Republic Wireless is back! The disruptive division of Bandwidth just reopened its beta program and released the $249 Defy XT to its users. Thankfully, nothing else has changed since the service’s launch late last year. For just $19 a month customers get truly unlimited data, voice and text messages. Plus, this is offered free of a contract.
The Defy XT costs $249 from Republic Wireless, which as Engadget points out, is a tad steep for a Gingerbread-era phone. With a 3.7-inch screen, 1GHz CPU, and a 5MP camera, it won’t topple any of today’s flagship phones, but the cash saved through Republic Wireless’ service plan should put a smug smile on the owner’s face.
Republic Wireless is able to offer its low price by heavily utilizing WiFi. The company bakes proprietary WiFi “Hybrid Calling” technology into its phones, forcing them to utilize available WiFi networks when available. But thanks to a deal with Sprint, the phones also work wherever there is a cellular signal.
“Since launching last year, republic has disrupted the wireless industry in a way few could have ever imagined,” said David Morken, founder & CEO of Bandwidth said in a released statement today. “Consumers are flocking to republic because they’re fed up with the status quo. We’ve liberated them from a world of so-called “unlimited” plans that have caps on data usage, hidden fees, long-term contracts and other restrictions. We’ve set a new bar and we’re ushering in a new era of Wi-Fi-first wireless for millions more people.”
TechCrunch meet with Republic Wireless (video below) earlier this month at our Durham meetup. It’s clear that the company is going to be a disruptive force in the wireless industry. Republic Wireless isn’t a scrappy startup either. It’s a division of the Cary, North Carolina-based Bandwidth.com, the VoIP company responsible at least in part for Google Voice, Skype, Pandora and many more data services.
The first round of beta signups went quick last year. It’s best to jump on this program as soon as possible. Republic Wireless is slowly testing the waters and will only accept a limited number of users on its beta program.