At the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, I discovered Republic Wireless and learned about their new service and value proposition. I had previously mentioned them in Competing against a Low-cost Disruptor with Policy Control and Charging. Their pitch is to use Wi-Fi as much as possible and ride on the Sprint 3G network as a virtual operator. Wi-Fi calls on a phone seems like a yawner, but their spin is to embed the Wi-Fi client into the mobile, and thereby simplifying the user interface. The price is certainly attractive, $19/mo. for unlimited voice / txt / data. The idea is that you will use Wi-Fi for your data needs at home, office, campus or Starbucks – which is what most of us do anyway. I have a feeling that a subscriber watching YouTube Cat-Videos while on cellular would be sent packing.
The down side I saw (other than no iPhone, but then I’m a Apple Fan Boy from ages past) was the phone selection – basically just a feature phone, as they had to find a manufacturer willing to embed the appropriate Wi-Fi client. Now they have the Moto-X, which is apparently a pretty slick smart phone – see the Moto-X review at AzTechBeat. It also seems the value conscious target market might not be swayed by lack of an iPhone and rather find the Moto-X quite satisfactory.
With a good smartphone and a unique value proposition, Republic Wireless seems to offer a compelling value proposition for their target market. Further, it seems to have a spot-on strategy focused on the needs of a market segment that is difficult for the top tier operators to reach.