To paraphrase Chris, our COO, from our last all-hands meeting:
“This year we will essentially blow up the primary barriers to making Republic the leading choice for mobile phone service in the U.S. I’ve been at Republic since day one, and without a doubt this is the most excited I’ve ever been about this business.”
We’ve been pretty quiet so far in 2016, but for good reasons. This year for Republic is shaping up to be one of the biggest ever – arguably bigger than patenting WiFi + cell Calling was back when we started in 2011. Our earnest startup has been heads down working on what we’re calling internally “Republic 3.0”, which has been, in large part, driven by you, our members’ voices, and what you’d like to see:
- More phones and consistent, more predictable release schedules.
- Better, more consistent call quality.
- More buying options to help remove the upfront cost of phones.
- Different cell carrier options.
- Faster rollouts for major OS updates like Android Lollipop.
- More plan options to fit different lifestyles.
Before we continue, like always, we have to be clear that everything we do happens with a TON of moving parts. We exist in an industry that is both frozen in some regards and rapidly changing in others. A lot of that change is, in part, thanks to your support of Republic. Our WIFi-first model has worked so well (we just earned a near perfect score (9.8!) in PC Mag’s Reader Choice awards for lowest possible monthly service price), the industry is being forced to adapt. Now, a lot of carriers are playing with their pricing structures and the costs for plans everywhere are in flux. We have to remain agile. So let’s take a look at how we’re planning to tackle everything listed above this year.
1. More phones and consistent, more predictable release schedules.
Since coming out of BETA with the Moto X (1st Gen.) in 2013, we have sought to provide a “good, better, best” portfolio of phones – that fits within anyone’s price range. We can’t get into super specifics just yet (too many fragile ins and outs taking place), but our goals for this year are to add more phone options to each of those tiers, as well as from different phone manufacturers. Part of what we’re hearing from our members too is not just more options, but more consistent and predictable release dates for new phones. We believe we are working on a path that will achieve this for our members this year. We have a few surprises up our sleeves too.
2. More consistent call quality.
First there was WiFi + cell. Then, there was seamless handover. Then, there was handover from cell back to WiFi. But soon, we’ll be doing what no other carrier does. Most only let you use 3G, 4G, or WiFi — one at a time. Kind of like only being able to drive in only one single lane on the highway every day, even if that lane is jammed up. You can see the other lanes open, but currently, other carriers aren’t able to let you move over. The next generation of WiFi Calling is here! No more choosing lanes. We’re going to give you the entire open road to maximize the quality of your experience.
3. More buying options to help remove the upfront cost of phones.
Our mission is to provide remarkably simple and affordable ways to stay in touch with anyone, anywhere, in anyway. The upfront cost of phones has always been a hurdle for some folks looking to join the smartphone world and we plan to introduce financing options that provide an easier, faster way of paying for your new Republic phone over time.
4. Different cell carrier options.
You might have caught wind of this from a Fierce Wireless article from earlier this year. We REALLY can’t get into specifics on this one yet, but more details are coming.
5. Faster rollouts for major OS updates like Android Lollipop.
One thing we can say here is we are creating the ability to be free to push OS updates out faster, in our own timelines, without having to go through third party certification processes, and are able to be more agile for the good of our members.
6. More plan options.
Since last July, we have had immense success with our Refund Plans. In those eight months, we’ve already refunded our members over $3.4 million in extra cell data they had left over month over month. Our members who have made the switch LOVE the Refund Plans – writing to us daily like Mike here:
“I LOVE REPUBLIC WIRELESS! Last phone bill…$38! Family of 3. Overall, great service!”
But, like we said, our mission is to help people stay in touch better and more simply, in the ways that make the most sense for them. If you’d like to try our Refund plans, cool! You can switch anytime. Or, if you want to keep your current $25 talk and text over WiFi + cell, with WiFi and 3G cell data or your $40 talk and text over WiFi + cell, with WiFi and 4G cell data, we figured out a way to let you do that as well. Options are formulating as we speak, so keep watching!
This is one of those surprises up our sleeves we can’t talk about just yet. Suffice it to say, it’s gonna be awesome and something that has been talked about at Republic since day one.
Ways to get ready!
- Hit the subscribe button on PWK.
- Watch closely. Keep checking back here each week.
- Heck, print this blog out and check off the list because we are doing this!
We are committed to updating you on at least one of the huge initiatives listed in this post each week. This year, we are tearing down all the barriers to make Republic the easiest, most obvious choice for affordable, quality phone service. You don’t want to miss what’s coming next. We are motivated and driven by your voice. We are in this together.