Why in the world are smartphones so unbelievably expensive? And it’s not only the phones themselves that are the problem, it’s the crazy monthly data fees that are creeping up every year. I recently polled some friends and acquaintances to see how much they were paying, and what I uncovered is shocking. Some of my friends are paying as much as $100 a month per phone for a family data plan. I think that is bat shit crazy. Unless my smartphone folds my laundry or babysits my kids, I would never pay that much for a phone or data.
High Prices Are the New Norm
If your cell phone bill seems like it is consuming more and more of your budget, you are definitely not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average family is spending over 300% more on cell phones than they would’ve 10 years ago. And while food, apparel, and entertainment spending have all decreased, cell phone spending has been increasing at an alarming rate. What in the hell is going on here?
The answer is simple. Cell phone companies have been able to continuously increase data fees because consumers are becoming hooked on their smartphones for Internet access, GPS functionality, work email, and entertainment. We’re all a bunch of data addicts, and I am just as guilty as anyone reading this. That’s why I was excited to find out about Republic Wireless.
Who Is Republic Wireless?
Republic Wireless is an internet based communications company that is based in Raleigh, North Carolina. I think they are going to put everyone else out of business….and fast. By using Wi-Fi hotspots as the primary method of smartphone talking, texting, and data functionality, they can drastically reduce their operating expenses and pass those savings right on to you. The cool thing is that when you are not in a Wi-fi hotspot, Republic Wireless shifts your usage to the Sprint Network at no cost to you.
You’re probably wondering why I know all of these details. The reason is because I am now the owner of a Republic Wireless phone. The phone is great and I’m really happy with it. However, my favorite thing about it is the price. This how it works: For $19 a month, Republic provides unlimited everything and they never throttle your data connection. They do this by using Wi-Fi when possible for talking, texting and surfing. When you aren’t within access of a Wi-Fi hotspot, the phone works on the nation-wide network just like any normal smartphone.
The only catch is that you have to buy a Republic Wireless smartphone to use the service. There are currently two options:
- You can buy a mid-tier Motorola DEFY XT for $99 and pay $29 per month for unlimited data, text, and talk OR…
- You can pay $249 for the same phone and pay $19 per month for unlimited data, text, and talk.
If you use your phone mainly to check email and occasionally surf the web like me, the Motorola DEFY XT would be perfect for you. Republic Wireless said that additional phones, including a high-end handset, will be coming later this year.
I personally think this is reasonable….especially if you are in the market for a new phone anyway. I had (and still have) a dinosaur era antique Blackberry, and I was more than ready to upgrade my phone to reflect modern times. But even if I wasn’t, the cost of the phone will easily be recouped after a few months of unbelievably low monthly bills. Since the plans are completely unlimited, I never have to do crazy things like manually count my text messages or refuse to call anyone for the last half of the month. It’s awesome.
How much are you paying for your smartphone? Do you know anyone who is paying a ton of cash for theirs? How do you save on your smartphone plan? Have you ever heard of Republic Wireless? Let us know in the comments below! (If you want to sign up to try Republic Wireless for only $19 per month, you can do so here.)