If one of your biggest monthly expenses is your cell phone bill, you’re not alone. With major wireless carriers charging more and more for their services, many consumers are looking for a way to cut costs in this area. Luckily, new service providers are popping up all the time, and they’re offering better coverage for lower rates.
Two such services are Republic Wireless and Cricket. Both offer affordable, no-contract services. But, which is best for you? Here’s the deal on these cell services:
Republic Wireless vs. Cricket: Comparing Costs
Costs for both of these providers vary depending on the package you choose and, especially, how much data you use. But here’s an idea of what to expect with each:
Republic: With Republic Wireless, the base plan, which includes unlimited talk and text, costs just $10 per month. Customers can talk and text over WiFi, and get WiFi data as part of this package. In fact, the company encourages its customers to connect to WiFi whenever possible, as this is what allows them to offer lower prices for everyone. Then, you pay for mobile data on demand, with no overage charges.
If you use, for example, 2GB of data in a month, you’ll pay an additional $30, bringing your total bill up to $40. For one gig of data, you’ll pay just $15. Any way you look at it, this is a pretty good option.
But here’s something unique about Republic’s plan: they’ll pay you back for data you don’t use. You’ll buy data in 1GB increments (except that, to start, you can buy just .5GB). If you don’t use everything you buy, they’ll credit it back to your bill.
So if you buy .5GB of data for $7.50, but only use .3GB that month, you’ll get a $3 statement credit for the data you didn’t use.
One thing to keep in mind is that Republic Wireless will automatically switch your phone from wireless service to WiFi whenever WiFi becomes available. It will even do this if you’re in the middle of a phone call! This is what allows them to have low prices, but it can sometimes result in dropped calls.
Cricket: This provider offers three different plan levels, each of which offers a $5/month savings when you choose to put your plan on auto pay. Here’s what you can get with Cricket plans:
- Basic: For $40 per month, you’ll get 2.5GB of data, unlimited talk and text, and unlimited picture and video messaging within the United States.
- Smart: For $50 per month, you’ll get 5GB of 4G data, unlimited talk and text, unlimited picture and video messaging nationwide, unlimited talk and messaging to Mexico and Canada, unlimited talk and text roaming in Mexico and Canada, and unlimited international texting.
- Pro: This $60 per month plan offers all the same benefits as the Smart plan, but offers 10GB. It’s set up for those who travel frequently and use loads of data each month.
All of these plans are eligible for Cricket’s Group Save discounts. Basically, you’ll get $10 per month off of the total cost for each phone you add – up to five lines. Fees and taxes are included in the base prices, as well.
One other thing to be aware of: data is essentially unlimited. Once you hit your high-speed data limit for the month, you’ll just be reduced to 2G-level speeds until the end of your billing cycle.
Republic Wireless vs. Cricket: Comparing Coverage
Coverage is essential when you’re shopping for a cell phone plan. It does you no good to save $40 a month if you can’t get calls when and where you need to. Here’s a breakdown of coverage for each carrier:
Republic: Republic has decent 3G and 4G coverage on the east coast and through much of the upper midwest. Coverage is very spotty in the western U.S., but picks up again in some parts of California. Your best bet with this provider is to plug in your actual address – and any addresses of locations you frequent – to check the type of coverage offered there.
You can get roaming coverage with Republic in other places, but this is not likely to be all that reliable, and it’s an additional cost. According to a September 2014 update, the company offers on-demand wireless data roaming when you need it.
The bottom line is that Republic is meant mainly for people who want to use their phones on WiFi frequently – including calling and texting over WiFi – and who live in areas with good Republic coverage.
Cricket: Of course, it’s important to check your particular city or zip to ensure you’ll have coverage in the places you visit the most.
Republic Wireless vs. Cricket: Comparing Phone Options
If you’re budget-conscious, you’re probably not after the latest iGadget. But, still, you’ll want a phone that offers all the functionality you need in a Smartphone. Here’s what these providers have to offer:
Republic: You have two phone options with a plan from Republic: a Moto E (2nd generation) or a Moto X. The Moto E costs $129 and comes with 8GB of storage. It has a tap-to-focus camera, 4.5” qHD Display, and runs Android™ Lollipop® 5.1.
The Moto X comes with 16GB of memory, and also runs Android™ Lollipop® 5.1. You can, however, build your own Motorola Moto X phone with 32GB of storage, and in any color you choose. This phone costs $299.
One possible problem here is that you cannot bring your current phone over to Republic. You’ll have to buy a new one, though their low prices make this affordable for many.
Cricket: This carrier offers a much larger selection of phones, including the popular Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime™, the Nokia Lumia 635, and the Apple iPhone 5c 16GB. As with many of the larger networks, you’ll get a steep discount for buying a new phone when you activate your plan. Some phones are available for as little as $49.99, and you can pick up an iPhone 5 for just $299.
Cricket also offers old-school flip phones and other basic options if your goal is just to make calls and send texts. You can pick up one of these for as little as $29.99.
Finally, if you have an unlocked smartphone, you can bring it over to Cricket. Use their website to check your phone’s compatibility. If your phone works with Cricket, they’ll send you a Universal SIM Card Kit, so that you can switch your phone over to their network.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line here is that both of these services could be a good alternative to your traditional cell phone carrier – especially as their networks grow to rival those of larger cell carriers.
Republic Wireless is an excellent option if you’re most often at home or work where you have WiFi coverage. The call and text over WiFi options mean you could pay next to nothing for consistent cell service. If you’re more often out and about and need better coverage, Cricket isn’t a bad option, either. It’s still much cheaper than you’ll find with most traditional carriers – especially if you take advantage of the company’s group discount.
If you’re looking to cut your cell phone spending, check out these providers. They could just be the solution you’re looking for.Topics: Smart Spending