Recently there’s been a trend of smaller phone carriers offering discount plans. If you’re looking to live frugally, you might find that one of these plans suits you well, so let’s take a look at three of the biggest. These would be Ting, Google Fi, and Republic. There’s different advantages and disadvantages to each plan, so let’s take a look over them and see if we can’t find one that’ll suit your needs exactly and take some burden off of your monthly bills.
Republic Wireless opened to the public in November of 2013 after some fairly extensive beta-testing. They operate on a hybrid network, primarily operating through wireless internet, but resorting to using Sprint’s network when wifi is unavailable. On a quick overview, they’re pretty impressive:
$10/Month Base Plan- Their wireless plans start at only $10. If you’re the type that really isn’t using data, this can be quite a bargain. However, if you were to upgrade to a measly 3 gigabytes of data a month, the plan will skyrocket to $55 per month.
Wifi Calling- If you’re constantly around wireless networks, this is a great thing. However, depending on the area Sprint’s network coverage can be a bit unreliable so you may be hugging your router.
No Overages- Thankfully, you simply can’t receive data to go over so you can’t be charged automatically for accidentally going over. You actually will receive credit back for any data you don’t use.
Phones Available– Unfortunately, for now anyways, there’s only a couple of phones available that can use the service. The Moto G and the Moto E. In July of 2016 they’re planning on opening up to a wide variety of higher-quality phones however.
Google Fi is Google’s premier mobile service, which operates on both wireless frequencies and the networks of Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular depending on signal strength and speed, picking the best one out for you. Google Fi is a bit pricer than Republic Wireless, but offers some other advantages:
Plans Start at $20- The plan which includes unlimited text and talk comes in at $20, however data usage makes things a bit pricy. You’ll be paying $10 per gigabyte of data in your plan if you choose to include it.
On the Fly Switching- The nice thing about Google Fi is that it will switch seamlessly between cellular networks and wireless frequencies, and it depends on the total strength and speed, not just the availability of wifi.
Credit Back- If you choose to pay in advance for data, and don’t use it all, Google Fi will credit you back on the data you didn’t use for the next month’s bill. You won’t have to waste any cash with this plan.
Hotspot Capabilities- All phones on the Google Fi plan can be used as a hotspot with no additional charge over the data used.
Phones Available- The Nexus 6P and the Nexus 5X are both available for use through Google Fi’s website.
Ting functions on all of the major networks within the US, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. They have a sliding scale of usage for your phone, instead of a base rate for unlimited calls and texts. This can be quite cheap if you’re not the type that uses your phone much, but you’ll probably want to go with something else if you’re constantly on your phone.
$6 per Device- The rate starts at $6 per month for the device. You can go up to 100 minutes of calling or 100 texts for $3 each, which means with minimal use you’ll only be paying around $12 per month. If you’re using data, look at another plan, at 2gb of data you’ll be charged $29.
Wide Variety of Networks– Unlike the other two, Ting simply taps all of the phone networks available and uses the strongest signal. It doesn’t have wifi calling though.
Wide Variety of Phones– If you check Ting’s website, you’ll quickly realize that they allow you to use a much wider variety of phones than the other two networks.
Comparison and Conclusion
Republic Wireless is probably the best if you use your phone often, and aren’t planning on using much data. Their $10 per month charge is the absolute lowest you’ll be able to get to if you’re wanting to text and call but the data on their plans adds up quickly.
Ting is best for those who barely use their phone. If you only make a couple of calls a month and don’t text, you can actually get down to roughly $9 per month. Keep in mind that Ting will become quite expensive if you’re extensively using any part of it though, it’s best for a minimalist back-up phone.
Google Fi is the best option for those who use their phone for everything with these plans. The flat data rate quickly beats out Republic Wireless at around 3gb of data, making it optimal for those who are actually using their smart phone’s capabilities to the fullest extent.
We hope we’ve helped to educate you on exactly what differences there are between these three discount wireless networks, so that you can find the one that best suits your needs.