The phone is a Sprint LG Optimus S. 100% exact same hardware. Some blogs were saying that Republic used custom hardware but that is not the case. Republic DOES use custom software. The android build seems to be a custom cyanogenmod 7 build with some settings and menus hidden and some custom SIP edits. Won't get into an Optimus review.. but I will say that despite being low end.. it certainly gets the job done. Quite stable.
As for the service... you're basically getting a SIP account(can be achieved for free with a google voice number tied to a free pbxes.org account) and a very limited Sprint CDMA account for $19/month. The custom android build is always looking for a wifi connection.. all calls incoming/outgoing over wifi are free and unlimited. When not in a wifi area the phone defaults back to the standard Sprint CDMA account... 3G EVDO kicks in and all calling are now using cellular towers rather than wifi. All cellular calls/texts/3G count against your Republic "ratio". But from what it seems.. it's hardly a ratio you can increase by using a ton of free wifi calls. You basically get all the free calls you can imagine while on wifi... but when off wifi you get around 400 minutes, a few hundred texts and a measly 500MB or so of 3G data. Now you could use the Google Voice app for sms over data to avoid the low text limit but you still have to deal with the low 3G limit. It all comes down to how and where you use a phone. For me, it might work out... and either way I want to pay for the dedicated line... but I'm always either at work, home or at a friends.. all have great wifi coverage. As soon as I walk into any of those buildings my wifi pops on and I have free calls/sms(using gv app)/data. I can talk til I'm blue in the face, download until my sd card is full and text until my fingers fall off all without ever having to worry about going over a limit. The only time I'm not on wifi is while walking around.. driving around... random places etc. This is where the Sprint CDMA/3G would kick in. 400 minutes, few hundred texts and 500MB of data is enough to sort of play around while your phone or use it in a pinch... but I'm always worried about getting back on wifi.
Is the loss of a lil freedom worth the lower monthly bill.. that's for you to decide. Most monthly cell phone bills aren't unlimited anyway.. but 3x the cost. If you can make use of wifi then why not pay $19 a month. If you're constantly talking on the phone while in the car... or just are never around wifi most of the day.. then Republic Wireless may not be for you.
As a bonus I will say that I was able to fully clone this device to a Sprint Samsung Epic 4G Touch Galaxy S II. I am no longer tied to the LG Optimus S yet I'm able to use both the SIP and CDMA parts of my Republic line with no restrictions. I have managed to make the SIP/CDMA switching just as seamless as Republic's custom software by using free 3rd party software to handle the SIP side of things. Having the power of Republic Wireless in a phone as good as the Galaxy S II is pretty awesome. An extra feature of the Galaxy S II is 4G WiMAX. This adds yet another possible connection for free sip calling. All calls/texts/data would be free over 4G. So anytime you aren't within wifi range.. there's a good chance you'll be in 4G range... so 98% of all usage would be unlimited. Can't beat it.
On another note, I HATE when articles try to spell out the pronunciation of a person's name, because I inevitably sit there trying to sound it out, looking like a goon. "Mr. [Kalle] Lasn, whose name is pronounced KAL-luh LAS-en..." I'm pretty sure I had it correct before they junked it all up with their nonsense. Pretty sure.
Weird Rumor: 32GB Nexus 4 With CDMA and LTE to be Announced at Google I/...
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