updated 05:55 pm EDT, Tue November 1, 2011
Republic Wireless to bring UMA calling for $19
A new wireless provider, Republic Wireless, will launch a hybrid cellular voice and VoIP service on November 8 that promises to bring unlimited voice and data for just $19 per month. The outfit is an offshoot of Bandwidth.com, and will use Wi-Fi or data connections to make VoIP phone calls but switch to cellular-based calling when neither is available, GigaOM reported. It will also requires a specialized, Android-powered phone.
Text messages are sent over Wi-Fi or cell networks. The plan doesn't have bandwidth caps, minute limits or text maximums. The idea is similar to but slightly more advanced than the Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) scheme used by T-Mobile for some BlackBerry and Android phones.
Republic said it made its own solution, however, and will buy wholesale minutes from third-party carriers.
There is still no word on what kind of hardware will be required and if the phone will be unique or based on an existing device. Its price also remains a mystery, though with the low monthly price, it isn't likely to be subsidized.