After nearly a year of beta testing which saw it deal with the vagaries and definitions of fair use, as well as the pitfalls of providing devices with proper network support, upstart virtual operator Republic Wireless is officially available to the public for pre-order, with one phone utilizing its “Hybrid Calling” service in the CDMA Motorola Defy XT currently for sale at $259.99 ahead of its planned launch.
Republic Wireless is heavily touting its “Hybrid Calling” technology as the alternative to complete reliance on more expensive cellular service, as the company’s $19 monthly plan is achieved by allowing customized devices use Wi-Fi to pass standard voice calls through and in effect offload them off of the cellular network, although in practice, handoffs from Wi-Fi to cellular leave much to be desired and were one of the reasons T-Mobile abandoned its primary UMA implementation in T-Mobile @Home in favor of a purely software-based solution.
The solution touted by Republic Wireless is said to solve the above issues, but multiple threads on the subject from across the internet seem to imply that the key issue still has yet to be resolved. Republic Wireless also has plans to release a customized version of the LG Optimus S that also supports its Hybrid Calling service, but has yet to provide a timeframe for release.
It should be noted that the customized LG Optimus S was the first device offered in the closed beta for the service last year, but it was subsequently replaced by the Motorola Defy XT during the beta period after a multitude of user complaints.