Guest Post: A Republic Wireless Success Story

Previously I wrote about how I took my cell phone bill down from an obscene $130 / month and saved about $80 every single month, using Straight Talk. Then a few weeks back I wrote how I had the urge to see if I could outdo that. I did, and I signed up for Republic Wireless and got my bill down even further to just $25 each month.

I got some great personal emails and comments on the blog, one of which was from Michelle. So Michelle and I got to talking about my post and Republic Wireless and I said I’d love to post something here if she wrote it down.

Well she wrote a great article, all about her switch to Republic Wireless and how she’s already saving a ton of money! Michelle Amanti is a Chicagoland native and government IT employee, who likes reading, writing, and power sports. Read her great post below!

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I work two jobs to try and stay on top of my bills, and as such, am always looking for ways to cut costs. About three years ago, I put the other two phone users in my house under my account, as I get a discount from my night job for Sprint service, plus there was savings in the add-a-line option. Awesome, right? Until the bill kept creeping up higher and higher.

At the end, I was paying over $170 AFTER my $25 discount for three phones.

How much should you really be paying for your cell phone?

How much should you really be paying for your cell phone?

Some would say that’s not bad really, that’s $56 for each phone for unlimited everything!!! This would be fine if the usage justified it, which it didn’t. Out of the 1,500 minutes not falling under the admittedly generous free minutes plan, we used a whopping 250 minutes total per month on average.

I’m a fairly heavy data and text user, but was still using my old beloved BlackBerry because I didn’t want to pay another $10 upcharge for 4G premium data on a newer phone; service that I don’t even get where I live. The usage on the other two phones was about a fifth of my usage combined, so they certainly weren’t using the unlimited plan to its potential.

It seems like everyone's caught up in buying a new phone every year or two.

 

I’d had it, there had to be something better. I finally focused on the yearly cost of the cellular service among all the other bills, and frankly, it was pretty hard to swallow. I also wanted to eventually quit my 15-year run at my second job, but not only would that not cover the bill any longer, but I’d be losing my discount as well.

I started browsing the web and came across several cheap service companies. Being a very long-time Sprint customer (since the dark days of Nextel), I was admittedly nervous about any kind of switch. I was comfortable in my plan, but it was becoming unsustainable cost-wise. I realized I was spending over $2000 a year (almost $2400 without my discount) just to carry around an old BlackBerry and get emails I rarely read, and texts from people saying interesting things like “K”.

Lots of people are nervous about making the switch. Understandable but nothing to be afraid of.

My phone’s contract was due to expire first, and it was fitting that I would be the guinea pig. I researched the heck out of different plans on and off for about six months, and kept coming back to Republic Wireless. I’m a government IT employee, so the technology behind the phones was fascinating to me. It’s basically a mobile VoIP phone, and I was thrilled at the thought of having one.

I was still naturally wary, since this was one of those “once you’re gone, you’re gone” things with Sprint, being in a grandfathered plan, but I found out a work friend had the same service with RW and had nothing but good things to say about it, as did the internet. After seeing that RW had a 30-day return guarantee, I decided to take the plunge.

There were some downsides. Lack of customer service via phone was one, which wasn’t really important to me as I pretty much never called Sprint, but should be mentioned; lack of phone insurance, which I had traditionally taken out on my phones, but had only used once; and only being able to pay via auto-bill, which I’m slowly getting used to. The benefits would far outweigh the cons, especially since we’re all used to Sprint’s coverage area.

Weight the pros and cons of making the switch, depending on what kind of plan you actually need, (not just claim you need.)

I put my new Moto X on the $25 3G plan, since 4G coverage is pretty poor here, even in a “4G coverage area." Since I’m on Wi-Fi all day at my main job, as well as at home, I wasn’t too concerned about speeds for the limited amount of time I’d be on Sprint’s network, and 3G is good enough to surf the web and stream Pandora in the car, so the extra $15 was an expense I didn’t really need for something I really couldn’t use.

I ordered my phone and waited a whole two days for it to arrive, and tore the package open the minute it showed up on my desk at work- yes, I had it shipped to work so I could play with it the minute it was delivered! I didn’t port my number over for about three weeks while I ran the phone through every scenario I could think of. I almost wanted it to fail, to justify the costs I’d been paying over the last many years, but to my delight, the phone didn’t disappoint.

I did find that it’s a little tough to make a call in a low-signal roaming area, and sometimes the calls will not go through, but for the one weekend a month I’m actually in said roaming area, this was not a deal-breaker for me. Otherwise, I’ve loved it so far. After I’d convinced myself that the phone would not burst into flames the second I ported my number over, I made the switch in February.

Financial freedom is important. What could you do with an extra $25, $50 or more per month?

The other two phones followed shortly thereafter when their contracts expired on June 1st. One was put on RW’s $10 plan, and one put on Ting Wireless’s $9 plan since the user of that phone insisted that if I got him a phone other than his military-spec feature phone, he would promptly run it over with his semi-truck the next time he was at work. That pretty much settled that!

About a week later, I realized the house phone is pretty expensive at around $65 a month with a separate fax line that no one ever really used anymore. I ordered the Moto G for the house, and put it on the RW $5 Wi-Fi only plan, eliminating another $65 from the general bills.

I may bump that one up to the $10 plan, as my Wi-Fi router is getting old and will drop a call or catch static sometimes. Not a limitation of the phone in any means, but more a limitation of a certain old router when there are 6-7 devices all screaming for the bandwidth at the same time.

So I managed to go from around $240 a month for 3 cell phones and 2 house lines to about $65 (estimating on taxes, before taxes the bill is $49), and couldn’t be happier- not only for the cost savings but also for the sheer joy of knowing that I’m no longer overpaying for the same phone service that I was used to, and with a very capable phone to go along with it!

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Thanks to Michelle for a great story! Please comment below if you have your own success story!

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