What's the Latest Development?

A start up mobile phone company is refining a business model it believes can challenge the dominance of major cell phone carriers. Called Republic Wireless, the North Carolina-based firm offers unlimited voice, text, and data service for $19 per month, with no contract. The key is the ability of its phone to switch between an available WiFi signal and Sprint's cellular network. The only phone available to Republic customers is an LG Optimus S running Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

What's the Big Idea?

Republic Wireless is the perfect example of an innovative start up out maneuvering large businesses, in this case, behemoths like AT&T or Verizon. While the company has yet to find its exact formula, it thinks $19 per month for unlimited voice, text and data stands a good chance against the pricy two-year contracts required by other carriers. However, no contract means purchasing the phone up front, which at $200 is not the friendly hello everyone might be looking for. The plan is best for people who have frequent access to WiFi hotspots.

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