Raleigh-based Republic Wireless, which earned the top prepaid honor from Consumer Reports last November, is co-No. 1 in a new “Readers’ Choice” survey from PC Mag. And the company is moving to address the one big complaint from customers: Lack of phone choice.

“Nothing new to announce today but anticipate new options coming shortly,” a spokesperson for Republic tells WRAL TechWire.

In the survey, PC Mag notes: “Choice of phones, however, is the only area where Republic Wireless customers seem disappointed.”

Big carriers offer more phones but ranked much lower in the survey: T-Mobile No. 5, Verizon No.7, AT&T No. 12 and Sprint No. 13.

Republic, which launched four years ago, offers a variety of phones from Motorola, which is now owned by Lenovo. The phones must be able to handle wireless as well as Wi-Fi networks since the “secret sauce” of Republic is to offer a mix of wireless and Wi-Fi. That combination enables Republic to offer cheap plans starting at $5 per month. Republic uses Sprint’s network for its cellular connectivity.

“We’re on a mission to change this industry and lead it in a new direction, one that’s focused on its Customers. Today’s announcement is strong validation that consumers will respond when you make their needs the top priority,” Republic co-founder and CEO David Morken said in a statement. “There is also no question – WiFi + cellular is a winning combination. WiFi as a primary network and cellular as the back-up network is enabling new market entrants and forcing the industry to adapt – all for the benefit of the consumer. ”

The Republic phone lineup is not static, the company stresses.

“Like all carriers we will re-fresh the handset portfolio as new devices become available,” the spokesperson explains. “Motorola has done a great job leading the handset manufacturing industry with its portfolio of phones that support both WiFi and cellular calling. Most experts agree – the Moto X/2nd generation is on par with the iPhone 6 in terms of features, except at Republic it is about half the cost – with no contract.

“Republic has what the industry calls a ‘Good, Better, Best’ portfolio of handsets or phones for all budgets – all Motorola … the Moto X/2nd Generation – $399, the Moto X/1st Generation – $299/, the Moto G – $149 and the Moto E at $99.”

PC Mag’s ranking lists Republic in a tie for No. 1 with Consumer Cellular. Carriers are reviewed based on readers’ responses to 12 different service-related questions.

In reviewing Republic, PC Mag notes, tongue in cheek:

“Republic Wireless, on the other hand, takes a much more Henry Ford-like approach. You can get any phone you want…as long as it’s a Motorola Moto X, Moto G, or Moto E. Those are the only options. The Moto X is an excellent phone but users clearly want more choice. Republic’s satisfaction with choice of phones was rated 7.0, barely better than the last placed provider in this criterion (metroPCS at 6.9).”

Republic did receive high scores otherwise:

  • 9.5 out of 10 for fees
  • 8.8 for overall satisfaction
  • 9.0 for “likelihood to recommend” to others

Ranking below Republic and Consumer in order were:

3. Straight Talk

4. metroPCS

5. T-Mobile

6. Cricket

7. Verizon

8. US Cellular

9. Boost Mobile

10. Tracfone

11. Virgin Mobile

12. AT&T

13. Sprint

Read more at: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0%2c2817%2c2478408%2c00.asp