The Best Phone Plan for Digital Nomads Around the World

Going without a cell phone is not really an option anymore. If you are going to be doing business anywhere, with anyone, then you need to have a number they can call (or more likely text.) This is a review of Republic Wireless, the cell phone carrier that I use to talk to the USA anytime I want (keeping in mind timezone differences!)

 
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What I want people to think I'm doing while conducting business

Preamble: 

I am not a stooge of any cell phone carrier. I do not make money from them (although I’d like to, if any of you reading want to make a deal!) nor do I even get a discount on any of my services from them. As many of my close friends and family can attest to, I am a huge proponent of not spending waaaaay too much (read: Verizon) on crappy service at a crappy company and will talk about it with pretty much anyone who has the misfortune of saying “hello” to me.

Republic Wireless is not one of the big carriers. It doesn’t offer you a free phone or have a million different plan options. But it does offer something I haven’t seen before: the ability for you, the customer, to talk and text over WiFi anywhere in the world with an American phone number. And, they are super cheap.

No good caption for this. 
Just seemed like a related photo and I wanted another photo.

Why this is cool:

Trying to get work in the United States while not living in the United States comes with its own set of challenges, most of which I won’t get into here. But one of the big ones is having a phone number that someone can call and actually talk to you (this is especially important if you ever plan on having a boss who is a baby boomer, a.k.a. the-last-generation-that-likes-to-talk-on-the-phone.) Google will give you a number… if you already have an American number… which doesn’t help. Skype will give you a number and then make it freaking impossible to actually use it. But Republic Wireless will give you a phone number that you can use literally anywhere (provided you have WiFi, which is most places these days.)

Yesterday, in Bali, I called my mom in Michigan. She received the call on her phone with my American caller ID showing. If she wasn’t my mom, rather some potential client/boss, then she would easily be mistaken in thinking I was located somewhere in Michigan, not Bali. She can call me back too! On the same number! If you’ve never tried to get a US number abroad, then you are not nearly impressed enough by this.

And! And, all of this ability comes at the super low price of 15USD a month!!!!


What I'm actually doing while conducting business

Yes, you have to buy your phone outright. But I recently purchased the Moto E4 for 99USD, and as my partner/family are sick of hearing, it is easily the best, most responsive phone I’ve ever had (previously, I had been on the Galaxy S track, with my last being an S5). Republic Wireless does send it to an American address though, which might be a problem if you ignored the whole “visit your family” thing and just took off to some far away land. But virtual mailboxes are a thing, and maybe you still have little goodwill with your family yet.

But why can’t you just bring your own phone that you already own, you ask? Well, you can, as long as it is a specific type of phone (list here). But what if I really want an iPhone all the time forever and ever and ever, you ask? Then be prepared to pay way too much money for pretty much everything forever and ever and ever, and maybe a really good deal isn’t for you :)

Finally, if you do come back to the states and feel like you have to purchase data, be prepared (is this joke getting old? Nope. Never.) to be amazed that your data goes way further than on a normal phone plan, cause every time you are near a WiFi hotspot your phone will switch all of its calls/texts to coming in/out over WiFi.

So, summing up. Republic Wireless lets you, a digital nomad, make and receive calls via WiFi anywhere in the world with an American phone number. It is also only 15USD a month and comes with a solid selection of phones including the super value Moto E4.


Oh, and one last thing! Republic Wireless just sent me a link that, if you use to connect to them and sign up for a plan, will give you 20USD off your first month. I don’t get anything out of this or anything, but it seemed like a nice thing to do. It only works until the end of October 2017, so you only have a few months.


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