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Republic Wireless beta will reopen to new users this summer

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Republic Wireless, which offers $19 a month phone service through a combination of Wi-Fi and Sprint cellular service, says it will be reopening its beta for new users in June of 2012.

Republic Wireless
Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless, the startup that offers unlimited phone service through a combination of Wi-Fi and Sprint's cell network for $19 a month, says it will be taking a new batch of users in June 2012. The company's current beta test, which started two months ago, is apparently "going very well," and it's planning to introduce a new phone selection in April, giving users a choice of something besides the LG Optimus S. It also says it'll be announcing tools for customers of other networks next month — Republic doesn't elaborate, but we'd guess it'll involve letting phones on other networks use its Wi-Fi handoff technology.

The network promises an intriguing service at a low price point, but we have yet to see reports on how well the network is doing and if it'll be able to keep up its unlimited data service once it's out of the very first stages. Republic looks like it's trying to fix some of the potential technical issues by refining the handoff between Wi-Fi and cell service; even so, we wouldn't bet on being able to ditch the major carrier phone just yet.