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Release the Hounds

Posted by sarahd Jan 27, 2012

Release the Hounds


Submitted by TheProductGuy on Fri, 01/27/2012 – 12:26pm


Most of you have been very patient with me and the product team waiting for the next release of OTA functionality. Thanks for that.  We’ve listened very carefully to your feedback and have spent a lot of time tuning the service as well as working on functionality.  We’ll be releasing update 108 (version 1.0.8) early next week.  The build is now deep in final QA.  Here’s a sneak peak at what’s making the cut.

Service wise, we’ve made significant changes to reduce latency and echo.  This should result in an improvement to call quality.  We’ve also centralized a number of service operations and this should provide some significant benefit for customers on both coasts.

On the device itself, there are a lot of updates I wanted to let you know about:


1. For those of you who use Google Voice, you’re all set.  Our previous release enabled the Google Voice application to make use of the Wi-Fi calling component, and several of you asked us to enable the voicemail component to replace the republic voicemail with the Google voicemail.  That’s done!


2. There were a lot of issues with the speaker and speakerphone.  We’ve resolved most of these issues.  You’ll notice more consistency with volume on CDMA and on speakerphone.


3. Volume control while on a call has been fixed, so you can alter the volume of the call using the controls on the side of the handset even while the screen is off.


4. DTMF.  DTM who?  Several users gave us feedback that conference call numbers and tone recognition systems weren’t recognizing the tones from the keypad when trying to navigate these automated systems.  Let us know if you still experience issues.


5. OTA (over-the-air) updates.  From this release forward, when you choose to install an OTA update,  this can ONLY be done over Wi-Fi.  If you aren’t on Wi-Fi, you’ll be guided through the Wi-Fi set up process if required.


6. Finally, the video camera now records audio just like it’s supposed to.  It was working sporadically before, but now it’s working consistently.  This was an issue for all of us and we’re happy to have fixed it.


That’s a lot of hard work from the product team to get this accomplished.  The work done to improve call quality in itself was a large undertaking and will serve us well as we move towards GA.


But hey, wait a minute, what about the other things we’ve talked about? –call handover, MMS and SMS short codes, and the other issues especially around roaming?


We’re making progress on these, but they still aren’t there yet.


We had a solution for the Wi-Fi to cell handover, but it would’ve affected call quality for all calls, and that’s not an acceptable solution, so we’re attacking that one in a different way and believe that the final solution will exceed all expectations.


MMS and SMS short codes involve us working with external companies, and sometimes these things take longer than expected, but rest assured that we’re working diligently on these features.  We’re exploring a number of options in this area.  Building our own infrastructure to support MMS is a large undertaking, and using a partner requires contract negotiations and then an integration path. We’re evaluating both options to make sure that we provide the best solution for you, as quickly as we can.


We’re working with our cellular network partner to troubleshoot the roaming issues you’ve reported but don’t have a resolution to that yet.


Thank you again for your patience and your continued feedback.  There’s an exciting road ahead of us and we’re continually working to improve our quality as we add the features you need and want.


Until next time, stay Wi-Fi my friends.


Billing info in the portal

Posted by sarahd Jan 23, 2012

Billing info in the portal


Submitted by sirenez on Mon, 01/23/2012 – 12:32pm


Hi!  It’s been awhile since we’ve updated you on the state of things and we wanted to give you a heads up about our progress and some new info now appearing in the My Account portal.

We thought you should have some time to make sure everything’s in order well in advance before we start billing you. For example, you can now view information for the credit card we have on file for you and make sure that’s what you want.  To check your information, go to the My Account portal, sign in, and click the My Billing tab.  Later this week, the portal will allow you to update or change your credit card info as well.

You’ll also see a placeholder for your upcoming bill date.  You may wonder why your upcoming bill date is listed as TBD (to be determined).  After talking about it, we made the decision that we wouldn’t bill you until porting is available.  That’s only fair, right?  Since you’re still paying Big Cell to hang on to your old number, we figured it’s the least we could do.  Once we open the porting process, we’ll square away loose ends and assign each of you a monthly bill date.

(You should also note from my recent blog post, when we do start billing, we won’t be charging you for the time between your original scheduled bill date and your new bill date in the case that there’s a discrepancy.  You’d expect nothing less of us, we hope.)

Additionally, you’ll see a transaction history, which will list your initial purchase.  In the future, each time you’re billed, your transactions will show up in this part of My Account.  Since our systems are set up to bill on a recurring basis with the card we have on file for you, we won’t hassle you with email invoices or paper bills.

So if billing depends on porting, when will porting happen?

We’re working through the final touches of porting and have completed internal tests to verify our process.  After one additional round of internal tests porting numbers for republic employees over the next two weeks, we’ll start to introduce this feature to members by email invitation (not everyone at once).

We will also be introducing some product and service improvements in the near future, so keep an eye on the blog for an update from TheProductGuy.  We’ll also roll out more info about porting and billing here as we have it to share.

Have questions about any of this?  Feel free to contact our support team here for clarification.  We’re more than happy to help you!

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