Hybrid Cellular Begins

I’ve been on the bandwagon for a cell phone service that can be both a cellular phone service, and a voip service that allows you to make calls with your cell phone over wi-fi.  Well, I might be a little late to the party here, but it looks like it’s finally happening.  Check out Republic Wireless.

It looks like they’re working in partnership with the Sprint network.  $19 a month + taxes gets you pretty much unlimited everything.  And, so long as you’ve got wi-fi connectivity, you’ve got a cell phone that can make calls, do data, etc.  If you’re not in range of a wi-fi connection, the phone seamlessly switches over to the Sprint cellular network.

They’re very much still in a beta form as they are only allowing sign ups in waves, and seem to be several weeks out for accepting people through the waves.  They also are only allowing a single band phone at the moment, which limits your cellular network coverage.  According to their site, they’ve got plans for a dual band phone that should be out by the end of  the year though, so that should drastically expand the possible cellular network.  That’s particularly important to me up here in North Dakota where cellular service is notoriously spotty to begin with.

My current contract, with AT&T isn’t up until May (I think), so I can’t even begin to look around too much until then, but you can bet I’ll be checking out Republic when I get there.  As long as they can port my current number over, and the phone they are offering is a dual band, I’ll likely give them a try.  After all, $19 is a far cry better than $90 and the service can’t be much worse than the combination of AT&T and my current phone.

What am I missing?  Are there any technical issues with a hybrid service like this?  I can’t think of any.  They say that it’s seamless, so there’s no switching or apps involved.  Imagine, stopping off at McDonalds for a quick cup of joe, and making a phone call off their free wi-fi at the same time!