GigaOm is reporting that Republic Wireless, a new hybrid VoIP/carrier, is planning on introducing a $19 unlimited data, voice and text plan on November 8th. $19! How is this possible? How does it work? Where do I sign up?
According to reports, Republic Wireless will use VoIP to handle most phone calls. It works like this: whenever you're connected to a Wi-Fi network, your call will be made with VoIP. When you're not connected to Wi-Fi, calls will be made like any other cell phone (Republic Wireless bought wholesale minutes from Sprint). If it sounds familiar, that's because it's very similar to T-Mobile's UMA technology. Texts work the same way, if you're on Wi-Fi, it'll be sent over the network. What's crazy is that the data will be unlimited—there won't be any data caps. All for 19 bucks.
But what's the catch? Well, in order to get things working with Republic Wireless, you'll have to get a special phone. GigaOM says, "the company has built this hardware based on Google's Android OS". We're not exactly sure if that means it's a brand new Android phone made by Republic or something retrofitted with Republic's technology (on Republic's website, a LG Optimus S is shown). Hopefully the phones won't suck though because if there's a halfway decent Android phone I can use for unlimited data, voice and text for $19 a month, I'm all in. [Republic Wireless via GigaOM via TechCrunch]