Republic Wireless drops unlimited data in favor of Google-like refunds

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Another unlimited mobile data option just bit the dust... although it's not quite as bad as it sounds. Republic Wireless has switched from offering unlimited cellular data on its higher-priced phone tiers to a Refund Plan that shares more than a little in common with Google's Project Fi. You start with a base $10 plan, and add data depending on how much you expect to use -- you get money back, and pay $15 per extra gigabyte if you run over. The add-ons start at a modest $7.50 for 500MB and peak at $45 for 3GB, so you won't pay much at all unless you regularly underestimate your needs.

The carrier is betting that you won't mind the lack of unfettered service, since you'll probably be paying less overall. As it explains to Recode, participants in a test run saved a typical $5 per month. However, the change also makes frequent data use considerably less attractive. You might end up paying extra if you regularly use over 2GB a month, and it just won't be your cup of tea if you use 3GB or more. The plan makes a lot of sense if you spend most of your day on WiFi and only need basics like email when you're out, but you'll want to reevaluate things if you just have to stream music and movies wherever you go.

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