I was lurking around my usual online PF haunts last week when an article titled, “$19 for an Unlimited Everything Smartphone Plan” caught my eye.
Surely this can’t be I thought to myself. My $80+ phone bill could be reduced to a mere $20 every single month?! How is this possible?!!!
Republic Wireless: Code for Saviours
Well, it turns out that a company named Republic Wireless operating out of the USA might be revolutionizing the way we use our smartphones. The basic idea is that when you sign on with the company you have to use their particular Motorola smartphone (Droid operating system). This allows the company to program the product in such a way that when you connected to WiFi (presumably at home or at a friend’s house) all of your data, calls, and texts will automatically go through the internet connection.
Related: Choosing a Student Phone PlanThe company banks on the fact that this will be the case most of the time and that you won’t use too much data when you’re out and about instead of at home. In extreme cases where people are constantly abusing the unlimited data condition clients have been asked to leave the program, but overall it looks like it’s going quite well. It also makes pretty logical sense even to a techno-idiot like myself.
If They Get One I Want One Too!
Naturally I figured that Republic Wireless would only offer services in the USA, but it turns out the company actually has an agreement with Bell, and is able to roam off of their towers at no increased costs to their customers! This is insane to me. I am extremely jealous of my American brethren.
Ok, I’m not a complete dumbass (despite what my students say on a regular basis). I know that Canada doesn’t have nearly the population density as our Big Brother to the south, so realistically we’ll likely never be able to offer services like telecommunications at quite as low a cost. But even if we can only be half as efficient as Republic Wireless, couldn’t a start-up try something like this for a $40 or even $50 plan and get instant traction? I know I’d be first in line to try it out. I guess there would always be the segment of the population that needs their Apple products to maintain their self-image, but I’d purchase any phone if it meant an affordable plan that didn’t gouge me with extraneous fees all of the time.
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When Will We Be Saved From Our Oligopoly?
It seems somewhat inevitable that this technology will come to Canada. The question is will it be sooner or later? Personally, being from rural Manitoba I’m fairly certain I will be the last person on Earth to get access to something like this, but it seems like a pretty simple concept to execute. Maybe Republic Wireless will feel some sort of social imperative to expand their reach into the Great White North in order to save the frozen Canucks from the only thing more record setting than their cold weather – their fees for telecommunications (and mutual fund fees, but we’ll leave that one alone today).
Seriously though, how has no one else thought of this? I’m not a big conspiracy guy, but man, this really makes a person wonder. I pay a sizable premium to have high-speed internet in my rural location, being able to instantly route all of my phone’s processes through there makes a ton of sense. One could argue that this concept is more valuable to someone like myself since my connectivity would be decisively better going through my internet connection than relying on cell coverage (as opposed to an urbanite who can basically rely on cell coverage 99% of the time).
The Little Company That Could
The other really cool thing about Republic Wireless is that they have this cool little forum that they encourage everyone to go to in order to find solutions to their problems. For instance, while their Motorola phone that all users must have isn’t the best thing on the market, there are dozens of little hacks and apps that you can quickly implement courtesy of the forum. This is such a great way to run customer service for a new generation (as opposed to sitting on a phone line for 30 minutes only to be semi-guaranteed you will have to talk your way past at least two people before getting to someone that might actually be able to solve your problem).
So for now I will dream of the better days to come. Has anyone heard of a similar company or business model being started in Canada? I assume Vancouver and/or Toronto would be the logical breeding ground for something like this. Heck, I’d start it myself if I could, but I have nowhere near the level of expertise needed. If they need someone to write a blog for their site I could contribute in that fashion (stupid limited skill set…). What does everyone else out there pay for their data plans? Maybe with Verizon making noise about entering the market something like this isn’t as far off as I think.