republic

9 Posts authored by: theproductguy

Republic provides you with a phone and service to enjoy what is usually the fastest network available in the world todayWiFi. This “network” is only continuing to grow both here and abroad, which means great things for all of us. But it’s a top priority at Republic to give you even broader coverage to account for those times when you’re WiFi-high-and-dry. That’s why you’ve got cellular service on your phone (plus free data roaming) working seamlessly with your native access to WiFi. Today we’ll take a look at some major improvements to our cell network that are currently underway, and what you can expect in terms of improved coverage and quality.

Our cell network has seen incredible upgrades over the past two years through a major buildout known as Network Vision—resulting in both a strengthened 3G network plus the buildout of hundreds of 4G LTE markets nationwide. Here’s a look at the progress to date, and where the future is headed for the network that’s got all of our backs.

Nationwide Improvements to 3G Network
Across the country, our cell network’s been getting major upgrades over the past few years, including the enhancement of our 3G service, tower by tower, to give you better service than ever. This is super important for all of us, since the 3G plan is the most popular. When the 3G expansion is completed, you can expect stronger signals, fewer dropped calls and an overall better experience when using cell.

The goal of the 3G expansion is to ensure that you have service virtually wherever you need it. Our cell network’s spectrum advantage—with bands in both the 1900 MHz and 800 MHz ranges—allows for more opportunity to build network capacity and to bring stronger signal indoors with fewer dropped/blocked calls. It also means service you can count on, with a more reliable data connection with faster download speeds and quicker access to email, surfing, streaming and more.

To learn more about these cell network upgrade plans, check out this video.

4G Deployment—at Warp Speed
Getting up to speed on 4G nationwide is a huge priority for our cell network right now, and many of our members are experiencing it day after day. This is good news for those of you who like to have blazing fast speeds during those times you’re away from WiFi. In 2013 alone, the 4G LTE cell network we use grew from 50 markets to 340—and nothing about this build is slowing down. Here’s a complete list of all LTE cities launched to date.

You can expect to see an additional 25-50 markets launched by mid-2014, covering 250 million POPs (Points-Of-Presence) by that time. This means even greater access to the highest cell data speeds available today, giving you more flexibility to use your phones everywhere to stream video content, crank through email, play games and more…with options nearly as limitless as WiFi coverage!

The Bottom Line
At Republic, we’re psyched about what these major network improvements mean for the cellular aspect of our service. Today, you have access to the best of both worlds—lightning fast WiFi everywhere you can find it plus modern 3G and 4G LTE networks (depending on the plan they choose). We look forward to seeing the cell network evolve in the months and year ahead.

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

 


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One of the great things about the iPhone is iMessage.  This allows you to totally bypass your carrier altogether and send messages to your other iPhone toting friends from anywhere, even while cruising around at 30,000 feet flying coast to coast.


Well, you decided that it was time to join Republic Wireless and come over to the Android side, but your friends are still sticking with their high monthly fees, long contracts and their iPhones, and they say they can’t send you texts.  You hear “You should have stayed with your iPhone.”  We think you made the smart choice, and here’s how to fix their SMS problem.


The problem is the way that Apple has set up iMessage.  It uses your Apple ID--not your phone number.  So when your friend is trying to send you a message using the Messages app on their iPhone, it is trying to send it to your Apple ID on your old iPhone.


Now that you’re rocking the totally new and amazing Moto X, your iPhone is in a drawer somewhere and not powered on, so the iPhone app says “Message cannot be delivered” because iMessage cannot find your iPhone. 

 

The good news is that it’s an easy fix.  Providing your friends have your phone number stored as a contact in their phone (and I’m sure they do), all your friends have to do is:

a) Tap on the message that they tried to send (the one with the triangle next to it).

b) A popup menu will appear that asks them to send the message as SMS or resend.

c) They just need to click the option “Send message as SMS.”


The message background in the speech bubble will change from Blue to Green, showing that it’s now SMS and that message will be resent as an SMS not an iMessage. 


SMS and MMS will now work as advertised between you and your friend.  They may have to do that for each message, unless you have turned off iMessage on your old iPhone.

 

Oh, and the benefit you have is not only did you make a totally smart financial decision to switch,  you can ALSO text while at 30,000 feet, and you can send those texts to ANYONE, not just other iOS people, thanks to Republic Wireless SMS over IP.


Stay tuned for more tips and tricks.


As always, if you have any questions, post them here.


Update 12/13/13 : As pointed out in the comments, the full fix is to actually turn off iMessage on your old device.  Remember that it may take an hour or two to propagate that through the Apple infrastructure.  The change we originally posted will still work, but it will only be temporary.  The change will not be permanent until you turn off iMessage on your old iPhone.


Thanks for the feedback

theproductguy

An update to Wi-Fi+

Posted by theproductguy Feb 1, 2013

Hey, Product Guy here to give you an update on the Wi-Fi+ app.

 

The app we released earlier this week has been downloaded a lot. We’re very grateful for that and for your feedback. I wanted to take a couple of minutes of your time to update you on some of the progress we’ve made since its release.

 

One of the great things about the Play store is that we can iterate on the app and incorporate your feedback into the app pretty rapidly. We’re releasing an update today that'll be going live in the next couple of hours based on some of the feedback we’ve received from you since its initial launch earlier this week.

 

The most frequent comment we’re seeing is that we’re wayyyy too strict on the quality of your networks for Wi-Fi calling. The update today will release the grip a little bit on network quality. We’re also going to give you the option, through application settings, to turn off the Wi-Fi quality checking if you wish. I would encourage you to give the update a try with the new setting first and see if that gives you a better experience.


There’s also been some confusion over the Connectivity widget itself. The widget currently checks the Wi-Fi connection every 5 minutes.

 

We have to be cognizant of the impact on battery life if we were to run these checks more frequently.

 

But, each time you make a call, the phone goes through the same checks to make sure that the network is strong enough to hold the call, so the widget may show the state from four minutes ago, while the current state may be quite different.

 

We’ll be continuing to iterate on the widget in the next few weeks. We’ll also be updating the Usage widget to include your numbers for SMS over IP and Data offload.  Keep the feedback coming!

 

Thanks and have a great weekend!

 

PG

theproductguy

Republic Wi-Fi+

Posted by theproductguy Jan 29, 2013

Hello again. Product Guy returning for another round today.

 

The over the air update for the DEFY XT, both single- and dual-band, is now available (click here for instructions on how to download and install it). Everyone should install this update for the reasons I outlined in my blog post before Christmas.

 

The feedback we got from the initial reviewers was that it provides big improvements in cell calling and texting.

 

As we discovered last night, the propagation of devices takes approximately 24 hours to roll through the OTA servers, so if you’re still not able to retrieve the update manually by the end of the day today, please reach out and let us know.

 

In addition to the over the air update, today we’re very excited to announce the availability of the Republic Wi-Fi+ application which is available as a download from the Google Play store.

 

This app, when used in conjunction with the OTA, will be a significant upgrade in your calling experience and overall user experience of the DEFY XT.

 

The app provides you with four distinct upgrades:

 

  1. Devicescape functionality.
  2. Intelligent interrogation of the Wi-Fi connection to make sure you have better quality Wi-Fi calls.
  3. More info about the state of your Wi-Fi connection via the widget.
  4. Shows your Wi-Fi offload percentage via the widget.

 

Let’s take a look at each one of these in detail:

 

  1. Devicescape - In July of last year, we announced a partnership with Devicescape to take advantage of their Wi-Fi access work. It has been a long road getting here, but this is the first fruit of that partnership. We’ve integrated their technology to automatically log your device into available hotspots. More Wi-Fi is a good thing.
  2. Network interrogation - We’re looking at each connection and doing a more rigorous test to look at the quality of the network to see how well Wi-Fi calls would perform on that network and setting up the phone accordingly.
  3. Wi-Fi connection state - In most network scenarios, there are really two states for the Republic arc: green is connected and grey is not connected. In reality, there are a number of in-between conditions that resulted in poor quality Wi-Fi calls. This caused a lot of questions. "I'm connected, but my calls are bad." Well, we’re doing all these new checks, and we’re surfacing that information to you through the Connection widget. Put this widget on your home screen and you’ll get much better feedback on your Wi-Fi connection. It also helps that it’s the familiar arc shape. If you ever want to find out your network connection state, tap the arc.
  4. Wi-Fi Offload - If Republic is a Wi-Fi based company, we should be providing you with your offload numbers. We’ve been promising it since we moved to our updated portal infrastructure and that launched this week, but you’re more likely to want to see that on your phone, so we’re also giving you a widget to display that info. The number you’ll see is your daily Wi-Fi calling offload percentage compared with the Republic community. We’ll be iterating on this over the next few weeks to incorporate SMS offload (now that we’re getting SMS over IP) and data offload.

 

Like I said, I think adding the Wi-Fi+ app to the OTA raises the experience of Republic to a new level and we’re very proud of the work we’ve done in the last few months to bring you these changes.

 

I hope you like it as much as we do. You can download it to your phone through the Google Play store on the web using this link, or you can do it on your phone by opening the Play store and searching for “Republic Wireless.” Set the app to auto-update so when we release new features, you’ll get the latest version.

 

In the meantime, continuing my theme of repurposing ad slogans: don't forget "The best part of waking up is Wi-Fi on your phone."

 

As always, add any comments and feedback in this thread on the community.

 

PG

We’re having more fun than we can deal with here today with new portals and apps and OTAs.

 


We’re running a little behind schedule with the OTA.


The update servers are almost populated with all the IDs of the phones and the OTA will be rolling out this evening.

 


We were so excited to tell you about it that we underestimated the amount of time it would take to prime the pump.

 


Please be patient and know that we’re doing everything in our power to get this rolled out this evening.

 


I know you want to get it as much as we want you to get it.

 


More shortly.

 

UPDATE at 7:40pm eastern - Looks like we're back on track.  Apologies for the delay.  More tomorrow.  Have a great evening


PG

Busy week here at Republic headquarters, and some very cool things being released for you, our Republic customers.

 

The highly anticipated software update for the Single- and Dual-Band DEFT XT is finally here! Starting this evening at 6:00 p.m. ET, you’ll be able to download and install the software update (please go here for instructions).

 

We talked about all the components of this in my last post, and thanks to the efforts of several Republic groups, we’ve tested the process and software. The feedback we’ve received tells us there’s a significant improvement in call quality, calling, and texting performance on Wi-Fi and cell with this update.

 

The server update for the Voicemail PIN code removal will be done later this week, and is the first of a number of updates for Voicemail that we’re working on in the next few weeks.

 

We're also excited to release our very first Google Play app tomorrow called Wi-Fi+. This app contains some useful widgets that'll help you understand your Wi-Fi connection better and give you Wi-Fi usage numbers. This app will be available for download starting tomorrow, January 29. I’ll be posting another blog tomorrow to go over the details.

 

Please let us know how the update is going for you or if you experience any issues here as we’re constantly working on the service and striving to bring you the best service possible.

 

Thank you!

 

Talk to you tomorrow.

 

PG

We're going David Letterman style today, and giving you the news about the OTA in the form of a Top 10 list. Although the skit is pretend, the fixes are not.

 

Dave: Top 10 reasons the DEFY XT will be improved after the OTA. And here to introduce the Top 10 for today is the Product Guy… really, that's his name?

Product Guy: Thanks Dave, it’s good to be here.

Dave: Glad you could make it. Nice shirt…  Ok, Top 10 reasons the DEFY XT will be improved after the OTA …

 

Here we go:

 

Number 10

Echo on Calls: We’ve done a significant amount of work on call quality and have improved the echo cancellation algorithms in the device. This is software-based echo cancellation so you’ll still hear echo for the first 10 seconds or so, but the phone will clamp it down after that and your experience will be much better.

 

Number 9

Cell call dialing: There’s a lot of post-dial delay when making a cell call. We’ve completely revamped the approach and it is significantly different. Much less delay and more successful connections.

 

Number 8

International calling: Inbound and outbound calling while overseas and connected to Wi-Fi to US numbers will be fully enabled and included as part of the republic experience meaning you can receive and dial US numbers while connected to Wi-Fi while overseas.

 

Number 7

911 on Wi-Fi: This is a major piece of functionality. Now, if you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, and your phone can’t access a cellular network at all, republic will route 911 service over Wi-Fi.

 

Number 6

Space on the phone: We worked with Motorola to remove apps from the device. Some of them we’re not able to remove, but we took away as many as we were able to. Every little bit helps… The Google apps had to remain, and after that there were very few that we could remove. The Dashboard and Facebook apps are gone (you’ll need to download the Facebook app after the OTA update if you want to use it). The others were so small that it would have made no discernable difference to the phone. The largest one remaining is QuickOffice. This is a $5 app that we felt gave you access to viewing Office documents on your device.

 

Number 5

Voicemail: That password is annoying, isn’t it? So we’re removing it. You’ll be able to access your voicemail directly by pressing the 1 key and if you’re on Wi-Fi, it connects FAST.

 

Number 4

Wi-Fi Connection: We’re adding additional checks to see how well the network will handle a voice call, so the green arc will be a better indicator of connectivity significant enough for calling when you’re on Wi-Fi.

 

Number 3

Swype: There was a bug with the Swype license on the device. That will also be fixed, giving you full access to the Swype functionality.

 

Number 2

Dialing star codes and X11 numbers: We’ll be relaxing these dialer restrictions and making more codes available. Currently, only *28 and *38 are enabled and 911.

 

and finally, the top reason why your DEFY XT will be better after the OTA update...

 

Number 1

SMS: We’re adding SMS over IP. We’ll be gradually rolling it out across the customer base to ensure that our infrastructure can handle the volumes, but every phone will be enabled for it. When you’re connected to Wi-Fi, your SMS messages will be sent over Wi-Fi. SMS is also transported over data when your phone is connected to cellular data and will only be sent as a true SMS when your phone doesn’t have a data connection. These changes will significantly improve delivery of SMS, and republic to republic SMS will be virtually instantaneous.

 

Dave: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Product Guy… (applause or crickets) What do you think about that, Paul? $19 for unlimited cellular coverage. That's pretty amazing. Paul? Paul?

 

P.S. The OTA update is scheduled to go into the lab the second week of December.

 

Please leave your comments and questions here.

Hello republic. The team is back at it working hard on the devices and the first over the air (OTA) update on the DEFY XT now that we are in our new building.

 

We've been scouring the community and support requests and have come up with a list of issues that we are in the process of trying to resolve through a dual-band device and a software update.  Here's what we have picked to resolve in this first update:

 

Roaming - Contrary to some of the posts in the community, this is a hardware limitation with the current single-band model 557 (as much as we would love to be able to solve it via a software update). The new dual-band device will resolve this issue. The good news is that the same software build we are using for the single-band phone will be on the dual-band phone, meaning we will update both phones when we push the OTA and any other subsequent updates.

 

Calling Experience - We haven't been happy with the cellular calling experience for a while and we are re-architecting the way that those calls are connected.  This will result in significantly reduced post-dial delay and will keep the phone from trying to make a Wi-Fi call if the green arc is not displayed.

 

Wi-Fi Connection - We are adding in additional checks when connecting to a Wi-Fi network to see how well the network will handle a voice call.  This means that the green arc will be a better indicator of connectivity significant enough for calling.

 

Swype - There is an issue with the Swype license on the device that limits the number of characters you can enter at one time.  We have a resolution for that and that will also be fixed giving you full access to the Swype functionality.

 

Dialing star codes and X11 numbers - We locked these down pretty tightly in the initial release.  We will be relaxing these restrictions.  This will help with international dialing over GV and call forwarding, as a couple of examples.

 

Memory and Internal Storage - We are trying to reduce the number of apps in the system image to give you more storage.  We could remove any apps that can be downloaded from the Google Play store. You'd be able to download them from the Google Play store and move them to the SD card, giving you a lot more room.  We'll be asking for your input on this in the near future.

 

Have a great weekend.

 

As usual, feel free to leave comments and ask questions here.

theproductguy

Roaming Update

Posted by theproductguy 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

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