The $19 all-you-can-eat smartphone service that seemed great
, then not-so-great
, then great again
is about to re-open public beta testing. We're told that the first phase of the beta is "going very well", to the point where Republic Wireless feels it can "skip the baby steps" and offer its hybrid VOIP/cellular goodies to another batch of experimental folks starting in June. The provider also promises a new handset as early as April, a smoother transition between WiFi and cellular calling (on Sprint's frequencies) in May, and a full-on public launch at some point in the undeclared or undecided future. Not ready to abandon your Big Cell provider just yet? Then Republic Wireless makes one more promise: a way for customers with other carriers to save money on their bills even before they make the leap. Consider us intrigued!