Just like UMA, Just Different.
For those who have played around with the combination of Wi-Fi and voice calling known as UMA, the idea behind Republic Wireless is no different from the Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA)-based service bundled in some T-Mobile BlackBerry (s rimm) devices. T-Mobile also has UMA available on some Android phones. When inside the office or your home or inside a Wi-Fi hot-spot, all phone calls and text messages are sent and received via the Internet. When there is no Wi-Fi, the calls are routed over a cellular network.
Is cheap enough?
As a long-standing fan of UMA, I like this idea of having one number automatically switching between Wi-Fi and cellular networks. It’s also attractive to those who travel internationally and want to save on calling back to the U.S.
However, I can’t get past the need for a special hardware. That need for special client hardware was always a problem for UMA. From the pricing, my best guess is that Republic is going after customers on a tight budget, and in order to attract this set of customers, the company is going to find a way to subsidize the hardware that will increase its total customer acquisition costs, which in turn means longer pay-off time for these customers.
Still, the idea of unlimited 3G data with the service for $19 a month is interesting enough for me to consider getting an additional line.