Blog Post

Who’s your new mobile carrier? How ’bout Wi-Fi?

Almost two years ago Republic Wireless launched with a crazy plan to offer phones that would use Wi-Fi as their default network, sending any requests outside of Wi-Fi over the Sprint 3G network. The program started with a $19 monthly plan and an older model Motorola smartphone using a custom version of Android.

Today almost 90 percent of wireless carrier Republic Wireless’ data traffic goes over Wi-Fi, leaving 11.5 percent traveling over Sprint’s 3G network. While Republic is a niche carrier for the budget conscious that don’t mind a limited selection of phones, it’s also at the forefront of a shift in telecommunications that will not only happen, but needs to happen. Eventually instead of thinking about which carrier you want to use, you’ll just think about Wi-Fi.

“Carriers and cellular will become the mortar while Wi-Fi will be the bricks,” said David Morken, CEO of Bandwidth owns Republic, so Morken obviously has an agenda, but he’s far from alone in pushing Wi-Fi as the primary means of connecting to the web. Free, a French carrier, has built a mobile network using Wi-Fi hotspots provided by its wireline broadband subscribers, and has found success.

Turn WiFi off when leaving home rule

And while Google taking over the Starbucks Wi-Fi networks and the continued expansion of the nationwide cable Wi-Fi network aren’t necessarily attempts to threaten cellular dominance, by providing a cheaper alternative in more places they are making business models that rely on Wi-Fi more viable. How viable? It’s tough to say, since Morken won’t share subscriber numbers. But he did say Republic’s growth is ahead of schedule and that it “has lower rates of churn than the carriers with two-year contracts.” He confirmed that his churn is less than 2 percent — far more impressive than what is usually seen on prepaid carriers.

Of course he also notes that people are using Republic Wireless as a landline replacement, which means that we aren’t exactly comparing apples to oranges. But that’s also part of the shift. Morken and Republic are trying to replace apples with oranges and are showing customers and other providers how to do it. “Cellular will be an edge case,” Morken says. He went on to predict that many connected gadgets like fitness trackers would turn to Wi-Fi.

I like his vision, but Wi-Fi is way too much of a battery hog to be a great solution for smaller connected devices. So even while I think that Google is doing the Starbucks deal to offer Glass users more places to get and stay online, I don’t know if there will be a huge adoption of Wi-Fi any time soon for wearables that don’t need Wi-Fi’s massive data rates.

But regardless, the writing on the wall seems clear. Most connected devices avoid cellular networks because consumers hate paying the expensive monthly fees. In many ways the adoption of the smartphone and the ability to download crazy YouTube videos helped drive the spread of Wi-Fi, especially in the early days when 4G networks and phones weren’t around. Now, carriers look at Wi-Fi as both a savior (punt that video traffic over to Wi-Fi please) and a threat (don’t use over-the-top apps that hurt our texting revenue).

If Morken’s future plays out, this will become increasingly clear to consumers as it becomes easier to find and join available Wi-Fi networks. I asked if Republic might make its version of Android that automatically allows dialing and texting over Wi-Fi available to the general public, and Morken said that wasn’t in the plan.

Republic’s vision will also get a boost as it gets more subscribers, and to do that it needs a better phone. The current model is the Motorola DEFY XT, which is pretty long in the tooth. I asked Morken if Republic is getting a new phone soon and he said an announcement is coming. When I asked if it is the new Moto X he said that the company has a good relationship with Motorola (owned by Google) but that he couldn’t comment further. When I asked for timing for the announcement of any new handset he also demurred.

Morken’s mission today was clearly to raise Wi-Fi’s profile as a viable alternative to cellular connectivity in a variety of devices. I’m with him on that front, although for Republic Wireless to change people’s minds it will need a better handset. It’s done work on the back end to make Wi-Fi more available to users and tweak its software, so maybe when it launches a new phone we can see if it will keep the carriers awake at night.

56 Responses to “Who’s your new mobile carrier? How ’bout Wi-Fi?”

  1. Of interest to all who would like to switch carriers, start new service or want FREE service.
    I enjoy FREE mobile service, unlimited talk, text and data on a nationwide 4G network. To get FREE service all I did was Step 1: Switch carriers (kept my number) and Step 2: Made some referrals. Not only am I getting FREE mobile service, but the company pays me every single month. For more info go to – leave feedback.

  2. TheRealSlimShady

    I forgot a few things. Dodson also attempts to deflect her corporate shilliness by charging OTHERS with being corporate shills! Hahahahaha! She’s been with RW since 2011? Well geez get over it by now! It’s a friggin CELL PHONE company! This isn’t Vietnam! My goodness if the company is so terrible then they won’t grow and they’ll fold. So what’s her motivation? She’s clearly afraid that they’ll succeed. But if they succeed, then they must not be as bad as she says, or nobody would stay with them… So why is Alyia Dodson so concerned, and armed with reams of research? Heck, for 20 bucks a month some people might think its worth a shot to avoid the absurd data plans that the big boys charge. If it doesn’t work, you lose 20 bucks a month for however long you’re with them (I don’t know if RW requires a contract), then you can go back and pay your 100 dollars a month and be happy. And don’t try to tell me you are this depressed and outraged over 20 dollars a month, because let’s be honest – if you can’t manage that then you obviously shouldn’t be paying A HUNDRED freaking dollars a month with the big boys just so you can have smartphone and internet! Oh, this is hilarious. I want to argue paint colors with Alyia Dodson. She would rake me over the coals! Alright, I think I’m done now.

  3. TheRealSlimShady

    This is hilarious. Alyia Dodson is so clearly a competitor’s corporate troll. Think about it – look at all the information she has: quotes from the Wall Street Journal (which is basically a corporate troll house since Rupert Murdoch bought it), citing PCmag and LapTopMag, authoring rabid post after post after post just spewing with venom… She gets in heated arguments with people who aren’t trying to argue with her, makes generalities about what ‘consumers want’, ticks item after item off a list of things that are terrible with RW…. All this for what? She doesn’t like their service? She feels so wronged that she has to take it upon herself to launch a national campaign against a small start-up company, as if they are enslaving children? I mean, it’s 20 bucks a month!! What normal person would dedicate so much time and research to gather all this imformation, and form short essays for a comment section on a little article like this? What sane person acts like this? We didn’t even get a works cited section from her. This is hilarious. So funny, in fact, that I read the entire thread purely for my own entertainment. And decided to post my assessment so that others can better share in the joke. Thanks Ms. Dodson, you’ve made my night.

  4. I’ve been following Republic Wireless for a few years as I waited for my Verizon contract to expire. RW has just gotten better and better so I was thrilled when my contract finally expired and my family and I were able to sign up. The phones rock (better than the Droid X2 I’ve been using) and the service has been fantastic. I haven’t had a dropped call and I honestly think the quality is better than Verizon!!! Not to mention, you have a 30 day Money Back Guarantee. Using the WiFi is great. Most people don’t realize that using WiFi is actually FASTER than utilizing the regular cell phone service. Looking back, I probably would have paid the early cancellation fee to get on board earlier. The amount we pay per month per phone ($21.07) is pennies compared to the $80 I was paying per phone on VZW. If you interested and would like to save some money on new service, here’s a coupon code…

  5. Claus Hetting

    The short answer to that that is YES. Great story, by the way. No question that Bandwidth and Republic are pioneers in something that will take off during the next few years for many reasons. Here a couple of important points:

    Seamless Wi-Fi offload technology is already here – a lot of smartphones already support this natively in their OS and so does network technology. Very soon you won’t even need an app to do this because it’s being standardized and included (connectivity managers). Cellular/Wi-Fi handoff will be automatic and require no user interaction.

    I believe the seamless Wi-Fi offload (or automatic connectivity across networks) will change the telecoms industry from the bottom up. This is not a small change – but a revolution in the industry that is going on now. Unless mobile operators start embracing Wi-Fi in a big way, I believe they will be disrupted – simply because Wi-Fi delivers what people want in very big volumes at low cost.

    I also believe that the Republic business model (with some technological tweaks) is the future business model in mobile. Wi-Fi for high-volume & fast wireless Internet access and cellular for basic data services, voice, etc.

    Anyone interested in more – please join my LinkedIn group “seamless Wi-Fi offload” – it’s open, and there’s a lot of exciting discussion going on. Join & enjoy :-)

    • Seamless Wi-Fi offload doesn’t exist for the simple reason that handsets have different physical interfaces for 3GPP and Wi-Fi today. You won’t find a model that has a common interface or a common IP stack on top. This is why you always experience a timeout when you move from 3GPP to Wi-Fi (in the other direction it’s worse because the connection management favors Wi-Fi). Ericsson demoed the world’s first ever seamless mobility during the Mobile World Congress 2013 along with Qualcomm on pre-commercial chipsets that won’t be in many handsets for yet some years. And unless you’re anchoring the user’s IP address in Packet Core you’ll also experience loss of functionality like no access to APN’s, certificate issues on web sites etc when moving between 3GPP/Wi-Fi networks.

      But the real deal here is that Wi-Fi is missing QoS (no, giving higher prio to certain traffic type in CSMA is not QoS as QoS is intended to kick in when you have congestion and if you have congestion in CSMA you don’t want shorter contention windows as it increases collissions) and mobility as it’s a short range technology developed for nomadic users. It is basically wireless Ethernet. Can be used as an excellent complement to 3GPP technologies which are developed for many users, high mobility, QoS etc. The fundamental mistake that all operators in this business are doing is not using Wi-Fi for what’s it’s created but instead trying to use it as a 3GPP access technology. Then it fails badly.

  6. Mazingonet is a worldwide GSM MVNO and has a fully integrated IP Backbone network for ultra low cost, encrypted, telecommunications and data transfers. Watch out for the soon-to-be-released

      • Alyia Dodson

        Wrong again, SB! I’m just giving what you fanboys HATE to hear – the honest to God’s truth about a half-backed, hacky service that isn’t ready for general consumption. But that’s okay, when, and IF, they release these mystery phones, we’ll see how you like dealing with yet another round or RW excuses and stories as to why the ‘new’ phones don’t fix their technical problems either. They sure have a live one on the wire when they reeled you in. Get that wallet ready, SB, those new phones won’t be cheap. ;)

        • SuperBee

          Maybe you shot yourself in the foot . You seem all alone here . Wonder why there are more fans here ? Seems if republic was so bad you wouldn’t be all alone . My experience doesn’t match yours at all . I got in , got out and can’t wait to get back in . And yes , my wallet is ready .Lets see , the money I save over a few month period will pay for the phone , no contract . how nice .

  7. I have been with RW for 4 months now after being with Sprint for 12 years.
    I carried both phones for 2 months (Samsung epic for my sprint and Motorola Defy for RW) and I never had any difference in reception or coverage. When on Wi-fi the RW phone actually had the best call quality of any cell phone I have ever had, on par with my landline quality.
    The phone offered by RW is lacking compared to the new ones available out there but way better than the 2 year old Samsung I had while finishing out my sprint contract.
    The kicker is that my RW bill is never more than 21 bucks a month with all taxes and surcharges for UNLIMITED calls, texts and data. The Sprint bill was around 76.00 per month with limitations on calls and data.
    The ONLY difference I have noticed is in my wallet.

  8. SuperBee

    And btw , I did try Republic 2 months ago and it worked just fine for me . The phone worked like any other on sprint network and just fine on wifi . I elected to return mine in anticipation of the new phones coming out . I liked em so much I’m just sitting on standby waiting to return . Fix your router settings to work properly and you’ll be fine . I bet money you have no idea how to disable sip alg on a router do you ?

    • Alyia Dodson

      Wow, you just completely shot yourself in the foot with that comment. If RW is such a great service for you, why did you return the phone? And your last sentence further proves my point on how RW is SOOOO out of touch with consumers. Phone service is one of those critical utilities, and people just want it to work. Believe me…the vast majority of consumers will not put up with having to have intimate working knowledge of internal routing settings just to make a phone work; not when their previous experience with other cellphone carriers has been much easier and much smoother.

      • SuperBee

        Shot myself in the foot ? Not hardly , I clearly said i elected to return mine with the pending release of other phones . That was perfectly clear . Theres only one setting on a the router that every aritcle that has just about anything with voip reccomends turning off and thats SIP ALG because it hampers voip . Today is friday , payday , have you gotten your check from AT&T or Verizon or whoever it is you work for yet ?

        • Alyia Dodson

          Tell the people why you returned it, SB…The phone got an “F” rating from PCMag and LaptopMag. Wall Street Journal called it ‘old tech, mediocre and clunky’. You coming here is very suspect – since you are NOT a RW customer but defend them like they are a family member. Perhaps you are a family member of an RW employee yourself. If you have so much faith in RW, that they would “take care” of the people who bought the Defy, to give them a fair upgrade path to the new phones – as they claim they will be doing (and mark my words, you will see plenty of people complaining on Facebook and their forums that they will feel that the upgrade is not fair enough), then why leave such a wonderful, great company, Eh?? Hahahah…busted! I’m self-employed, so no paycheck from the companies that you fantasize that I work for – but keep imagining, SB…keep dreaming. ;)

          • SuperBee

            I liked Republic and the support . The phone worked fine , it just didn’t suit me personally . I knew i could try the service for 30 days free which i did . I was impressed with the service . Bu with knowing new phones were on the way I elected to keep my options open . Why don’t you leave republic ? You know how dumb or either fake you look saying you been with them for all this time and so dissatisfied ?

            • Alyia Dodson

              Well, stop being a poser, SB. You can profess all you want about the love you have for RW and their support, but the fact remains – you did leave because you came to the conclusion that the phone they strapped you with was a complete clunker – even for you. You can’t have your cake and eat it too here, SB. You can’t come here and sing a company’s praises but then turn around and say, “I left because I didn’t like something about them.” Nope, you can’t have it both ways. Best of luck with those new Motorola phones – haha.

  9. SuperBee

    Alyia , you sound like a competitor talking , certainly not a beta tester and every new person going with republic already knows that . You want to pay 19.95 with all the bells and whistles Go back to paying 100 bucks to Verizon if its so bad . You say you’ve been with republic since they opened back in Nov of 2011 . Well that’s not quite 2 years and then you go on to say only one phone to sell the public in 4 YEARs ? If your that far off you probably not to good at using wifi … What a griper …

    • Alyia Dodson

      SuperBee, are you one of those fanboys that goes out on the web defending RW with sword and shield in hand because you don’t know any better on how to hold a company accountable? Yes, you need to do WAY more research. Since RW’s creation in January 2010, they have managed to sell only ONE phone, at any given time, to customers. Not to worry, I’m not a competitor, but I know RW has asked people like you to go out and use that as an argument to devalue TRUE opinions about the very hacky nature of their cellphone service. Yep, I’m a beta tester, but when a company charged me to do the testing, then they best perform; and so far, RW has stumbled and stumbled again every step of the way. Probably explains why they have only approx. 50k customers. You want to dispute that fact too? Go read the interview that was given to Inc. Magazine. RW only having 50k customers was revealed during the interview – which occurred several months ago. Good at using wi-fi? Hahaha…you’re right. With the poor sound quality and reliability of the wi-fi signal that is ported over RW’s VoiP network, we have all wi-fi routing turned off on the phone until RW decides to fix it properly where the phone is usable for 95% of the calls without interruption, time delay, echo delay, clipping effect,etc. Stay at the RW forums where all the other ‘sheepish’ followers are…What a brown-noser…

      • SuperBee

        Whatever , I’m sure most people here will know who the shill is . Like I said, i tried them for 30 days and thought it was pretty dang good . The cellular out talks any carrier I’ve ever used . The wifi worked great for me as well once i disabled SIP ALG on my router . Yeah , your the real shill out here thats on a mission of hurting a company because thats what your paid to do ..

  10. SuperBee

    You state in the article that wifi is a battery hog , maybe it is , but not quite the battery hog that cellular is with one bar of service or roaming on the edge . Thats when cellular drinks the battery .

  11. Leisa Kelly

    If someone is looking to completely use Wi-Fi for mobile calling with Apple’s iOS vs. an Android option, using the iPod Touch and VoIP with an adapter called the MorphCase seems to be something new on the horizon.

    Have you heard anything about this, Stacey?

  12. Alyia Dodson

    I’ve been with Republic Wireless since they opened, back in Nov. 2011. My recommendation – AVOID THIS COMPANY! They are a disaster. They actually had almost two years (Jan. 2010) to get all of the business components in place, including engineering the phone to sell to the public and they failed miserably! They best taglines you’ll hear from RW to keep angry customers at bay – “Be patient with us. We’re working on that. That feature is coming. We’re still in beta.” This company wasn’t ready for prime time in 2011 and they still aren’t ready to be a serious cell phone business. I mean, come on…only ONE cellphone to sell to the public in 4 years?? Pffftt….This company needs to re-engineer and put customers first. Heck, even Consumer Reports gave them a thumbs down review; not to mention the WSJ calling them “mediocre and clunky”. This company lies to customers on a daily basis that there is just NO WAY for customers to call RW and speak to a live person for support. Check the Yelp review on them. Someone found secretive customer service numbers – even direct to the CEO. I use them all the time now. I don’t have time to babysit a public forum speaking to other customers who are just as confused and frustrated as I am with the quality of the service. “But our new phones – which we won’t tell you when will be released – will fix everything!” Hmmpff…we heard that last year when you conned people into buying the DefyXT. Strange…over 80% of the technical problems that people complained about were still present. My suggestion – stick with an MVNO that offers primary cell phone service and not this experiment of VoIP. If you want a phone that simply works when you go to use it, don’t sign up with RW. Trust me on this! I’m regretting doing business with RW.

    • You are the one misleading people. One phone in 4 years is wrong. The original phone in Nov \11 was an LG Optimus, the second phone last summer was the single band Defy XT, then the dual band Defy XT last December, they are announcing a few phone choices this fall.

      Obviously you are not happy with RW, that is perfectly Ok. You are free to move along. I have been with ATT & Verizon for many years and I cannot stand there “customer service” if is what you call it. I have slammed the phone down after getting the run around from those people for the last time. They’ll never get a penny of my money again. I was on TMobile for two years before I switched to RW. Wifi calling is perfect for those of us that do not have cell service inside our homes. TMo was half the price of my last ATT bill and RW is a fifth of that. I am VERY happy with RW. I would recommend it to anyone to try for sure. But if you don’t like it, they will refund your money within 30 days, just move along to a service you like is what I would recommend.

      • Alyia Dodson

        Ahhh, you must be one of those paid shills that goes from website to website trying to talk up RW because of the poor reviews they get across the net. Or maybe you are one of those ‘ambassadors’ that does RW’s bidding. No, Bud, you’re the one misleading people. The RW division was created In January 2010. Please do the proper research before you flood comment sections like this with ‘word games’ and ‘wordsmithing’ to make RW look better than they actually are. In 4 years, that have only managed to be able to sell ONE phone at any given time. ONE PHONE! And this is supposed to be a progressive company. I suggest you move along now back to the RW forums where all the other deluded fans hangout and ‘like’ each others rah-rah, cheerleading comments. Jumping from site to site proclaiming how YOU are happy with RW doesn’t make it a good deal for the rest of consumers just looking for the raw facts on how customers are treated when things go awry. Ahh, and once again you are giving false information on the 30-day risk free refund. Don’t want to tell the truth? Fine…allow me. RW “used” to have a 30-day risk free refund, but they had a mass exodus of customers in the Spring of 2013, shortly after they released their ONLY OTA for the Defy XT – because the OTA did not live up to the hype that RW said it would. It did not fix all of their technical problems and glitches that they lead people to believe it would fix. Soon thereafter, people started canceling the service and returning the phones en masse to get the full refund. A few weeks after that fiasco, they abruptly changed the policy to start punishing people for returning the phone. The punishment was that RW would start to withhold $10 of your ‘risk-free refund’, and they called it a “return label/processing fee” to return the phone. RW is one sneaky company and anyone considering this service should do so with great caution. Remember…caveat emptor – buyer beware!

  13. Wifi will never be the answer for phones. Security, accessibility, and that terrible sharing idea all doom it as such. Why would a phone on home wifi be the default wifi device when there are computers and tablets? Wifi is a nice bonus for smartphones (slightly more so for tablets, given the seemingly almost universal reluctance for data enabled tablets); that’s about it.

    • Bob, I left a slim chance for VoIP back in 1996-2000. By 2002 when Cable Consortium liquidated their holding in AT&T and all other TDM, to grow VoIP, and VzT and AT&T landline launched their triple play voice on VoIP Switches in 2005, I knew 100,000 engineers and disparate equipment manufacturing industry would make it work. Well, Security is a big issue but SIP NOC Forum is addressing this and the irrelevant legacy databases of IN/CCS.

      Look ahead to 2011 and the Cable Consortium Wi-Fi Hotspots and gratis WiFi routers in consumer and small business customers with the parallel Cable Consortium SSID. Now the CableCos do not have to make the VzW resale (conversion to MVNO) contract work. If it does, great if not, Republic paved the way for Cable Consortium Wireless. Think of it 80% Wi-Fi, 20 % on VzW. Seems to work for me, even if VzW holds out LTE Resale to the last minute.

  14. Tmobile is the biggest provider to do this. In the US they were the first with uma WiFi calling and presently their entire selection of current android, blackberry, and windows phones support the feature.

    • Works anywhere on Sprint cell and its roaming partners. Interestingly MANY users are in marginal and rural areas where cell coverage is spotty or non existent. Home wifi answers that perfectly. I’ve been using it a year and recommend it to anyone.

        • Alyia Dodson

          How does the roaming in and out of wi-fi work? IT DOESN’T! This was another one of their grandiose engineering marvels that was all smoke and mirrors. They were supposed to have in engineered into the phone that as you left a wi-fi spot, on a call that you started in that wi-fi spot, that there would be this ‘seamless handoff’ to the cell signal. Guess what – it doesn’t exist!! People started to ask where this feature was and started to complain soon after the company opened it’s doors to the public in Nov. 2011. Finally, after tons of angry posts, RW confessed that they hadn’t gotten it to work just yet – although they promote it as part of their sales pitch to lure in new customers. Well, here it is, almost 2 years later and they STILL don’t have ‘seamless handoff’. This is a prime example of a company putting the horse before the buggy. They wanted to get to the market first with this idea that they blatantly started taking people’s money for a service that wasn’t even ready to be used by the public. If that doesn’t put up a red flag for anybody, I don’t know what will. Their latest ‘mad experiment’ is to have people’s phone conversation recorded to ‘the cloud’ (their servers) while they attempt to handoff the wi-fi initiated call to a cell tower. And again, this is just all grand theory. With the big revelation about the NSA being able to spy on average citizens’ emails, the last thing I am going to agree to is a cellphone company recording my phone conversations in ‘the cloud’ until it hands off. NO WAY!! Bottom line, and speaking from strictly a consumer perspective, this is a half-baked technology that needs a few more years in the lab before trying to sell it to the public as a viable alternative to replace standard cellphone service.

          • SuperBee

            Do you work for Verizon or At &T . You sure don’t sound like a genuine republic wireless customer and if you are , please hit the road and quit belly aching . You actually sound like a cutthroat competitor trying to slam a good little company .

            • Alyia Dodson

              Which ‘ambassador’ are you? I hate to burst your bubble, but I don’t work in the cellphone industry. Sorry. I am here only to share my experience for the rest of the average consumers that expect a cellphone to “just work” when they go to use it. That is truly not the case with Republic Wireless. I invite anyone considering this service to go to their public forums for just 30 minutes and look at all the troubles and complaints people are having. I’ll even help people, right here, learn what is really wrong with the RW phone and service. There used to be a very detailed exposé posted at the RW forums of all of the shortcomings and problems that the phone service has. But because that information was so damming and revealing. that it was scaring potential customers away, RW employees decided to quickly and quietly bury that information so deep in obscure threads that new customers would never be able to find it. And when a company starts to hide information about their service, you just KNOW that is a warning not to do business with them. Here is that list:

              1.MMS is not supported – this means no sending or receiving pictures/videos/audio clips by text. If you are accustomed to receiving ‘group messages’ from iPhone users, you will not receive these either despite the fact that no picture may be included.
              2.Short codes are not supported – those are the interactive texts to 5- and 6-digit numbers, like for paypal/facebook/netflix confirmation, “Voting” for your favorite reality tv show contestant, promos from your local coffee shop.
              3.No Text-to-Email gateway – these are often used by alert systems to send a text to [email protected]
              4.No account suspension – other services offer a vacation hold. Nothing like that exists here.
              5.Your number cannot be changed – if you move to a new area, RW does not change your phone number.
              6.No tethering – the phone cannot be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot.
              7.If you “root” your phone it will void your warranty and RW will not support it any longer. You cannot return a rooted phone under the 30 Day Guarantee.
              8.Dialer cannot be programmed to accept a “pause” or “wait.”
              9.Cannot change the amount of ring-time before the call goes to voicemail:
              10.No international dialing. Calls may only be made to the US and Canada
              11.No porting of a Google Voice number to Republic.
              12.Republic is a VOIP provider, not cellular. When attempting to port out from RW, it is considered a landline, which may limit options.
              13.No transferring of phones to new users or splitting/combining of accounts. No sales of service, though selling phone hardware is OK
              14.No BYOD.
              15.No services in Hawaii, Alaska, or New Hampshire. (Phones will work there, but no local numbers, and you can’t register order a phone to be shipped to those states)
              16.Voicemail has no “envelope” information and very few features.
              17.Voicemail notification is not delivered if phone does not have cellular service.
              18.911′s caller id will be the underlying Sprint number unless the call is over wifi
              19.No X11 number can be dialed, other than 911
              20. No customer service other than their crowd-sourced public forums
              21. Only ONE phone can be purchased. They do not sell anything other than the Defy XT using Gingerbread 2.3 – and no way to ever update the OS

            • ThomSirveaux

              Disclaimer: I’m a current VZW customer who has been researching switching to RW for budget purposes. I live in a major metropolitan area with average-to-good coverage by Sprint’s mobile network

              1. Valid point.
              2. Not so valid: Most RW users won’t care about sending or receiving texts from these numbers, voting on tv shows, etc.
              3. I’ve never really used this feature since getting a smartphone with email access.
              4. This is a “month-to-month” pre-paid cellular service. At $19/mo (plus taxes and applicable fees), I think most people wouldn’t have a problem maintaining service, or even cancelling during that time period, then reactivating later on.
              5. You typically cannot do this (or it is not generally recommended) with traditional cellular providers. (As an employee of various engineering firms who have hired talent from across the country, all of my co-workers usually maintain their old numbers) Area codes are arbitrary, now that most people have a mobile device. When everyone was limited to a landline, it was understandable that your number would changed if you moved in a different area code. Now, it’s not a big deal.
              6. Considering this phone uses WiFi to place a VoIP call, that’s a given. Also, not many people would want to tether to 3G service, nowadays.
              7. Rooting any device voids the warranty; this is not solely with RW. I’ve rooted my Verizon cell phones and I do so with full knowledge that Big Red is not obligated to assist me if the device fails.
              8. Only a very certain population of mobile device users will require this feature.
              9. The rings-to-voicemail feature is rarely touched on many a smart device. No one will really care.
              10.Using an app like Skype or Vonage will allow you to make an international call.
              11. Currently, Sprint is the only carrier that allows you to use your GVoice number. I can still forward my voicemail to GVoice, and you can use this feature on RW, as well.
              12. I don’t have much information on this, so I can’t comment.
              13. I can’t sell my unlimited Verizon plan to someone else; I don’t see why this would be a “feature.”
              14. Considering RW uses a specific protocol for their service, it makes sense. They are, however, debuting 3 new devices at the end of this year.
              15. I didn’t realize New Hampshire was still a state /s
              16. Using Google Voice will remedy the voicemail problem.
              17. Again, switch to use GVoice. Get notifications through email, text, or whenever your phone has internet connectivity.
              18. This is an issue most people won’t encounter. If you place a 911 call through the cellular network, you can always give dispatch your actual number.
              19. Using Google has replaced most public service numbers for those with smart mobile devices.
              20. Some would see this as in improvement over reaching some poor soul at a call center in India.
              21. As I said, RW will be releasing 3 devices in the coming months, all with Android 4.X.

            • SuperBee

              yeah and i invite everyone to go to sprints forum and look at the troubles . And you didn’t know all of this going into it ? Sure you did . Can you root your phone with verizon or anybody else and not void the warranty ? Wanna know something ? When I talk on republics cellular its better sounding than any other carrier I’ve tried . Your just a lame competitors employee trying to cut republic’s throat because republic is about to kick azz . I don’t believe you because you obviously sound smart enough to have known all of the beta issues going in . Your so well versed on the pitfalls I can’t believe you’d have ever went with Republic because everything you list is common knowledge when you join . I honestly don’t believe you aren’t out here trying to sling mud in the interest of someone else . Your too well versed and sound like a complete fake . Every single item you ticked off is already known by any beta tester by the time they hit send on their order . Republic has a lot of faithful that don’t mind those issues at 19.95 a month knowing many of them are about to be ironed out with the new phones . Your a fake ….

            • Alyia Dodson

              Yet again, wrong, wrong, wrong. That list above was just created in the late Spring 2013 by none other than one of RW’s beloved ‘ambassadors’ – SouthpawKB. If these issues are so commonly known, why the need for their ambassadors to post the list in the first place on their forums. You know why? Soooo many unhappy customers with how RW glosses over the shortcomings of their service. Do you even proof read what you type before angrily hitting the post button? If I’m a supposed fake, how can I be so well versed on things only RW customers would know about from experiencing them first hand. Oh, lesson for today for you – learn the difference between “your” and “you’re”. It makes you look bad when you use them wrong, especially in a public setting like this. But start saving that money, SB, for the big price tag RW is going to want you to cough up for yet another – ONLY ONE PHONE option to purchase. Happy Labor Day!

            • SouthpawKB

              Hi Alyia,
              I’m SouthpawKB.
              If you’re going to quote the list I posted, and I don’t mind at all that you did, please do not add to it (#20 and #21) while still crediting it to me.
              The list I posted is available here for anyone to see:

              You have one blatantly false statement on that list (#20) and I will deny ever typing it to anyone who tries to assign it to me.

              Republic Wireless has an excellent support staff. What they do not have is a call-in center. That means when you need help, you do not have to sit, tied to a phone, and wait all day for someone to decide to take your call. You submit a support ticket from their website (or e-mail them) and someone from the Support team will get back to you. In fact, sometimes they even call you back, if they determine helping you by support ticket is not going to work out. I have dealt with their customer service many times and the help I have received is always professional and courteous. They sincerely want to resolve any issues, and they are competent and extremely well trained in what they do.

              It is easy to see that you have not been happy with your Republic Wireless experience. It is truly not for everyone, but for many of us it continues to be a great service. I agree that the marketing information on the main website does not describe many factors that may be perceived as shortcomings. Marketing’s purpose is to sell phones, and like you, I’m often dismayed that they do not do more to explain some of the potential issues up front. However, the company does not delete complaints in its Community (where the users interact with one another); they interact with the customers with a level of transparency I’ve never seen from any other company; they have allowed the list I posted to remain, marked as a “Helpful” answer; and they allow us to continually post a link to an excellent, thorough article that completely describes all of the shortcomings of the service as it currently stands. That article is here, if anyone wants to read it:

              It is also important to note that some of the items on the list are being corrected over time and with the release of new phones later this year. Republic Wireless is developing a new and radical approach to mobile connectivity. For some of us, it is exciting to be a part of the experiment. I hope those who aren’t in a position to participate at this time will at least keep an eye on the company as a future possibility. As they work out all the kinks, it’s going to be nothing short of incredible.

              I guess you will attempt to discredit my response by putting Ambassador in quotes as if it’s a terrible thing, and calling me a shill, but I stand by what I’ve typed. I’m not attacking you, and I’m truly sorry you did not have the same great experience with Republic Wireless that I have had. Anyone who has questions about the service is more than welcome to contact me in the Republic Wireless Community (sign up for a username, friend me, and DM me your question) or directly by e-mail. I’m sure anyone can figure out my e-mail address – I’m SouthpawKB and since I own an Android phone, I obviously use Gmail. :)

            • Alyia Dodson


              I’m glad your experience with Republic has been to your liking.
              You’re response seems polite and professional. It is not my intent to
              discredit your well-thought contribution to this discussion, but I
              will right some less than accurate information. While it is true that
              Republic Wireless does not have a “call-in” center, there are direct
              ways of reaching live people at their Raleigh HQ. These phone numbers are proliferating throughout the internet for the simple reason that people are fed up with the runaround and the way Republic likes to
              keep customers at arms-length. I found those phone numbers over at
              Yelp, but to make it easier for those looking for them. I’ll post
              them here. They DO work, as I have already used them, and when I call
              and leave a voicemail – someone usually gets back to me after I
              initiate a call.

              919-297-1100 – Jim Mulcahy, manager of RW (dial by last name)
              919-297-1010 – David Morken, CEO
              919-439-7335 – Sean Rivers, director of customer service/admin of

              919-297-1100 – automated company directory. Dial by last name to
              reach somebody.

              John Hardman, tech support manager
              Bradley Phillips, tech support
              Amie Ashworth, customer service
              Ben Armstrong, product manager
              Tim Jones, cell phone product specialist
              Sarah Davis, admin of forums
              Doc Shufelt, operations
              Jon Schniepp, engineering

              The problem that I see posted time and time again on various websites
              from frustrated customers is how they simply want to talk to someone
              to get their issues resolved. Customer service is a LIVE interactive
              process, not one intended to be this long, drawn out process of
              jumping through hoops to get someone’s attention; and there are
              plenty of posts at RW’s forums that exemplify that fact. While you
              may be happy and content that their customer service process is pure
              tedium, MANY are not. I can’t begin to tell you how many posts I have
              seen at Facebook and their forums of people asking and looking for an
              employee just to talk with, live, to cut through the minutia that
              Republic loves to build into their system to turn customers off.
              Customer service has been, and always will be, a service at the
              CONVENIENCE OF THE CUSTOMER, not the convenience of the company. Many professional review websites have also picked up on Republic’s lack of appropriate customer service practices and have given them a ding accordingly. When business publications remark how Republic needs to offer a better customer service experience, with ease of access to the client, in order to appeal to a wider consumer audience, and this company ignores that, they are doomed to only be a niche company with a very small following. I will be surprised if Republic is still around in five years, and still owned by Bandwidth.

              Your contention that Republic does not delete posts from customers –
              PATENTLY FALSE – AND YOU KNOW IT!! You practically live on those
              forums, and I know you’ve seen the complaints of people asking why their posts have been deleted and/or censored when there was nothing
              wrong with them, other than harsh criticism that Republic doesn’t
              like to hear or doesn’t want people to see. And before you start
              quoting the TOS agreement and towing the company line – I’ve watch
              posts get deleted right before my eyes. Not for profanity, not for
              inappropriateness, but just because whoever was on forums watch at
              that moment didn’t like what was being said. People notice these sort
              of things.

              Ahh, yes, the list of things that are being ‘corrected’ over time. As
              I’ve said in previous posts, Republic is great at talking a good game
              but they are horrible at execution and actually delivering on what
              they present to the public. Actions speak louder than words; and
              telling people for almost 2 years that they are STILL working the
              bugs out of things that should’ve been addressed LONG AGO comes down to sheer incompetence. Enough is enough already! Republic reminds me of the ‘bad friend’ who borrows money and every time you ask when they will repay you, it is always ‘next week’. This is Republic to a tee. But for them is is always ‘next month’ or ‘next season’ or ‘next
              quarter’ or ‘next year’ or ‘next decade’ :P

              To wrap it up, I’m glad you’ve found a service that pleases you. As a
              consumer, I expect more from a company that wants my money every
              month, but fails to deliver. Why am I still with them? Free phone
              (they sent us a brand new Defy XT – dual band as a replacement and we didn’t even request a replacement. Shows how messed up their product fulfillment department is) with unlimited cellphone service (yeah,
              we’re in a very strong Sprint area and until Republic decides to
              honor their marketing promise of seamless handoff from wifi to cell,
              the wifi will remain off and we will use only cell). We gave it to
              our teen daughter and told her to call, text and surf until her
              hearts content. As I feel that the service is not ready for the
              general public, I do everything I can to advise as many people as
              possible to avoid Republic until they decide to behave like a company
              that truly values customers. Currently, they do not behave well;
              despite all the reassurances that you try to give. Best of luck to
              you and your continued association with them.

              PS: You can deny all you want about what you post on the web, but
              don’t come at me with the charge that I misquoted you. I found the
              list at a tech review website’s comment section posted by another
              person; undoubtedly, they are also very unhappy with the Republic
              service. If you have issues with someone else adding or deleting from it, you best search for it and address your concerns there.

            • SouthpawKB

              Thank you for the thoughtful response. Obviously there are some charges there I have to answer.

              First, as I stated, I stand by what I typed. Nothing I typed was false, patently or otherwise. You are correct that I practically live on the forums there, which means when a user is unable to locate their post, I have usually witnessed the cause for it. When people complain that their posts have been deleted, one of three things has happened. The first is that the user is unfamiliar with the software Republic Wireless is using to power their Community. While it is a software product used by a lot of major companies, it is usually used for internal processes, and folks who frequent other forums find it disorienting, because it is so different. Users often post that their comment has been deleted and then someone will point them back to it. Likewise, we often find that they have posted their question as their “status” which does not show up in the Discussions as they are expecting. The second thing we see happening that people will post the same complaint in numerous threads. Even though I (and several others) spend a lot of time in the forum, we do not have infinite time to give. When someone posts the same complaint (or, quite honestly, the same praise) 3 or 4 or 5 or more times, we are going to flag it and request moderation because it is a repost and there is no point to posting the same thing in multiple places. This means that the person who posted the multiple posts no longer knows where to look for the one that remains, and it may not be the one with a specific phrasing the person really meant to say. I’ve had posts rejected as well; it’s a matter of keeping the Community as streamlined as possible, which is no small task. The third thing we see happening is, as you mentioned, a violation of the terms of using the Community. Even if something is not profane or vulgar, it can be posted as an intent to incite another user to anger. Name calling, for example, is rarely tolerated. Anyone who cares to look will find plenty of bad reviews, complaints, and rants that are fully visible in the Community for anyone to see. (Just search the Community with the word “suck” for a quick way to find several.) Republic Wireless does not delete them. Now there are some Community members who will pile on and go a overboard addressing these types of complaints, but even that behavior is subject to the rules of moderation and if they are meant to incite or contain profanity, will also be deleted. I knew you’d be disappointed if I didn’t “tow the company line” so there you go. No one has ever told me what the “company line” actually is, so I hope I’m close enough.

              You post the phone numbers to the company as if it’s a secret that a company has phones. I don’t know of any company that does business without having phones. The point is that Republic Wireless does not offer a call-in center specifically dedicated to customer support. That service is offered online and I would challenge you to find a phone call-in center that resolves issues as well. I am not telling you that you can’t find a phone number and call someone; the point is that the most efficient way to get an issue resolved is by using the online support ticket system they have in place. The more you give out the numbers you have found, the less likely you are going to be to get the help you need, because they are not set up to use those numbers to handle customer service issues. Let me give you an example. Imagine that you have an issue with your phone at 10:30pm on Christmas Eve. Try calling any of those numbers you posted at 10:30pm on Christmas Eve. Do you really think that any of the people you named are going to be in a position to have customer service tools in front of them, and that they would be sitting at their desk taking calls at 10:30 on Christmas Eve? But let me tell you that I specifically had a problem with my phone at that exact time last year, and after submitting a support ticket, the issue was resolved within 20 minutes. I’ve sat on hold with other cell phone companies just waiting to get to a live person longer than that. My issue was resolved, done, finished, and I was on to other things within 20 minutes. There was nothing tedious about the process.

              I won’t deny that there are frustrated customers. There are always going to be frustrated customers in any tech field. Technology can be frustrating, because troubleshooting is not always a one-and-done process, and when people are frustrated they tend to post comments in public forums and on Facebook. When people are happy and pleased, they don’t. I’m telling you that I’ve had nothing but excellent customer service with Republic Wireless, and anyone who reads this is welcome to compare it to whatever other posts they find. I’m not responsible for cleaning up Facebook, nor would I want to, if people need to express their frustrations.

              I think if we were to sit down across coffee, we’d probably find that we agree about some of the marketing Republic Wireless does, but not on the intent behind it.

              Please excuse me if I came across to you as “coming at you” by insisting upon clarifying that I never typed the last two items in the list you posted. You say that when you copied and pasted the list, you didn’t actually take it from the Community, but from another tech forum where you found it. That’s fine, but you missed copying the note that the last two comments were added by someone other than me. That person did take the time to note that he/she had added to the list I originally posted. You credited the entire list to me, and I had to correct that because I have a great deal of respect for the work that the Support team does, and I will not leave a comment like that attributed to me. This was not an attack on you, but a correction to my own (user)name.

              I hope your daughter is enjoying her phone. She’ll have a much better experience if she’ll use Wi-Fi for the surfing she does, as surfing over 3G will eat up the phone’s battery in a very short amount of time. Besides Wi-Fi is much faster than Sprint’s 3G. If she has any problems with the phone, and no one answers your phone calls, please let her e-mail me, I’ll always be glad to help.

        • It will completely depend on the Sprint network in your area. I work in Stockton, Ca and live in Oakley, Ca and I drive between the two every day. I have Republic Wireless and I also have a Verizon phone provided by my employer and I know this area with both services very well. Verizon drops the call reliably on Victoria island. RW/Sprint has a few spots on Knightsen highway that will occasionally drop calls. Between Verizon and RW I prefer the voice quality on RW hands down. If I’m dialing out I use RW. I have read people complaining about the lack of hand off between wifi & cell, but I had Tmo for 2 years before getting RW and they don’t have a solution for that either. I am in the habit of just telling who ever I am talking to that I will call them back in a few minutes when I get situated in the car. I cannot even begin to understand how that is so inconvenient for some people. I would rather nor be trying to carry on a conversation while I am loading my car and getting going, but to each his own.