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New, Low-Cost Voice/Data Company Launches Next Week

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Most smartphone users fork over a lot of money every month to be able to talk and surf.  But a new company promises to cut the price — and the strings.

With the average iPhone, Android, and Blackberry bill more than $100 per month, newcomer Republic Wireless hopes its price is a jaw-dropper:

“Nineteen dollars a month” for unlimited mobile broadband, voice, and text, with no contract, says Stacey Higginbotham, senior writer for the tech site GigaOM.

“It’s not exactly the same service people might be used to when they buy a cell phone plan,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

That’s because it relies on your WiFi network to make VoIP calls, send messages, and do data.  When that’s not available, it’s supposed to hop seamlessly onto Sprint’s network.

“The downside is that you have to buy a special handset in order for it to work,” Higginbotham explains.  They’ll be Android-based devices, though without a contract to tie you and your bank account down, they could cost more than the subsidized phones you’re used to.

There are few details on the Republic Wireless web site (republicwireless.com), but giving the company your e-mail address gets you the promise of a “special offer” on launch day, November 8th.

Reported by Ian Bush, KYW Newsradio 1060

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