Republic Wireless made waves late last year with its $299 Moto X smartphone and dirt-cheap no-contract service plans. Now the company plans to lower the cost of entry with a less expensive handset.
Starting in April, Republic will offer the Motorola Moto G (8GB) for $149 and Moto G (16GB) for $179. These replace the company's previous entry-level phone, the decidedly outdated Defy XT.
Motorola first unveiled the Moto G in December, offering it as an affordable alternative to the popular Moto X. With a starting price of $179, the unlocked phone was initially available in US and global GSM versions.
Republic's model leverages CDMA technology to run on Sprint's network. However, like its GSM counterparts, the Moto G tops out at 3G speeds. Consequently, Republic will offer three service plans to the Moto X's four, with the top one ($25 monthly) offering unlimited calling, texting, and data. The $5/month plan gives you unlimited everything, but only when you're connected to Wi-Fi, while the $10 plan adds cellular service for calls and texts (but no data; for that you still need Wi-Fi).
Like all Republic's phones, this one relies on "hybrid" communications, meaning it leverages available Wi-Fi networks whenever possible for calls and text messages, switching to cellular only when there's no Wi-Fi available.
As with the Moto X, you're buying the phone outright -- but because it's specially coded to work on Republic's network, you can't use it with any other carrier. Similarly, the Moto G will not initially support short-code text messaging, though Republic Wireless is working on adding this capability.
The Moto G features a 4.5-inch, 720p display, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, and, unlike the Moto X, a removable backplate that affords access to the battery. (You can jazz up the phone by swapping backplates, which are available from Motorola in various colors.) Although the G originally came with Android 4.3, Republic's model will ship with 4.4 (KitKat).
Republic will start selling the Moto G next month, though an exact date has yet to be announced.