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Republic Wireless reopens $19 service, sells Motorola Defy XT

The heavily hyped service, which promises an all-you-can-eat plan for just $19.99 a month, is finally adding more customers again.

Republic Wireless

Remember Republic Wireless?

The wireless service, which made headlines for its cut-rate $19 unlimited voice, text message, and data plan that relied more on Wi-Fi networks than cellular ones, opened and quickly closed its beta last year. Now the company is ready to reopen its beta to a new wave of customers, and has added the Motorola Defy XT to its lineup, Engadget first reported.

Republic Wireless captured a lot of attention for its plan, which many believed would be disruptive to the more traditional contract wireless plans, and even the less expensive prepaid plans. But the company has gotten off to a slow start in adding customers.

Because of its no-contract and no-frills structure, the Defy XT will sell for $249, a high price for an Android phone still running Gingerbread, or Android 2.3. The company also said that early customers who have the LG Optimus can upgrade to the Defy XT for $149.

Republic Wireless, which buys and resells space on Sprint Nextel's network, flies in the face of the increasing restrictions and limitations on data use placed by the bigger carriers, who argue that they are facing a looming capacity crunch. Sprint, however, has maintained its unlimited offering, but at a much higher rate than what Republic is selling its service at.