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There’s now a wireless carrier that will pay you for your unused data

Published Apr 20th, 2015 1:33PM EDT
Republic Wireless Unused Data Repayment
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Did the Uncarrier just get Uncarrier’d? T-Mobile is often the first wireless carrier in the United States that comes to mind when discussing innovative mobile plans that stand to benefit consumers, but a lesser-known carrier called Republic Wireless has just announced a new data plan that will actually pay subscribers back for any unused data remaining in their data plan each month.

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Republic Wireless on Monday announced the imminent launch of a new beta plan that is unlike anything the industry has ever seen.

While T-Mobile and AT&T have both recently introduced wireless data plans that will allow users to rollover any unused data to the next billing period, that data will eventually be lost if it’s not used. With Republic Wireless’ new plan, however, the value of every last bit of unused cellular data will be credited to subscribers each month from the prior billing period.

Republic Wireless was one of the first mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to introduce wireless service that relies mainly on Wi-Fi rather than cellular networks. Phones use Wi-Fi for voice calling, data and messaging unless no Wi-Fi service is available, and then they use Sprint’s cellular network as a backup.

Of note, Republic also announced Monday that a second cellular partner will be announced later this year.

Pricing has not yet been announced for the carrier’s new wireless plans that repay subscribers for unused cellular data. The plans will first be available next month only as a private beta for subscribers who participate in Republic’s Republic Labs program. The beta is expected to last between 4 and 8 weeks, and then the plans will be made available to all subscribers.

Subscribers who wish to remain on the carrier’s unlimited data plan will be grandfathered in and will not be forced to switch to a new plan.

Republic Wireless’ full press release follows below.

Republic Wireless Announces Industry First: Plans That Pay Customers for Unused Cellular Data

WiFi calling leader Republic Wireless raises the bar again: Beta testing new plans that will repay consumers for their unused cellular data each month.

Republic also announces a second cellular carrier partner joining in 2015, rollout of seamless in-call handover from cellular-to-WiFi, as well as additional smartphones and seamless multi-device communications, in Republic Labs over the next nine months.

April 20, 2015 – Raleigh, NCRepublic Wireless, the WiFi calling service provider recognized as PC Magazine’s 2015 Readers’ Choice for mobile carriers, today announced a new initiative designed to help customers purchase just the amount of cellular data they truly need. In an industry first, Republic is launching beta plans that repay Republic Labs participants for all unused cellular data.

Having pioneered seamless WiFi-to-cellular handoff, Republic is now “completing the circle” by rolling out reverse handover of calls from cellular to WiFi without interruption. Republic is launching customer betas for next generation smartphones, seamless communications across multiple devices and support for multiple cellular carrier partners in the coming months. The company will roll these programs out to all customers after working with its Republic Labs test groups.

“One of the coolest things here at Republic is collaborating together with our Customers to solve the biggest industry pain points in Republic Labs. It helps us keep one step ahead. Customers told us they wanted control over how much cellular data they buy – with today’s announcement, we are delivering,” Bandwidth and Republic Wireless CEO, David Morken said. “Over eighty percent of our customers use less than a gigabyte of cellular data a month. It’s been estimated that current industry plans cause consumers to waste an average of  $200 per year in unused cellular data. We think that’s ridiculous. So we’ve devised a way to pay customers back penny for penny for unused cellular data every month.

“Four years ago Republic became the first US carrier to build a business model based on WiFi calling, with cellular as a backup network. The market and the industry has reacted to our moves, but not enough, so we decided it was time to up the ante once again,” Morken adds.

Along with paying customers back for their unused cellular data, Republic is also working with customers to tee up several other industry-changing products. Over the next 9 months, Republic will begin customer-driven beta tests of new features and products including:

  • Cellular-to-WiFi handover – Republic has refined seamless WiFi to Cell handover over the last couple years so calls don’t drop. In the reverse, the company has begun real-world trials with customers on seamless cellular to WiFi handover.
  • Next-gen mobile phones – Customers will test which phone Republic launches next.
  • Seamless multi-device communications – Republic will begin testing the ability for customers to access calls and messages from any device including tablets as well as laptops and desktops.
  • Multiple carrier cellular networks – Republic will also be adding a second cellular carrier partner joining later this year.

“This story is about more than technology and cost savings – it’s really about a company wholly dedicated to improving the entire consumer wireless experience – leveraging all of things that consumers have wanted from a wireless company, while changing the things that aren’t customer friendly. Contracts and early termination fees are dinosaurs from the past. As of today, cellular-first approaches and overpaying for data will be as well,” Morken adds.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.