Phones

Republic Wireless's Salsa hands off calls from cellular to Wi-Fi

If successful, the limited time project will become generally available in September.

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Salsa lets Republic Wireless users hop from cell tower to Wi-Fi for coverage. Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless, a service provider that prides itself on transitioning calls from Wi-Fi to cell tower, is about to pull an about-face. Its newly launched "Salsa" lab aims to do the reverse, taking calls from cell towers back to Wi-Fi.

As the carrier sees it, Wi-Fi offers a better calling experience than that of traditional cellular. And, because it's so easy to hop from Wi-Fi to cell, it should be just as seamless to go back.

Republic primarily relies on Wi-Fi for coverage, falling back to Sprint's network when the Wi-Fi isn't available. Because licensing spectrum from Sprint or other carriers is expensive, using your own Wi-Fi networks to make calls lets Republic Wireless offer rate plans starting at $5 per month.

The Salsa project isn't a plan, however. It's a testing period, really. For two weeks, it will collect and analyze feedback from users who sign up. Assuming there are no hiccups along the way, the consumer launch is expected to begin in September.

Republic Wireless subscribers who want to join the program must have a Moto X , G , or E with Android 5.0 or above, on 2nd generation models. Additionally, you'll need the latest version of the Republic Wireless app.

It isn't clear when Republic will launch the Salsa lab, but once it starts, the carrier won't accept new participants. To keep an eye on this and other Republic Wireless labs, head to its dedicated community page.