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It’s been a busy week, but we’re happy we were able to address some pretty tough questions. Here’s the latest info and what we’ve been working on.


Upgrades: These are coming soon. With the new options we’re offering regarding the single-band and dual-band versions of the DEFY XT, we’re restructuring the upgrade flow. This requires further testing. We want to be sure the upgrade process is smooth and seamless for our Wave A’ers.


Waves: We’ll be continuing with Wave F this week. Wave F folks will have the option to purchase the single-band DEFY XT now, or can wait for the roll out of the dual-band DEFY XT. For those waiting for the dual-band, you’ll be notified via email once it’s ready for purchase. Please make sure we have the correct contact email address by logging in to My Account. If you’re still not sure which option would work best for you, check out the single-band DEFY XT coverage map, which illustrates the areas where we currently have coverage on the 1900MHz frequencies. 


Maps: Since we’re on the topic of maps, we’ve been working on more detailed coverage maps that we expect to have ready at the beginning of next week. They should give you a better idea of what type of coverage is available in your local area.


Looking ahead: We’ve been keeping theproductguy pretty busy lately, but we’ve decided to let him out for some fresh air to give us some info about the next OTA update, so be on the lookout for that soon.


Well, that’s all she wrote this week. Next week’s edition will be our first from our new office on N.C. State’s Centennial Campus!


Feel free to discuss or ask questions here.

We posted a blog last week about roaming issues impacting some republic members. The model of the Motorola DEFY XT that republic is using has a single-band antenna and uses the Sprint nationwide network and all 1900MHz towers for roaming onto Sprint’s partner networks. If you’re in areas not covered by 1900MHz you may experience roaming coverage issues. We’ve found this only affects a small portion of our members. In fact, our data shows that on the LG Optimus (which was dual-band), only 1.75% of all minutes used were roaming minutes. The single-band DEFY XT is a definite upgrade from the Optimus in all respects (for example, a larger screen, better processor, and we’ve eliminated many of the bugs that members experienced on the Optimus), except the breadth of its roaming coverage. Overall, we believe this is a strong device, and we’re committed to it. That said, there are people we want to serve who live in or travel to locations where a single-band device isn’t the best option. Below is an update on progress we’ve made in the last few days for those folks.


The DEFY XT (dual-band)

We started working with Motorola last week to determine the feasibility of bringing our hybrid calling technology to the dual-band version of the DEFY XT. With the additional 800MHz antenna, your roaming capability would be increased. We’ve jointly determined with Motorola that this is a path that we can pursue. Together, we've committed significant resources to make this happen as quickly as possible. We still have work to do to get this device certified and ready for you, but our intention is to make the dual-band DEFY XT available later this year. We’re actively working with Motorola and Sprint’s lab and will share more info as we have it. 


Upgrades for Wave A members

When we open upgrades, we’re going to provide all active Wave A members at that time the opportunity to upgrade to the single-band DEFY XT for free, given that the LG Optimus was a dual-band phone and we realize some of our Optimus members will have less roaming coverage on this phone.


If you are a Wave A member and you checked the coverage map and feel that you need the additional roaming coverage, you can wait for the dual-band version. If you, as a Wave A member, choose to wait for the dual-band version, you’ll be able to claim the existing upgrade offer ($100 off). As soon as the dual-band version becomes available, we’ll email you and give you instructions on how to claim your Wave A member upgrade offer then. Please make sure that your email is up-to-date with us by signing in to the My Account portal and verifying the email listed. If we don’t have your correct email address, you may not receive your Wave A member upgrade offer and you won’t be able to participate. You won’t be able to claim the single-band DEFY XT for free and subsequently use the $100 off for a dual-band version.


Waves B-E and 30 Day Guarantee or trade in

For those of you in waves B-E who purchased the single-band DEFY XT, we’re giving you an additional 30 days on the guarantee, starting today. This should give you plenty of time to evaluate the service and determine if you need the additional roaming coverage. You’ll have until Thursday, October 25 at 11:59 p.m. ET to cancel your account and return your single-band DEFY XT for a full refund of the purchase price that you paid for the DEFY XT.


If you’d prefer to keep your republic service and want to wait for the dual-band DEFY XT once it becomes available, we’ll let you know via email and you can return your single-band for a dual-band at no cost (assuming no damages). Once we email you, you’ll have 30 days to request a trade in. Please make sure that your email is up-to-date with us by signing in to the My Account portal and verifying the email listed. If we don’t have your correct email address, you may not receive your offer and you won’t be able to participate.


Waves F and beyond

We’re going to keep moving through the waves with the single-band DEFY XT starting this week, as it’s a great phone for most of our members who don’t require the additional roaming coverage. Check your area on the single-band DEFY XT coverage map, and if the single-band is a good fit for your needs, you’re welcome to join as soon as we send you the invitation. If you’re in a wave and you want to wait for the dual-band version instead of joining now, you can do that. As soon as the dual-band DEFY XT becomes available, we’ll email everyone in waves F and beyond who hasn’t used their purchase invitation and you’ll be able to purchase a dual-band DEFY XT using the instructions we send you.


Need to check your coverage?

We have a coverage map for the single-band DEFY XT available here. We are also working on getting more detailed maps so you can check your area more closely. Look for those soon.


Next update

As always, we’ll continue to keep you up-to-date via our weekly community updates, State of the republic.


Our goal with this post is to make sure you’ve got as much info as possible, and the policies we’ve given you are intended to be fair to you. We always want to do right by you. After all, it’s your republic.

As always, feel free to leave comments and questions here.

It’s that time of the week again to report on what’s going on. Some challenges, some news and, well, a bit of random:


Roaming. If you didn’t see theproductguy's blog post last night, you should go read it. A few of our users reported trouble when roaming on the DEFY XT, and if that’s you, you’ll find some answers here. If you have questions about how this affects you, we’re happy to help. We’ll summarize the basics on how this works with the 30 Day Guarantee (and other policy stuff) soon. We’re finishing that up for posting Monday most likely.


Waves update. About that. We have just finished with Wave E and Wave F invites are going out at the end of next week. If that’s you, be on the lookout for your heads up email!


Upgrades. We know. It’s taken longer than we expected. You may have seen the community announcement about the software push we did yesterday morning. (The upgrades development work was part of that push.) We are doing some final tests in production and should be good to go for you soon. We wanted to make sure that all you Wave A’ers had the info on roaming so you could make an informed decision based on your area and usage.


We’re moving. Now for the random part. We’re getting a new office next week! Some of you may have heard that we’re moving to N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus. Everything has to be packed by next Friday, and we start our first day in the new building on September 28. Now, who’s got the packing tape...?


Think that’s all for now. We’ll see you next week.

As always, feel free to ask questions or leave comments here.


Roaming Update

Posted by theproductguy Employee Sep 20, 2012

A few of our members reported difficulties roaming with the DEFY XT and we wanted to update you. After looking into it, we found that the device successfully roams on some towers, but not all. More specifically, not all towers operate on the same spectrum frequency. The DEFY XT is able to roam on all towers that operate on the 1900MHz spectrum frequency, but not on towers that use 800MHz. This is a hardware limitation of the device, it doesn’t have the necessary 800MHz antenna.  As a result it can’t be changed through updates to our Hybrid Calling software.


When we were selecting devices, a primary requirement was choosing one we could quickly bring to market. The DEFY XT had already been certified to run on Sprint’s network by another wireless provider. Choosing a pre-certified device allowed us to launch the waves when we did, instead of later this year.  Several wireless providers don't provide roaming coverage, including the one that certified the DEFY XT before us. As a result, they did not need this additional roaming antenna. For us, however, the absence of the 800MHz support was not deliberate; our goal is to provide the broadest roaming coverage possible. The device was thoroughly tested by us, our cell carrier and device manufacturer. We were driving to get to market and we just missed this.


We should have caught it and we’re very sorry we didn’t.


We’ve looked at the numbers and this issue appears to be affecting a relatively small number of our members, but we want to ensure that everyone is fully informed about the service and the roaming coverage in relevant areas for them. If you have any questions about the roaming coverage for your area, we’ll be putting up a map tomorrow. If you’re still not sure you’re in the portion of users experiencing significant roaming challenges, please let us know. The best way to  request help is through the Ask Us help tool and we will work with you to find the right solution.


Finally, we would like to be clear that calling will still work when in Wi-Fi coverage, regardless of what frequency the surrounding cellular towers use.


We’ll always share our successes and oversights with you, and when we have important information, you’ll hear it from us first.

Thanks for your patience as we keep improving.

As always, feel free to share your comments and thoughts here.

Edit: Adding DEFY XT Cellular Coverage Map

Hi there. Here’s the weekly round-up:


Waves update. We sent out invitations for Wave E. If you’re in Wave E, check your email and grab your beta spot before the wave closes next week!


Upgrades. We are making good progress on the upgrade path for Wave A members, but we have a bit more testing to do before we’ll be ready to roll it out. We are in the final phase of our test plan, and we think it’s going to be worth the wait. Thanks for being patient with us as we get this just right.


Call drop over Wi-Fi issue. Some of you have reported calls were dropping after 10 seconds on Wi-Fi. We’ve been working on this issue and have identified the problem. We’re testing this now, but should be able to give you a fix for this soon.


Member Care. We updated the “Ask Us” tool this morning to improve how we address your help requests. You’ll notice we’ve included a few more options that will help us answer your question more quickly and efficiently.


Sarah’s going Over the Edge! In her spare time, sarahd has decided to do something pretty cool and we thought we’d let you know so you could cheer her on. Sarah will be participating in an event to benefit Special Olympics on October 6 called Over the Edge. If she raises $1,000 for Special Olympics, she’ll rappel off a 32-story building in downtown Raleigh. As a bonus, if she meets her fundraising goal, she’s going to dye her hair republic green. Check out more from Sarah here.


Think that’s all for now. See you next week! As usual, you can discuss this update here.

We're starting a new tradition. You've told us that we don't communicate often enough and we want to get in the habit of communicating regularly. Starting this week, we're going to provide a weekly update. We're calling it "State of the republic," but in all likelihood, it's notes from our developer stand ups, top issues we are troubleshooting in community and a call for feedback from you. We'll use the first part of the week to gather info and we'll update you near the end of the week. Without further ado, here's what's in the hopper this week.


Waves update. We've sent out invitations for Waves B-E so far and have gotten a great response from you. We've heard from several of you that one week isn't enough time to take advantage of the invitation (especially since many of you are sneaking in summer vacation before school starts). We're extending the time you'll have to respond to an invite to two weeks for all future waves.


Changes in Member Care. We're building a plan for continuous improvement in the experience we provide for you. As we get better, we're going to experiment with different ways of giving you the service you need. We're evaluating the best way to gather as much info from you upfront and to expedite help requests for problems we need to troubleshoot in real time. In those cases, it can be frustrating to receive communication in spurts via email as we help you. In those situations, we want to be able to pick up the phone and call you or engage you in an online chat session. This should help us improve our response time and give you more direct access to us for issues that need to be solved immediately. By the way, this isn’t a precursor to a call center. We’re not going to make you wait in those queues, and community will always be the central organization that help is based around.


Upgrades. Yup. We know you are curious about this. The upgrade process is in sight. We have a few last tweaks to make to our systems. We'll be able to provide info on upgrades next week. Thanks for being patient.


Motorola DEFY XT feedback and improvements. We’ve been and will continue to gather feedback on the DEFY, how you’re using it and what you think we could improve. We’re working on several things at the moment and then we’ll package these in an over-the-air (OTA) update. Work in progress includes: a known issue with Swype, integrating Devicescape, call quality enhancements and investigating roaming performance. We’ll let you know when we get a bit closer (or when we squash a bug and yell “Victory!”).

Join in on the blog discussion thread by clicking this link: State of the republic (v. 1, issue 1)


Think that's all for now. See you next week!

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