Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

Republic Wireless: What to expect...

When people shop for smartphones, they really consider the big networks, such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. From there, it boils down to a couple of things. Don’t want to worry about your data use, go for Sprint. Want 4G coverage? Verizon. Want fast data speeds and the ability to use the phone internationally with minimal hassle? AT&T.

Any other option there are some sacrifices made. Either unreliable coverage or slow data speeds, or both. You might’ve noticed in an earlier episode of The Techport Podcast where I talked about Straight Talk and how you can get a $45 dollar plan on a $300-350 phone and have a great smartphone. That is one of the few exceptions from the big cell services that provide good service. Well, I have another one, and if you can get past the catches, you might be very happy with a not so common provider.

The Cell Provider is called Republic Wireless. You have to get the phone from them, which is the Motorola Defy XT for $250, and it’s a month to month plan for $19 a month. Now, I’m a true believer in “If it seems too good to be true, it usually is,” and this largely applies to their service, but overall it’s a good deal for what it is.

The catch is they recommend you connect to Wifi networks when possible, and they can cut you off at any point. It’s really not as harsh as it sounds, if you use most of your smartphone data on a wifi network, then there won’t be a problem. Also, it is assumed by current customers that they will throttle the data speed after heavy use.

So, not so bad right? What about the phone though? Here is a quick rundown of the Specs:

Android 2.3.7 (Gingerbread)

Single Core 1Ghz Cortex A5 Processor

512 MB Ram

1GB Internal Storage (Micro SD Card Slot)

3.7 inch 480x854 (265 ppi)

5 MP Rear Camera/ .3 MP Front Camera

For today’s standards, it is below average. There are certainly better phones for similar price off contract. If it is your first smartphone, then you will be okay with it. It’s Data Network is using Sprint’s CDMA network, so if you are in a good Sprint area, expect good data speeds.

The biggest complaint about the service, which might be a huge turn-off for some people, is there is no wifi to cellular hand off. So, if you take a phone call before you head to work, your call will be disconnected.

But, if you are like most people, you go to work on your wifi network. When you go home, your back on another wifi network. There are few times where you aren’t in a wifi network, so most people should be good. If you are in a normal job, you should be pretty good with this solution.

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