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Republic Wireless is now issuing the cellphone equivalent of Willy Wonka's golden tickets: an invite to its forthcoming beta. When you've been assigned a wave, you'll then be placed on a wait list, only told a week before you have to place cash on the barrel for a handset. Our tipsters have told us that the company is pitching (via a survey, of course) to hit three price points for customers, each fee buying a smartphone and the first month's service. All they could supply were the specs, so we've suggested some handsets that could fit the bill:

  • Entry Level: $199 gets a phone from an "unknown" manufacturer with a 3.5-inch touchscreen, 600MHz CPU, 0.5GB of storage and a 5-megapixel camera -- which puts us in mind of the ZTE Libra or the iNQ Cloud Touch.
  • Mid-range: $299 will buy a handset from a "well known" manufacturer, 3.7-inch touchscreen, 1GHz CPU, 1GB storage, 5-megapixel camera and a VGA front-facer, similar to the Galaxy U, HTC One V or Huawei Vision.
  • Top Line: $499 gets you a 4.3-inch touchscreen phone with a 1.2Ghz dual-core CPU, 8GB storage and, weirdly, a 7-megapixel camera. We hope that last stat is a typo, since it rules out the vast majority of handsets at that level. If it was 8-megapixels, for example, we'd be thinking about phones like the Galaxy S II.

We reached out to the company for more details, and were told that it's simply in a discovery phase of sorts -- it's still trying to get a better grasp on exactly what phones would be desired. Unfortunately, that means that there aren't any concrete handset decisions to be shared just yet, but we'll be sure to pass those along as soon as we find out ourselves.

[Thanks, Matt]

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Republic Wireless now issuing invites for summer beta program: is your name on the list?