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Republic Wireless Shifts From Unlimited Plans to Ones That Offer Refunds

The new Republic Refund plans give customers a credit toward the following month's bill for any unused cellular data.

Republic Wireless

Upstart mobile carrier Republic Wireless is unveiling a new lineup of plans on Tuesday, becoming the latest carrier to do away with plans that offer unlimited high-speed cellular data.

In their place, Republic is offering plans that offer customers a refund on any high-speed data paid for but unused.

Republic Wireless

Republic is one of a handful of mobile virtual network operators, companies that offer their own brand of cellular service using the networks of one or more mainstream carriers to power the service. In its case, Republic tries to shift as much traffic as possible onto Wi-Fi, but offers customers cellular data via Sprint’s network.

Republic’s move comes as other carriers are also moving away from both unlimited data as well as plans that force customers to predict exactly how much data they will use. Google’s Project Fi plans to charge customers only for the cellular data they use, while both T-Mobile and AT&T have programs that allow customers to carry unused data over to a future month or months. T-Mobile’s Data Stash applies only to its 3GB-and-up plans, while AT&T’s rollover option only works with certain plans and only carries over for a single month at a time.

“You are seeing more competition,” Republic Senior Vice President Jon Schniepp said in an interview. “I think we’ve spurred some of that. Regardless of whether we get the credit, I think it’s good for customers.”

Most recently, Republic has been offering unlimited 3G cellular data for $25 per month and unlimited 4G data for $40 per month. With the new plans, Republic will offer plans at $17.50 for 500MB of high-speed cellular data, $25 for 1GB of high-speed data and $40 for 2GB of high-speed data. Customers would then get a refund for any data they don’t use or pay $15 for each extra gigabyte. All plans include unlimited calling and texting.

Republic has been testing the new plans with about 2,000 customers as part of a labs effort known as “Maestro.” On average, Republic said, customers were paying $14.88 per month, a drop of about $5 for the typical customer. That said, those using more than 2GB of cellular data could end up paying more with the new plans, Republic acknowledges.

Current customers will be able to keep their unlimited data plans, while new customers will have to choose one of the new options. Verizon and AT&T have also dropped unlimited data plans for new customers.

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