the average user only uses 0.58 gigabit of data and Jack up the prices massively.

  19. I never expected RW to be into tethering. Correct me if I’m wrong, but tethering is only useful when you don’t have available WiFi. So, you use the phone’s cellular data as the network, your phone as the modem, and the tethering service as the router. Tethering encourages use of cellular data.

    And can you explain this new pricing plan a bit more? If you charge $7.50 per 0.5gb of cellular data, what is that on top of? The $10/mo plan?

    According to your June monthly report, the average cell data usage for RW members is .58gb. So, I get what you mean that many members on $25 and $40/mo plans will see savings.

    1. Also, you refer to the new plan as, “a whole new cell data pricing option.” “Option” indicates it’s optional. Yet commenters here seem to be saying it’s not optional. So, when/if this is implemented, if I choose to maintain a consistently-priced plan (of $25/mo) will I still have that option?

  20. Hi Republic,

    Here’s what I see more as ‘saving money for your users’. Right now, you are allowing us ‘unlimited’ cellular (3G) data for just $25 a month, and you urge us to use WiFi data instead of cellular data. If we use over 5 GB of cellular data, our speed is rightfully throttled. Okay. I like this. This month, I’ve used 1.29 GB cellular data on this plan, which will probably be 1.4 GB from miscellaneous use by the end of this billing cycle. My speed won’t be throttled, and I won’t have reduced speed next month. Great! For $25 a month, I don’t have to worry about overusage and subsequent overcharge of data. On Maestro, I’d be paying for 1.5 GB which would end up being (3 x $7.50) $22.50. Okay, I could have saved $2.50 through Maestro.

    Last month, however, I was moving. I didn’t have WiFi at my old place, didn’t have WiFi at my new place, and obviously didn’t have WiFi while making the gazillion trips between the two. Between Spotify and Google Maps, I used 3.9 GB of cellular data. Still at $25, this is a good deal. I don’t have to worry about ‘life happening’ and my cell bill being extremely high. Through Maestro, however, I would have paid (8 x $7.50) $60. No. Not okay. This is what I would pay at competitors’ 4G plans.

    Sometimes, life happens. Sometimes we need to use more cellular data than we planned for. And the majority of months, I laze around at home, enveloped by WiFi, and sleep at work, drowned in WiFi, using less than 0.5 GB of cellular data a month.

    Here is what I think a ‘money saving plan’ would be:

    Let me keep my $25/month plan. I get unlimited data, and you guys route my calls, SMS, and data through WiFi instead of cellular networks, saving money where other carriers would not.

    Keep your math from Maestro, TO GIVE MONEY BACK TO THE USERS. If I only use 1.5 GB of cellular data on 3G, give me $2.50 back. If, by Maestro math, you would be charging me above $25, DON’T CHARGE MORE, and respect your $25/month unlimited plan.

    Similarly, for 4G users, any amount by Maestro math that comes to below $40, pay your customer back. And if they use more, don’t overcharge.

    We can make this math easier by setting 2 GB as the maximum that people can be refunded (as that is a ballpark upper-end usage amount). If I use 2 GB or more, you do not pay me anything. Now, use the throttle limit (5 GB:$25/month) as your payback ratio, so that this just doesn’t become a bad deal for Republic. If I use only 1 GB cellular data, pay me back $5. If I use no data, pay me back $10. This ($15) IS STILL ABOVE what you are charging for no cellular data ($10), so you guys make $5, while we get the peace of mind that we have data available, or we can use just a bit of data.

    WHY IS THIS A GOOD DEAL FOR BOTH OF US:

    The company isn’t going under while I’m paying $25 a month for my 3G plan. So it must be good for you. If I use no cellular data without switching to the ($10/month) Cell calls + SMS and WiFi data plan, you charge me $15, as it is $25 – 2GB @ $10. You make $5 more dollars than you normally would.

    I still get the unlimited data that Republic promised to me when I joined. I still get the benefits of using the ever-present WiFi for my data, SMS, and calls. I get paid back for what I don’t use – the core of Maestro. People who just use less cellular data, will be paying less than $25. People who use more cellular data will still have the benefits of an unlimited plan.

    It sounds like people are annoyed because if they overuse data, they will be charged like other MVNOs (Ting, pay as you go services on big carriers, StraightTalk, etc.), and they are hoping that Republic keeps its sensational plans instead of just turning into another MVNO like the rest of them, with the only benefit being offloading to WiFi data instead of cellular data (which is beneficial to RW as you guys save money).

    Republic, please let me know what you think. Something like this is what I thought Maestro was going to be, where our initial unlimited deal is still ‘grandfathered’, yet unused data is paid back. Thanks!

  21. So, am I still going to have my unlimited cell data for $25 a month or not. I normally only hit about 1.0 gb cell data a month, but when I am traveling I like to have the extra buffer. I’m a bit confused and am probably just reading it wrong, but if I can’t have that plan, its a huge turn off for me.

  22. So if republic essentially switches over to a pay-as-you-go service, would they have less of an issue with rooting? After all, if the mods we made ended up breaking the wifi handover, it is we who would then be losing out, not republic. I would love to see an officially available bootloader unlock method. Of course it would void warranty, but I don’t see what is holding republic back in this regard any more.

  23. So basically Maestro pricing is exactly like Google’s Project Fi? You pay a $10 service charge that gets you basic cell service (talk/text), and then you pay $15 per GB of data on top of that (and get paid back for what you don’t use each month). Project Fi charges you a $20 service charge and then $10 per GB of data on top of that (and pays you back for data you don’t use each month) and runs off both Sprint AND T-Mobile networks. Hmmm… When will Maestro be implemented and will the old plans go away completely when it is?

  24. I like the idea of having five gigabytes available as an option in case my internet or I move or some unforeseen circumstance happens which happens to everybody at one time or another then I can take advantage of the five gigabyte otherwise I use minimum

  25. The approximate 3 months that I’ve had RW I have tried the action of changing 2 times a month to get a feel of the data program and I like that option

  26. the main attraction that got me to RW was the diversity and options knowing that I could spend as little as $5 a month and and if I needed more I could spend $40 a month I liked it more because of the more options and I would like it less if there were less options

  27. Published results of independent outside auditor, based on long-term in-house RW data, would quickly/convincingly resolve most of debate: user savings – vs.- enhanced profit margin.

    However, whether results of such will be forthcoming pre-Maestro ….

  28. I’m pretty excited about the tethering option. I wouldn’t need it much, but when you need it you need it.

  29. I am currently on the $25 per month 3g 5 GB data plan (4g) is not available in my area). With this new pricing structure I am going to get get 4g (but can only use 3g) and 1 GB of data for the same price. Even with a rebate on the off chance I do not use all my 1 whole Gig of data each month, there is no way the new plan will cost less. No matter how Republic tries to spin it, this a price increase. What’s the incentive to stay with Republic? It sure isn’t the wonderful service or the outstanding selection of phones. Now it isn’t even the low cost for service.

  30. I am currently on the $25 per month 3g 5 GB data plan (4g) is not available in my area). With this new pricing structure I am going to get get 4g (but can only use 3g) and 1 GB of data for the same price. Even with a rebate on the off chance I do not use all my 1 whole Gig of data each month, there is no way the new plan will cost less. No matter how Republic tries to spin it, this a price increase. What’s the incentive to stay with Republic? It sure isn’t the wonderful service or the outstanding selection of phones. Now it isn’t even the low cost for service.

  31. Currently, I am not a RW customer. But if the Maestro pricing becomes available, I will be bringing my four lines over to Republic. I am a light data user, and the Sprint network is more than adequate in my community. So in theory, if the data hogs flee and light users join, Republic Wireless gets one step closer to Utopia.

  32. It’s official folks, no more $25/mo 5GB data https://republicwireless.com/plans/ New plans have been rolled out under the guise of giving money back so now a $25/mo gets you just 1GB data. Adding 1GB will cost you an additional $15/mo hence a 5GB will cost $85/mo.

    That basically means heavy users are being effectively kicked out of RW and lightweight users are being penalized as their previous plan max consumption is being lowered five fold (and they will no longer have the option to use up to that 5GB max if ever needed to do so).

    RW is now exclusively a service for those who almost need no data plan and could instead just get a flip phone although what’s being sold on RW are 2 smartphones which quite unfortunately do need to use data. And data on a phone makes sense only if that’s data on the go.

    Without a data plan a smartphone ceases to be “smart” at all and without data on the go it will also cease to be useful. At home, office, or open wifi locations like coffee shops, airports, etc. a lightweight laptop or a tablet are the way to go… No need to use tiny screens there, hence no need for RW subscription either. Useful (but on the go data based) functionalities such as navigation will now need to stay within the new allowances, if not fitting, back to using a stand-alone GPS… and wait to be in the range of a wifi service to check your email, do a web-search, check weather forecast, update apps, etc.

    At $15/GB now RW has aligned itself with all other carriers who, since RW first launched, have substantially lowered their monthly plans rates. Therefore while RW was a disruptive service now it’s more of a niche option as there’s no longer a reason to go with RW anymore (with the new paradigm that has just been rolled out) unless someone fits the RW’s potential customer demographic (subscribers who are barely using data on the go). And don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of that, I am one of such subscribers… I just feel ripped off on principle as de-facto I my plan data has been cut down by 5x… regardless of the fact that I’ve never even used 1GB let alone 5. I’d be happy if I got reimbursed for what I didn’t use out of 5GB, but now the reimbursement being cleverly used as a marketing expedient and cover up the cutting of previous max cell data allowances, it’s just 1GB which puts plan pricing (considering a device purchase) on par with other carriers. That I do find quite disappointing indeed.

    Having to buy a cellphone worthy of the definition will cost at least $300 which in one year is an additional $25/mo. If that breaks must buy a new one or if one wants to upgrade to a new device there’s no option to do so, not just because there isn’t actually an option to upgrade, but also because there are only 2 phones (at time of writing) users could purchase on RW.

    Adding a $25/mo for the phone to a $25/mo plan one would get exactly the same cost as a current t-mobile individual plan which sells for $50/mo.

    The difference there is that one would get to pick a phone since $0 16GB iPhone 6, or a $0 32GB Samsung Galaxy 6 edge (just as an example), which could be later upgraded as needed… the cost of the phone is extra although could be spread over a 24 mo. period for $20~some/mo. That phone would be on a 4G plan with 1GB data hence no loss there, with a one-to-one comparison on plan costs now I guess heavy users will have to spend some extra money and find a new home after RW’s eviction notice.

  33. Reading the below comments, many who are disappointed with this pricing plan seem to miss an important point: On the 5 Gig plans, customers who utilize less than 5 Gigs of data (especially those who use significantly less) are in effect subsidizing the plans of those who use 5 Gigs (or more). This same principle props up pricing plans in every major mobile carrier; in fact is far more exaggerated in other carrier plans. This principle is also the driving force that led to RW’s innovative pricing models to begin with, seeking to minimize customers’ subsidizing one another. Maestro is a very clear trend in the same direction that RW has always gone, and still conforms to their mantra that individuals should be rewarded for minimizing cellular costs, when able. To complain about a per gigabyte price hike is to miss the point entirely, because you forget that your per gigabyte price is as low as it is only because other (likely more disciplined) RW users are subsidizing your bill.

    These principles are so basic that I question the motivations of those below who are exhibiting anything from indignation to actual rage (feigned or real).

  34. If I get a phone today, and later the tethering option is added, will this be an upgrade available on my phone through a software upgrade? Or will I need to buy a new phone? Thanks!

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