First —a thank you
Today we’re celebrating an important milestone. This milestone isn’t about sales volumes, or a record-high stock price, or even a new phone. It’s about celebrating thousands of different people —technology enthusiasts, first time smartphone owners, and telecom vets who believed the cell industry was ready for change —coming together alongside a team in North Carolina ready to make that change a reality.
Today we are announcing a new phone, new plans, and some amazing new technology. This is the result of a 20 month march together toward a bold and audacious mission: to make the features of a smartphone more enjoyable and accessible for everyone. These new plans, devices, and technology all have one common thread. They were designed for you and by you, our members, based off of your constant feedback, your constructive criticism, your usage patterns, and thousands of hours of analysis….which often went something like this... “We can’t do that, it’s impossible...well, let’s try it anyway”. We’ve outlined much of our journey through our recent blog posts.
We couldn’t have done it without you, our awesome members, and without the help of our incredible industry partners in Sprint and Motorola, and we want to sincerely thank all of you for your support.
What we learned in Beta
What we were trying to do with Wi-Fi Hybrid Calling technology was uncharted territory (read: kinda scary, never been done before stuff). A Wi-Fi centric model didn’t exist —there was no playbook, no script, no “tried and true” method. We had to discover it in real time with people who were willing to believe that cell phone service could be done in a better way. These are key learnings that we tackled head on:
1. Wi-Fi savings are real. Our technology, combined with a passionate and Wi-Fi biased member base, drives incredible savings...offering unheard of price points while also supporting a viable business model. In fact, we think we have a way to save a significant number of members even more money.
2. We can deliver great support at a low cost. Current republic members help each other every day in our online community —responses are unbelievably fast! Our members have shown that they not only can, but want to, help each other out and make this a success. We complement this support with our 7 day a week in-house support staff. Between these resources, we’ve created a new, better, way to do phone support that doesn’t involve call centers. But don’t take our word for it, see what our own members are saying in our online Customer Help Report. If our support system weren't making our members happy, everyone would know it, immediately.
3. You wanted higher performance phones. Some of you loved (and continue to love!) the DEFY XT, but others had some challenges. Your feedback showed us that it only suited some of your lifestyles and needs, and that many of you needed something faster. We also learned that although our members love monthly savings, low recurring cost is not the only consideration for them. You wanted the option to own a high spec, high performance phone that doesn’t require a second mortgage. It wasn’t easy, and it was our challenge to offer world-class phones (which drive more data), at world-class prices, with world-class service.
4. We can offer an amazing product and deliver on a user experience promise that is audacious.
It was very clear that Wi-Fi to cellular handover, improved call quality, and MMS were critical features for our members —we couldn’t agree more. Where other attempts have failed or abandoned, our team has succeeded —we’ve invented new technology that enables seamless Wi-Fi to cellular handover, vastly improved Wi-Fi call quality, and MMS capabilities as well as some great new features such as visual voicemail (and yes, that will be included in the price. C’mon, did you think we would charge for that?). And most importantly, we’ve built a foundation that we can continue to iterate with our members, and update the experience as we continue to learn.
New phone and new plans—let’s get to it
The First Phone
We will offer the Moto X for $299…with no contract. The Moto X is an amazing phone, which goes well beyond the “spec wars” that we see in the space today. We’ve built upon that by adding in our next generation of hybrid calling. We absolutely love this phone, especially with Republic’s technology, and we’re excited to offer it to our members.
Let’s answer two important questions —how the heck is this phone $299, and when can I get one?
The phone is $299 because we are footing the bill. Period. This is NOT a $299 phone. Take a quick look around the web and look at “no contract” pricing for the Moto X. You’re talking Galaxy S4, HTC One X pricing (and for good reason…did we already say the phone is awesome!).
In the industry this is typically known as a subsidy, but we’ve added a twist. We are bringing down the cost without holding you to a contract. We’re doing this because we have trust in our members…and we have confidence in our product and service. Contracts are inherently built on a lack of trust…and a lack of confidence in your ability to bring your A game every.single.day. We believe in a better way…the way things should be.
Is this crazy? Possibly. Many will think this can’t be done. We believe differently, and we are excited about pursuing yet another innovation on behalf of our members.
When can you get the Moto X with these new plans? In many ways that is the question. The short answer is November, and we will officially exit beta with this new phone. We know, you want it tomorrow, and we really wish we could make that happen, but we still need to dot a few i’s and cross a few t’s. Remember our blog post on carrier certification? That’s where we are right now —the phone is done, but now it needs to go through certification on Sprint’s network, and that process takes some time.
Why did we announce today when the phone isn’t available until November? Well, we believe our offer represents huge savings for so many people, and we want them to be aware of their options. There are nearly 400,000 smartphones sold every day in the United States. In our view, that’s 400,000 people that are overpaying and being underserved. So we wanted to announce as soon as we could.
The Plans for the Phones
At the core of our crazy beliefs, and the cornerstone of our new way of doing wireless, is Wi-Fi. It is what allows us to keep costs down, give you faster speeds, and most of all, pass on lots of value. When we set out to design the new plans, success for us was largely measured by our ability to empower you to leverage Wi-Fi —this, we knew, would give you what you ultimately wanted most: savings, and better service.
Our new plans are structured specifically around this idea in two specific ways:
1. We are giving you TWO plans that use Wi-Fi data only. This is the sweet spot, where we can reduce rates to rock bottom and give you the ability to save absurd amounts of money.
2. We are giving you the ability to switch within the month between plans. Our data shows —and common sense agrees— that your life changes throughout the month, as do your smartphone needs. Sometimes, you’re around Wi-Fi all the time. (In fact, our members are about 90% of the time). This is where the $5 and $10 plans fit like a glove. But sometimes, maybe for a long weekend trip to the beach, you might want some cell data backup. This is where one of the two cell data plans come in —you can pick your flavor there, as well, and change immediately on your phone. This is the kind of power we wanted to give you —forget being stuck to a price plan for two years. We didn’t want you stuck to something for even a month. It’s your life, and you likely need something different from your neighbor. Now, you have the customization to choose.
$5 Wi-Fi only plan
This is the most powerful tool in your arsenal of options. Why? You can drop your smartphone bill —at will— to $5. If you’re interested in getting serious about cutting costs, you can use this tool to best leverage the Wi-Fi in your life to reduce your phone bill. It’s also the ultimate plan for home base stickers and kids who don’t need a cellular plan. It’s fully unlimited data, talk and text —on Wi-Fi only.
$10 Wi-Fi + Cell Talk & Text
One of our members, 10thdoctor said : “I use WiFi for everything, except when I'm traveling and for voice at my school.” Yep, this is the perfect plan for that. Our members are around Wi-Fi about 90% of the time. During that 10% of the time where you’re away from Wi-Fi, this plan gives you cellular backup for communicating when you need to. This plan both cuts costs and accommodates what’s quickly becoming the norm: a day filled with Wi-Fi.
$25 Wi-Fi + Cell (3G) Talk, Text & Data
Lots of people are on 3G plans today and are paying upwards of $100 a month on their smartphone bills. That’s nuts. This plan is here for you during the times when you need the backup of cell data. For folks who want to surf Facebook and check email in the car (as a passenger) or who travel regularly for work, this option lets them enjoy all the benefits of Wi-Fi with the luxury of 3G cellular data. You may find you only want this cellular back up part of the month —no problem! Switching during the month to the $5 or $10 plan is easy, and is a great way to keep more money in your wallet.
$40 Wi-Fi + Cell (4G) Talk, Text & Data
We heard you tell us that you wanted a super fast option, so we added this arrow to your quiver. This plan is here for you when you’ve got a road warrior kind of month, and you’ve got a serious need for speed. Have to get work done on a long train ride? And need to work fast? This is your guy. Just like the other plans, it’s a few clicks away.
Beta members —we owe you one.
We’d never be where we are today without our Beta members. Period. We can’t thank you guys enough for taking the leap of faith to build this new world with us. Sometimes you were our most ardent supporters and, other times, as our biggest critics. We needed both of those sides from you, and you delivered in spades. There are two separate upgrade offers coming your way...let’s dive in.
1. As early adopters of Republic, we’re offering all members who join on or before September 25, 2013 a 10% discount on your monthly service fee, for the Moto X plan of your choice and for any future plans you choose with Republic Wireless, even if you change phones.
2. In addition, our partner Motorola is also offering anyone who upgrades to a Moto X from any qualifying later model Motorola device (including DEFY XT) a $100 Jelly Bean rebate in the form of a prepaid Visa card.
The best is yet to come.
Republic’s Beta was only the beginning, and we’re just getting started. There’s no limit to the innovation we can achieve as we continue to build our Republic together. We’re excited to share this exciting news with you today, and thrilled to enter the next chapter with our current and future members.
As always, please leave your comments and questions here.