An Update on the Cheapest Phone Plan Ever
I’ve been using the cheapest phone plan on the face of the earth (aka Republic Wireless) for almost 2 months soooo I think it is about time that I update you guys on how it has been going, huh?
If you missed the first review, you can read an overview of Republic Wireless’ service and my initial thoughts of the phone here!
Basically, my update is that I still love Republic Wireless. I’m going to list a few issues I’ve had (which aren’t actually Republic’s fault at all) just so you can be informed if you decide to switch to RW! But overall it’s a great service that I can’t recommend enough :)
No short codes
I discovered the hard way that RW does not support short code texting. “Short code” numbers are those shortened numbers that you might encounter when doing things like texting in to win things on radio stations (“text ‘hippopotamus’ to 12345 for the chance to win concert tickets!“) Or, more importantly, you might encounter short code numbers when dealing with banks that use text security verifications for your accounts. I was trying to set up a bill payment on one of my bank accounts, and I had to get a texted security code to set it up. After wating 10 mins for the text to come through, (when it usually takes approx. 5 seconds) I did some googling and realized that RW’s signals (towers? phones? whatever) don’t support short codes. Womp womp. So I had to call my bank and remove the text verification. This evidently happens with other providers, too… the person at the bank that I spoke with said that her T-mobile (I think?) phone couldn’t get short codes either. So not really RW’s fault… but just be aware and cancel those verifications before you switch phones :)
Edited 8/26/14: RW now has short code texting!! Hooray!
iPhone to Droid = no bueno
The other big issue I ran into was also not at all RW’s fault: the extreme difficulty of switching from an Apple to a non-Apple device. (BTW- this explains most of the missing texts I talked about in my original RW review post!)
Since I had an iPhone, my phone number was associated with an iMessage account (which is Apple’s fancy iPhone to iPhone texting service). Turns out it’s next to impossible to remove your phone number from that iMessage association, even when you pull your number into a non-Apple phone!
My friends’ iPhones still recognized my number as an iMessage account, so any texts to my number said “sent” but they were really being sent somewhere in my iMessage cloud and I didn’t get them until turning my old iPhone on.
We’ve figured out a way around it (they have to tap any messages to me and select “send as text”) but it’s still pretty annoying. My landlord, for example, has an iPhone and tried to text me about something. I never got it because it sent as iMessage! Boo. But again, not RW’s fault. This article gives some ideas of how you can try to unlink your number; I think everyone’s phones have finally recognized me as non-iMessage but if I have any more problems, I’ll try some of those suggestions.
Easy to switch plans
RW claims that you can switch your phone plan up to two times per month at any time from your phone. That claim is totally correct, you really can!
I bumped my service up to the $25/mo plan so that I could get wireless data on our drive down to VA, and I had the upgraded service within 2 minutes. I was charged a prorated amount for the increased service for the rest of my billing cycle, and that was it! (and then I was able to drop my coverage back down once we got home with the same ease.)
I’m still having slight call quality issues, but as I said in the last review, I think that’s because of our crummy wireless router. My phone calls often come in as “cell”, which I believe means that the wireless signal in our apartment (even when I’m sitting 2 feet from the router) isn’t strong enough to support the wifi call. Even our computers sometimes drop our internet signal randomly. It’s rather annoying. I’m planning to get a new router but just haven’t gotten around to it yet… :)
Once I finally get a new one, I’ll be sure to update you guys to let you know if it helped!
Update 8/26/14: Still haven’t pulled the trigger on a new router. Mike and I have started turning the wifi off on our phones and making important calls just on cell signal (which we have to go outside for, since we live on the ground floor of a 3 story house and cell signal doesn’t get to us very well down here, haha). But that’s only for important stuff (work related, usually) that would be awkward if we accidentally lost signal then had to say “sorry our wifi cut out…”. So anyway, moral of this story is that it’s workable! And I’ll update this when/if we do get a new router ;)
As for the phone itself, I have zero complaints. I like the physical design of the phone (it’s got a really cool curved back) and the really big screen. It took a little while to get used to Droid operating system (do you call it an operating system on a phone?) after using an iPhone for so long, but I’m fine with it now!
Overall, I really, really, really like Republic Wireless. I’m saving $55 every month and getting everything I could possibly need. Win-win!
If you are interested in signing up for Republic Wireless, I hope you’ll consider using my referral link. I would greatly appreciate it! :)
How much do you pay for your current cell plan? Anyone else tried RW yet?