New carrier Republic Wireless is opening its doors to the public on Tuesday next week, bringing with it unlimited calls, texts, and data for a paltry $19. It's managing this through relying primarily on Wi-Fi calling, but allows you to fall back onto a mobile network when you're outside of Wi-FI range — not dissimilar to UMA calling offered on some handsets by T-Mobile. You'll have one bill, one number, and the phone will automatically switch between Wi-Fi and cellular connections.
As of yet, we're not sure which carriers are being used to support the network when you're out of Wi-Fi range, and there's no word on which handsets Republic are offering. However, the new service sounds like a wider commercialization of Republic parent Bandwidth.com's Phonebooth Mobile service, which uses primarily Android phones (including the LG Optimus S which is shown in pieces, iFixit style, on the Republic Wireless homepage), and relies on Sprint when you leave your Wi-Fi network. TechCrunch also states that more carriers are likely to be involved. Republic aren't the first to offer cheap, unlimited service using multiple carriers — we're reminded of MVNO Zer01, which never quite made it — but the $19 price point could prove disruptive. We'll have more details next week.