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Are Hybrid Cell Phones The Future?

I recently bought my son a cellular service plan from Kajeet for $19.99 a month.

I admit that I did not want to make this purchase.  My son has an Apple iPod Touch, and with that awesome electronic device, I configured my son’s iPod to make and receive cellular calls when he is connected to a wireless router.  Included in the app is texting, so I didn’t understand why we needed to buy a cell phone, but my son insisted that he wanted one.  So we went with the Kajeet services I mentioned earlier.

At the time it was one of the cheapest yet practical Cellular Plans out in the market place.  The feature that sold us was the unlimited texting, this was exactly what my son wanted.  Overall, we’ve  been happy with the Cellular Plan from Kajeet, and the cell phone that we bought… until recently.

The latest rage is the new hybrid cellular plan from “Republic Wireless“!  It’s basically a blend of the iPod app that makes and receives calls (and texting) over a wireless router, and the cellular aspect of a cellular plan (Sprint I believe).

LG Optimus
LG Optimus

 

The basic idea is that when you are within range of a wireless router (they calculate this to be 60% of the time), you use the router for your calls, texting and for internet access.  Then the times when you are not in range of a wireless router, you use the cellular services that they provide (again, via Sprint).  It’s basically taking advantage of both technologies for an optimally frugal mix!  All for the price of $19 (yep, that’s right, it’s even cheaper than Kajeet).

The plan is unique in that the service refers to customers as members instead of customers, and if you violate the 60% too much or too long, they reserve the right to kick you out of the community.  How’s that for a different business model!

But, from what I read it seems like a fantastic deal, and I’m going to sign up for the service once they start taking new members again!

I usually don’t say this, but go check out the Republic Wireless website.  They did an excellent job with the design, and all the information is presented in an easy to comprehend manner.  I was very impressed by their presentation.

What do you think?  Is Hybrid Cell Phones the future?

The great thing about Republic’s service plan is that it’s not a long-term contract, it’s monthly and even has a 30 day guarantee.

I recently blogged about how I was considering breaking down and buying a cell phone in the article: “Frugal Confessions: I Do Not Own a Cell Phone” recently, but I’ve decided to delay that decision and wait until I can get on board with Republic Wireless instead.

What do you think, since it’s risk free, would you consider such a plan?

Tell me what you think,

MR

26 Responses to Are Hybrid Cell Phones The Future?

    • Yeah, I rigged my son’s iPod Touch to do the same, he even has his own phone number…

      This is by far the cheapest solution I have found for a smart phone. I’m planning on getting one for myself, and maybe one for my son too.

  1. I think this is a great idea! I haven’t heard of this before, so I would definitely be interested. Although, I have pretty slow internet as it is, so I wonder if this would affect the quality of calls.

  2. That’s pretty cool, but it’s still has a monthly fee. I don’t use the phone enough to spend $19/m. I have a prepaid phone and $40 usually last me 3-4 months… 🙂

    • I’ve always used the one from work. But now since online activities are becoming a business, it seems wise to buy a separate one.

    • I hope to get my hands on one so I can try it out! What a great combo. My son uses his iPod to do phone calls over our wireless router and it sounds pretty good, so I would expect this solution to be good too (I hope) 🙂

  3. It’s not exactly risk free (you have to pay up front for the phone, but don’t recall how much). But in all fairness, it is as risk-free as you’re going to find. I too am waiting for the availability to open back up so I can jump onboard. And yes, I believe it is the future of cell service, at least for those who fall into the acceptable use guidelines of Republic (which my wife and I do). Getting tired of the $155/mo AT&T bill!

    • The phone is around $200. Kind of pricey for the model, but not too bad either…

      I recently learned that Republic Wireless scrapped their complex model. So that’s one complexity out of the way…

    • On their blog, they state early to mid-summer of 2012.

      I have to admit, I’m tired of waiting… Perhaps I’ll just get an ipod touch and use it to make phone calls over a wireless connection. This is what I did for my son…

      Besides, I emailed them asking if I could review their product, but they never replied back to me…

  4. I *love* the phone. Calls are great but I don’t call out a lot and the price is just what I was expecting. I am a great fan of RW. Just wait until they have more options in the summer and get it then.

    Enjoy!

    Aaron