It wasn’t easy for me to leave Republic Wireless. I wanted it to work, and I wanted it as my carrier for the long term. I joined because of price and it being a different idea. I left because of price and the flawed different idea.


Republic Wireless drew me in with a pay-as-you-use system for data, partially controlled by the ability to use wi-fi more than other phones. Calls were supposed to be over wifi, and the phone numbers were even VOIP. We had phones that constantly wanted to be on wifi networks, and there was this graph that showed how well we were doing compared to other users. I tried to keep it well above the average, and I figured that was saving me money, since prices stayed down when more of us used the system the way it was designed.


When we weren’t on wifi, calls were over the Sprint network. Data was available, and we took the 1gb plan, so we had enough to get our maps and read emails. It wasn’t terrible, at least most of the time. When we had to pull over several times to get McDonald’s wifi in order to avoid going over on long trips, that was pretty awful. If the price point would have stayed where it was, I would have stayed, even with the problems. However, when Sprint offered a Kickstart program for $15 a month, it was really a no-brainer. Our old plan at Republic was $10 plus data ($15 for 1gb), then a refund for unused data, which usually added up to $15 per phone--we usually didn’t use the data up. The new plan didn’t even offer a refund, so it was $15 plus $5 for 1gb, and when we needed new phones, this is the only plan we could get.


I know, it’s not a huge difference. With taxes and other hidden Sprint fees, I’ll be paying about the same for my Kickstart lines. The difference is that the phone isn’t going to be trying to connect to every damn wifi network as I drive down the street, dropping calls and messing up navigation. It means that I can stream some music and upload photos as I take them. I can do what I want, and then I can connect to wifi when it makes sense, like when I was at the library the other day. Sprint’s network does suck, but at least there’s a network. It’s also refreshing to hear voices from a phone rather than after it’s been routed through wifi.


I think I had high hopes that large institutions would have free wifi available all over by now. It just hasn’t happened. Xfinity is all over, trying to get people to sign in or sign up, but it’s not like every downtown or retail store has easy, no sign-in wifi, always there for me. It just wasn’t worth the hassle to stick with Republic, and it felt like we were on a total budget network. Now we’re just one a cut-rate plan with shoddy coverage, but it’s still more legit for about the same price, so I’m happy. I don’t doubt that Sprint will make some changes in order to screw me over, but it’s not like I have a long-term contract or a leased phone, so I’ll just see what else is available when the time comes.