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Tech Check: Newer cell service could save you $1,000/year

by Doug Delony / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on February 22, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 22 at 2:42 PM

HOUSTON –- A growing number of people are turning to a mobile phone service that uses wireless Internet before turning the call over to a traditional cell tower.

For many people, the savings come out to around $1,000 a year.

It’s done through a different form of “hybrid” wireless phone service. Just this week one company, Republic Wireless, offered up a new unlimited phone plan. By the phone for about $100 and you get unlimited minutes for about $30/month.

Republic Wireless is among a few mobile phone providers who say they are inverted from your typical service. When you make a call the phone is programmed to automatically check for wireless Internet to place the call through, using technology powered by the same company that powers Skype. If WiFi isn’t available, no big deal, it routes the call through a cell tower.

Unlike most Internet calls, you can still dial 911.

Ting is another company that offers this kind of service, although they focus more on “pay-as-you-go” plans rather than unlimited. Still it’s much cheaper than a typical plan, and it can be just as reliable. Republic Wireless leases its cell tower service from Sprint.

Both Ting and RW have calculators that show how much you’d spend/save by going with them. Most people can probably drop their $100 phone plan down to $20 – if you have WiFi handy.

So what’s the catch? Nothing really, but there are some things to note…

>> You have a limited choice of phones (You won’t find the iPhone on RW or Ting)
>> You pay up front for the phone (Anywhere from $100 to several hundred)
>> No MMS on Republic Wireless (can’t send text messages with photos or video)

It may not be for everyone, but it’s definitely worth looking into if you want to save cash.

On the web:

Questions? Comments? Feel free to reach out to Doug on Facebook (facebook.com/KHOUDougDelony) or Twitter (@DougDelonyKHOU)

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