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Republic Help Updates

21 Posts authored by: theproductguy Employee

Here’s the latest weekly progress report on the Android Lollipop 5.1 updates. Let’s call this one the Turkey Week edition. 


For those new to these updates, and for a full explanation of all the acronyms, check out our first week’s update for context, and last week’s update on progress.


[If the OS release process is new to you, please see this PWK blog post for some background on what goes into the OS release process.]


Moto G (1st Gen.) -  I’m happy to tell you that this build went to the Sprint lab this week.  We passed SLATE on Friday and submitted to the lab on Monday.


As we stated last week, there is still a chance we run into something, but as long as NO issues are discovered (really, really) late in the process for the new build:

  • We’re scheduled to exit the lab on December 2nd.
  • We’ll do a public soak test with a small number of our members immediately following, starting on December 3rd.
  • We’ll roll out the over the air (OTA) update to the Moto G (1st Gen.) devices starting on December 11th.
  • It will be a staggered rollout, with full availability by December 15th.

“No news is good news” is true as far as lab progress is concerned, so we’re looking forward to hearing nothing until December 2nd on the Moto G.

Moto X (1st Gen.) - The dog food testing has been going very well, and we’re happy with the state of the build on this device, to the level that the build was submitted for SLATE testing with the hope of getting the device in the Sprint lab on November 30th.
There’s still a chance we’ll run into something (as we have already discovered on Moto G), but as long as NO issues are discovered:

  • We’re working with Motorola and Sprint to try to accelerate the lab schedule, and if we do, that will mean exiting the lab on December 4th.
  • We’ll do a public soak test with a small number of our members immediately following, starting on December 7th.
  • We’ll roll out the over the air (OTA) update to the Moto X (1st Gen.) devices starting on December 14th.
  • It will be a staggered rollout, with full availability by December 16th.


It’s been a huge effort by all of our internal and partner teams to get this in before the end of the year. These dates are aggressive, but we’re keeping our foot on the gas to make this happen.


Moto E (1st Gen.) - No new updates for the Moto E, as we are hammering on the G and X to get those out.  We’ll start cranking on this when we get back after Thanksgiving.


What about the RW App version 2.1?

This was pushed to our internal team on schedule this week, and we’re still on target to roll out starting on December 2nd, with a full rollout by the end of that week.


We want to get the app update out before the Moto G (1st Gen.) MR arrives, and we’re still on target to do this.


We’ll publish more updates next Tuesday after we get back and get the lay of the land on Monday.


Let me take this opportunity to wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving.  Personally, I’m very thankful to be able to work with this group of smart people every day, and with you, our amazing members, as we push to make Republic a real force in consumer wireless. Thank you.


As always, stay WiFi my friends.

Here’s the latest progress on the Android Lollipop 5.1 and the emergency Stagefright vulnerability updates.  For those new to this update and for a full explanation of all the acronyms, check out last week’s update for context.


[If the OS release process is new to you, please see this PWK blog post for some background on what goes into the OS release process.]


Moto G (1st Gen.) -  There was a reason why I loaded the post last week with a ton of caveats, because smartphone operating systems are complex and sometimes issues crop up at the last minute.


Late on Friday afternoon, SLATE found two issues that prevented us from getting fully ready for Sprint lab entry this morning.  The Motorola team worked over the weekend to get the issues resolved and we are ready for another crack at the final tests. These issues were related to the Android certification for Google. They will not require us to do “dogfood” again, so our QA team will run through their tests just to make sure everything is ready. We will do an accelerated SLATE to get ready for submission next week. We are working with both Motorola and Sprint to try and get an compressed lab schedule that will hopefully mean no impact to the release schedule.


As always, these new dates are subject to change if we hit any more issues, but this is the updated schedule:


As long as NO issues are discovered (really) late in the process for the new build:

  • QA and smaller scope SLATE runs this week (changed from last week).
  • The build will go to the Sprint lab next week, on 11/23 (changed from 11/16).
  • As I mentioned, we are negotiating to exit the lab on 12/2 (changed from 11/30).
  • We’ll do a public soak test with a small number of our members immediately following, starting on 12/3. (Unchanged)

As we said last week, if there are NO issues:

  • We will roll out the over the air (OTA) update to the Moto G (1st Gen) devices starting on December 11th (changed from 7th).
  • It will be a staggered rollout, with full availability by December 15th. (Unchanged)


Now you know why I mentioned that this is loaded with “if there are no issues”.  ProductGuy will be taking blood pressure meds for a while after this one is done


Moto X (1st Gen.) - The internal testing (Dog Food) started last week, and we are making good progress on this build.  Early indications are that the software is in pretty good shape.  When we get schedules firmed up for lab submission, we’ll let you know.


Moto E (1st Gen.) - No new updates for the Moto E as we are hammering on the G and X to get those out.


We talked about the RW App v2.1 in the last update.  What’s happening with that?  Good things.


We are scheduled to put this in our internal test group this week, and are targeting right after Thanksgiving to get this pushed out to you. We are targeting the rollout to start 12/1, with a full rollout by the end of that week.


We want to get the app update out before the G MR arrives, and we’re still on target to do this.


Another fun week at Republic Wireless gone, and another coming this week.  More updates coming next Monday.  Have a great week.


As always, stay WiFi my friends.


It’s that time again. As we get closer to releasing the updates for your Moto G, X and E (1st Gen), here’s the latest progress on the Android Lollipop 5.1 and the emergency Stagefright vulnerability updates. The device teams at Republic and Motorola have been working full blast over the last couple of weeks and have made lots of progress.


[If the OS release process is new to you, please see this PWK blog post for some background on what goes into the OS release process.]


Moto G (1st Gen.) -  A big milestone was achieved this week - we begin SLATE testing.

SLATE is an acronym for Sprint Lab Acceptance Testing, and it is a suite of pre-lab entry tests that must be completed before any software build may be submitted to the Sprint lab.


If all goes well, that means Sprint lab entry is scheduled for next week. We’ve been hitting this device as hard as possible (well, not physically hitting it, but you know what we mean) and have seen big improvements all around with the quality of the build. We’re running several paths in parallel - QA, SLATE, and Dog Food (aka; “eating our own dog food”, or having a set of people outside the official QA team use the build as well). We’re taking a calculated risk by running these normally sequential events in parallel to shave time off the schedule and get into the lab earlier. If there are issues, it creates more work for us, as we have to do those 3 steps again; but if there aren’t any issues, we are ready to go to the lab earlier.


As always, these dates are subject to change if we hit issues, but we know this is important, so here goes with what we know today:


As long as NO issues are discovered late in the process:

  • SLATE runs this week.
  • The build goes to the Sprint lab next week, on 11/16.
  • We are right up against Thanksgiving for scheduling the time in the lab, but we hope to exit the lab on 11/30. The Sprint Lab is closed over the week of Thanksgiving, but we're going to work as much as we possibly can up to that point and hit the ground running immediately when the lab reopens.
  • We’ll do a public soak test with a small number of our members the following week, starting on 12/3.

Again, if there are NO issues:

  • We will roll out the over the air (OTA) update to the Moto G (1st Gen) devices starting on December 7th.
  • It will be a staggered rollout, with full availability by December 15th.


Did I mention that this is loaded with “if there are no issues”? If there ARE issues, we’ll let you know about them and what they mean for the dates shown. We’re pulling out all the stops, but we’re not cutting any corners on quality.


Moto X (1st Gen.) - Good news here as well.  We received the Lollipop build from Motorola on Monday, with the previously discovered audio quality issues fixed. We are pushing to get this build out as quickly as we can, and our amazing QA team is testing this version now. In an effort to compress our schedules and not sacrifice quality in any way, our internal teams will again work with this build in parallel to try and get ahead. We’re starting to run up against holiday schedules, but our plan is to get this build to SLATE and the Sprint lab as soon as we can after the lab opens following Thanksgiving.  We want to get the build to the lab between Thanksgiving and Christmas as the Sprint lab is closed for Santa. We want our gifts to be these MRs.


Moto E (1st Gen.) - As we said in our last update, we pushed this software update back a couple of weeks in order to focus primarily on the Moto G and Moto X builds. We’re expecting the latest Moto E (1st Gen.) Lollipop build from Motorola in the next couple of weeks, in between navigating SLATE and labs for the Moto G and Moto X. We’ll continue to provide information on the Moto E (1st Gen.) update, which is now likely to be early Q1.


The other piece of the puzzle that we mentioned in the last update was a new version of the  Republic App (version 2.1). We expect to push this out before the Moto G update comes out of the lab. Our  “due for a bonus” QA team is working on this app update in between Moto G and Moto X builds. Look for an update on progress next week.


It’s been a hard cranking couple of weeks for the collective Motorola and Republic teams, as we do everything we can to get these Lollipop builds out to you as quickly as we can. We remain committed to getting these updates out and communicating our progress here in Help Updates.


More to come next week.

As always, stay WiFi my friends.

Now that Santa has finished delivering gifts and presents all over the world, he can focus on the really important things, like delivering software updates to your phones.


We have completed the coding and testing of the custom Android software for our devices to bring the software release up to 4.4.4.  This update has been approved by the various parties, and we are ready to roll it out, starting with G and E.


We started the roll out process a couple of weeks ago with a small subset of devices, picked at random for a process called the “Soak”.  This initial step is to make sure that we do a final test in the real world of the update process itself. A few lucky folks got the update a couple weeks ago, and everyone else will have access over the next week or so.

The soak turned up an issue on the Moto X (1st Gen.) that required us to resubmit that device to the lab for re-certification. We were able to work with our partners to get this re-certification done quickly and expect it to be ready in February. So, this initial rollout will only hit G and E, starting to roll out today and continue over the next week. The Moto X (1st Gen.) will then follow once the re-certification process is complete.


When your phone is ready to update, you will see a notification on your phone that says “Software Update Available”.  Tap the notification to start the download process.  This should take a few minutes to complete and the phone will give you full instructions on what to do. Check out this great resource in the Community for lots more details.


We're rolling out the release over the next week in randomly-selected batches again, so please be patient and keep an eye on your phone. Keep in mind that you must be on WiFi to download and install the software update.


What’s New for Moto E? That’s already on 4.4

  • Android released a security patch after the initial release, so that has been included in this update. You won’t see any additional functionality updates, but it is important for you to do the update.

What’s New for Moto X (1st Gen) and Moto G?

  • 4.4 adds some interesting new functionality to Android as well as some performance improvements


  • The phone app has been redesigned to focus more on your contacts. Contacts will be shown when you access the phone app.  To dial a new number, you will have to tap the dialer icon first.


  • Immersive mode will allow videos, books, etc... to completely fill the screen.  In order to see the controls, buttons, etc... when in full screen mode, you will have to swipe down on the screen to reveal them.


  • Activation process - We have streamlined the activation process to make sure you can get up and running on your Republic device as quickly as possible.  These changes were introduced with the Moto E, and will now be consistent.  If you are already activated, you won’t ever see this, but I wanted you to know about it, because it took a lot of work


  • Lastly, your phones will upgrade from 4.4.2 to 4.4.4.  You aren’t missing anything from 4.4.3. Everything that was in 4.4.3 will be included in 4.4.4


  • As I mentioned earlier, this initial rollout will only hit G and E.  The Moto X will follow in February.


These updates are a huge bonus for both you and us as they will all be on the same version of Android. I want to give a big shout out to the team that worked on these updates, both at Republic and Motorola. These guys really worked hard to get this out to you, and also to the Support and Operations teams that went through lots of testing cycles to get it ready.


But I know what you are going to ask next.  Where is Android Lollipop (5.0)? Lollipop is a major rewrite and redesign of Android, so there is lots to do, and it has only just been made available outside of Google.


We are currently working with Motorola to plan out the releases for both flavors of X (1st and 2nd Gen.), the G and the E.  More to come on this, but we are already on that path.


So, for now, bask in the glory that is 4.4 and happy updating


As always, if you have any issues, please reach out to your amazing Help team and, as always, feel free to comment here.


Stay WiFi my friends

Product Guy

“No Shirt. No Shoes. No Service”: A popular sign in restaurants and stores across this fair land of ours.  Well, we don’t have shoes, but after today, we do have the other two covered!


Launching today in the Republic store, Republic T-shirts.  They've been a long time coming, and they are finally available. These are the same shirts that we, as employees, get and they are really comfortable.

Matt Republic Shirt.jpg

*Parrot not included with purchase. No animals or employees were injured in the taking of this picture.



In the words of Henry Ford, they're “available in any color you like as long as it’s black” (well, Dark Grey Heather actually), and in the following sizes:



Chest to Fit





We’ve tried our very best to keep the price as low as possible while providing a great quality shirt that won’t end up as a rag after two trips through the laundry. The shirts cost $20 (plus shipping and taxes).



We are NOT accepting returns or exchanges on these shirts, so make sure you purchase the right size. For more info, check out Republic Wireless Merchandise.



We look forward to seeing these all over social media in some interesting places. Don’t forget to tag your message with #RepublicSuperFan



But this is just the beginning. Keep an eye out for other branded items in the store as we continue to expand our merchandise lineup over the next few months. Let us know what things you would like to see. There are already a ton of suggestions in the Think Tank thread on this, and we're evaluating all these as we look to expand the catalog.



Head over to the online store under Merchandise and upgrade your wardrobe and tell us what you think here.


Shirt, check. Service, check.  Now, where did I put my shoes…?




As always,


Stay WiFi my friends

Product Guy

UPDATE: The maintenance will take place on November 20, 2014 from 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. EST. Please follow along here for the latest updates, during and after the maintenance.


This post is primarily for our amazingly loyal, dedicated, members still rocking our BETA device - the DEFY XT - on Republic service. But it’s important, so we wanted everyone to be aware of what’s happening.


During the week of November 17th, we'll be doing some server-side maintenance that will move DEFY XT phones from their old legacy servers onto the newer server infrastructure as all our other Republic devices like the Moto X, Moto G, and Moto E.  Keep an eye out for an email from us announcing the actual date and time of the maintenance.


But first, we encourage all DEFY XT members to install the latest version of our software to ensure the best possible experience. If you aren't able to update, that's okay. We've ensured that your phone will still work even after the migration to the new server.


How do I know if I am on the latest software version?

The latest version of the software is Build Number 1_65K_1027.  If you have this version, then you don't need to do anything.


You can find out what version you are currently running by looking at your device settings:


From the main screen, tap the hamburger-looking Menu icon (the one that looks like three horizontal lines stacked on top of each other- you like our super-technical description?), choose Settings, choose About Phone, then scroll down to the bottom, where you'll see Build Number.


How do I get on the right version of the software?

If you aren’t running the version listed above, you'll need to do a software update. You MUST be on WiFi to download the update.

Here’s how you do that:


Detail Images

(click to enlarge)

  Follow the step-by-step tutorial below


Tap the “hamburger” Menu icon (looks like three lines - again, real technical) on the bottom left of your phone.



Tap Settings.



Tap About phone.



Tap Phone updates.
phoneupdate.png5.Tap System updates.
device-2014-10-20-094106.png6.An Update available pop-up will appear. Tap Download.


Note: The download will take some time.

Tap Install now.


Your phone will restart once installation is complete.

complete.png8.Once the update is complete, your screen will display the message "The software update was successful!"


Reasons the latest version might not install for you:


  • Out of Memory
    Older builds may need to uninstall Facebook updates and other apps in order to have enough space to download the update.  Once the update is done you can simply re-install these app updates.


  • Already on the latest version
    If this is the case, you are already prepared and ready for the move. Way to be ahead of the curve!



Why is Republic doing maintenance?

Better service! There are a number of updates that we've made to calling performance since launching the DEFY XT on the new infrastructure that we want you to be able to take advantage of.  Additionally, we're replacing parts of the infrastructure that have been in place since we originally launched with the LG Optimus (RIP dear friend) in 2011 that need to be taken outside and “Office Spaced.”


We also want to make sure that you're getting the latest updates on the server for your DEFY XT, like short codes.


What is the maintenance going to fix?

Stability, call quality, and a longer life for the DEFY XT devices! Oh, and short codes for SMS will be available for you. Neat, huh!?


What is the maintenance NOT going to fix?

This will have NO impact on handover and MMS.  As we have mentioned in prior posts, these are things that can only be fixed with new software on the device.  This is not new device software.  This is just to ensure that as many of the DEFY XT phones as possible are on the latest version.


What happens after I update my DEFY XT software?

Look out for an email from us outlining exactly WHEN the maintenance will be happening, and some additional instructions about what to do AFTER the maintenance has completed, to make sure that your phones are fully operational on the new infrastructure.


Thanks! We look forward to those DEFY XTs move into their new homes as smoothly as possible next week. As always, leave any comments or questions you might have.


Stay WiFi my friends,


The Product Guy

We don’t usually look backwards here at Republic Wireless, but as we get ready to launch our next phone, the Moto E later this month, now is as good a time as any to take a trip down memory lane and see just how far we have come in the last three years.


Our parent company, Bandwidth, started in 1999 reselling internet connectivity to small businesses in Utah, and in 2001, relocated to North Carolina. That’s when David Morken and Henry Kaestner joined forces and grew Bandwidth from there.

In 2004, we started offering VoIP and SIP Trunking to small businesses, and continued to grow to the point where weRW_Box_Evolution.jpg could see the market growing for IP based services. By 2007, we built a nationwide IP network.  This is one of the components of Republic Wireless.  Just for context, the first iPhone was launched in 2007.


In 2009, we launched Phonebooth, which is a hosted phone system for small and medium sized businesses.  This product saves small businesses a lot of money by letting them create a professional phone system entirely through a web interface.  This product continues today and was another component of the early Republic platform.  Check it out at


To capitalize on the explosive growth of mobile for the small and medium sized business, we launched Phonebooth Mobile in 2010, as an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) reselling Sprint service and devices. One of the devices we were selling was the LG Optimus.  This agreement, and the time we spent there, was very valuable.  This was a small team that became the nucleus of the Republic team, and the MVNO agreement was another piece of the Republic puzzle.


Additionally, we were looking at prototype apps to create a VoIP calling client over WiFi that connected your mobile phone to your office phone system. That’s when the light-bulb moment happened:  To differentiate our mobile offer, what if we could put the WiFi calling into the phone? What if we could offload voice, data and messaging, and pass those savings onto our customers?  What if instead of just offering it to businesses, we could help everyone benefit from this new idea and technology?  We saw an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up to help people stay better connected with one another.


Just like that - the idea for Republic was born. Through the power of our Hybrid WiFi + Cell Calling technology, we could now offer a radically low price, more coverage over the largest network the vast majority of people were already using - effectively lowering the barrier to entry for many people who could now enjoy their very first smartphones.


We hacked and hammered on the Optimus, and on November 8th, 2011, our plucky team of less than 20 people (yes, you read that right, 20 people) launched Republic Wireless in a small Beta test program.  Or, that’s what we thought.  We got great coverage in Techcrunch and GigaOm and hit the homepage of Yahoo (remember those days…?). We got slammed by a wave of interest in what we were doing that we could of only dreamed of.  I hope you all get to experience the crazy energy we all had on launch night just once in your lives.  It really was incredible to be a part of. We wondered if anyone would actually care about what we were trying. You did.


After that, it was all hands on deck to get Optimus devices procured and shipped, and we sort of made it….  It was pretty hectic: preparing the phones; shoving them in boxes; and handing them to the FedEx guy. It became obvious quickly that people were really interested in what we were doing and we needed to get serious.


We knew immediately that in order to do this the right way, we needed to get device partners involved, and we made a pretty big bet internally and focused our teams entirely on the Republic opportunity.


We spent a year working with Motorola on the DEFY XT and launched that device almost a year later in November of 2012.  Behind the scenes, we literally replaced every backend system to ensure we could scale and serve more and more customers.  We also did a lot of hiring and ramped up our support team as well.


We learned a lot with the launch of the DEFY XT about what it takes to get a phone to market at scale. We made some mistakes, learned some valuable lessons - some that cost us a lot of money, but at this point we were all-in. We couldn’t stop now!  We knew we were onto something big with our hunch about using WiFi for more than just Internet (clearly, the rest of the industry thinks so too now). And, every decision early on, no matter how costly, was the right thing to do for you, our members. That ideology of putting our members first continues on and shapes how Republic does business all the way to today. We learned with the DEFY XT how to take feedback, how to work with our members, and use that collaboration to chart the course forward. This is where our vibrant Community blossomed. It was a pivotal moment in our short history that has continued to make Republic and our service even better. We absolutely couldn’t have done it without you.


After the DEFY XT launch, we looked at our next device and started working with our partners at Motorola to up our game even more.


They too, were going through some interesting times.  They were bought by Google, and had many thousands laid off, including a lot of the team we were working with on our Republic project, unfortunately. But, we have a great relationship with Google through our wholesale team, and were fortunate to be a part of the relaunch with Motorola’s new Moto X - a phone that was released with critical acclaim.


We spent a lot of time and effort rewriting our proprietary WiFi + Cell Calling ROM and our Republic app to give us more flexibility for releasing features and getting them to you with more speed.  After a lot of work and planning, we launched the Moto X on November 13, 2013. Yes, just a year ago, we were still selling the DEFY XT - our Beta test device we weren’t even sure anyone would want or care about.  Amazing how time flies.


Since then, our relationship with Motorola has flourished even more and we have launched the Moto G earlier this year and, very soon, the Moto E.  We have also launched a number of different channels for buying phones as well with MotoMaker, eBay, university bookstores and other retail locations. We’ve got a bunch more surprises up our sleeves too, to continue disrupting the mobile industry along with your help and collaboration as always.


It’s been an amazing ride, and we’re really just getting started...


As always,

Stay WiFi my friends

When we started Republic in 2011, one of the variables we considered was the growth of WiFi technology and coverage. Would public WiFi become more pervasive?


Today’s blog post looks back to see if our assumption was correct and takes a look at what's happening in the world of WiFi.


When we launched, you could find WiFi in lots of places, but it was pretty fragmented. The first wave of public WiFi was based around places where you would typically open a laptop and sit: coffee shops, airports, conference centers, hotels, planes, and a few restaurants.

WiFi is now becoming ubiquitous, not necessarily limited to places where you would sit for a period of time. Signs are popping up in windows advertising free WiFi. More and more stores, malls, and restaurants are using WiFi as a way to lure you to their businesses and, with a simple authentication page, use that as a marketing channel to you. They’ve figured out free WiFi means more foot traffic. Free WiFi is even becoming somewhat of an expectation in hotels. Seems everyone’s first question now after getting their room key is, “What’s the WiFi password?”

More and more stadiums and arenas are also offering WiFi. The new San Francisco 49ers stadium has a new WiFi network that raises the bar for stadium WiFi. During their first pre-season game, a third of the crowd was connected simultaneously, and they still had a network speed of over 1Gbps for over 2 hours. That’s pretty impressive! Additionally, 80% of NBA arenas have WiFi, to solve the trickier coverage issue, as cell signals are not great inside arenas, although typically cell signal boosters are installed.

Cities are also getting in on the trend by providing free municipal WiFi. Boston recently announced their Wicked Free WiFi initiative to join a number of other major US cities and municipalities offering free WiFi. New York is turning old payphones into WiFi hotspots. And Chicago is adding free WiFi to parks with the benches themselves connecting you to the web.

Cable companies are getting together to provide access to their respective networks through “Cable FI”. This means that customers of each company can access WiFi hotspots that they build out. Comcast, Time Warner, BrightHouse, Cox and Cablevision currently have over 100,000 locations that their customers can access.

Even some car companies are promoting WiFi hotspots in their vehicles. Audi with their new A3 and Chevrolet with a number of their new models offer 4g LTE through AT&T. However, that only allows you to connect multiple WiFi devices like phones, iPads, tablets, Kindles, etc. to the network, and you pay for that data as you use it. It’s not a real WiFi network, but that’s how they are marketing it. 

Existing WiFi hotspots from the first wave of public WiFi are now being upgraded. Starbucks, for example, upgraded (or is still migrating) from AT&T to Google and are seeing 80% faster speeds with their new WiFi partner.

There are, however, still some problems with public WiFi that, through standards and innovation, the industry as a whole is working to solve. Republic is even coming up with some clever workarounds we’re eager to share with our members later on that’ll make finding and connecting to free WiFi even easier.


  • Authentication
    Each network needs you to authenticate to get access. Next Generation Hotspot/Hotspot 2.0 and Passpoint are making huge strides in fixing these issues with a form of automatic authentication.

  • Speed and Reliability
    The introduction of new standards, such as 802.11ac, allow for faster and more scalable WiFi networks using the less congested 5GHz band.  As these technologies reach the mobile devices we carry every day, WiFi access will continue to get faster and faster.

  • Moving from one WiFi hotspot to another
    This is really an extension of the authentication issue (and it is somewhat solved on the same network by allowing WiFi Roaming) but when moving from one frequency or hotspot to another, the connection has to be re-established.

  • Moving from the WiFi network to the cellular network
    Hey, didn’t we solve this one already? We DID, and now everyone is on the bandwagon with WiFi calling. Apple announced the capability with iOS8 and iPhone 6 (and Plus), and T-Mobile is going to build on their past work by rolling out WiFi calling to their compatible devices. Verizon and AT&T both announced VERY quickly after T-Mo that they too would offer WiFi calling next year (shocking, I know!). Now let’s see if they actually start lowering their customers’ bills each month for using YOUR free network to offload THEIR costs.


The carriers have a different motivation for announcing WiFi calling. Their main reasons are to compensate for cell coverage and to offload data from their network. The truth about the big carriers' use of WiFi means you don’t get the benefit of saving money for doing the work of improving their network, they do!


If only there was a provider that passed on savings for using WiFi…hmmmm.


For an alternative view on the WiFi conversation, read this great Bloomberg article about how WiFi could be the next biggest carrier.  It’s a very interesting position to take.

So, what does this mean for you, the Republic member?

Well, more WiFi, more savings, and better experiences. We feel like we made the right assumption in 2011 in using WiFi to create an offer to pass on savings from less cell use to you. WiFi hotspots are growing in number, speed, reliability and ease of access, meaning more WiFi connections, more offloading from cellular, and, most importantly, more value for you as a Republic member.

As always, stay WiFi my friends, and add your comments and opinions here.

Ice Bucket Challenges anyone?


We pointed out about last month how to optimize your apps for Wi-Fi, and Facebook was one of them.


Facebook's auto play setting for video is causing some headaches for a lot of people in cellular land.


Check out this article from CNN Money today and don't forget to update your app settings to use as MUCH Wi-Fi as possible !


Facebook's autoplay video feature is destroying cell phone bills - Sep. 3, 2014


Here's the original blog post.  Add your own app tips for maximizing Wi-Fi on the apps you use most frequently.


As always, stay Wi-Fi my friends


Wi-Fi your apps!

Posted by theproductguy Employee Aug 4, 2014

As we saw in my last post, the Android operating system provides some fine grained options to control the amount of cellular data your phone uses on a day-to-day basis, but most apps also provide a number of settings to help reduce the amount of mobile data used and maximize your WiFi offload.


This level of control is sometimes provided in the "Settings" of each app. Here we’ll take a look at a number of pre-installed apps as well as some of the more popular ones from the Play Store to see how you can optimize them to run more efficiently on Republic Wireless. It's time to find out how!


Google Play Store


The main setting change for the Play Store is to make sure that any auto-updating of apps is done on WiFi only. Tap the three lines in the top left corner of the Play Store home page and select “Settings” from the slide out menu.


Select “Auto-Update apps” and select “Auto-Update on WiFi only.” You’ll want to have some apps set to auto-update to make sure that you get the latest and greatest version of the Republic App!

Google Plus


The main setting change for Google Plus is to make sure that photo and sync only happen when you are on a WiFi network. This can be found by tapping the three dots in the upper right corner of the Plus app homepage. Tap “Auto Backup” and make sure the options for “Audio” and “Video” are set to “Only When a WiFi connection is available.” You will also see a checkbox for “Data Roaming.” Make sure that is not checked.


Google Drive


The main setting change for Google Drive is to make sure that documents sync only when you are on a WiFi network. Tap the three lines in the top left corner of the Google Drive homepage and select “Settings” from the slide out menu. Make sure the checkbox for “Transfer Files only over WiFi” is checked.



The main setting change for Gmail is to control the download of mail attachments. Tap the three lines in the top left corner of the Gmail homepage and select “Settings” from the slide out menu. Under your account settings (not “General Settings”), make sure the “Download Attachments for WiFi” is checked.

Google Chrome


The main setting change for Chrome is to compress the data being transmitted. Tap the three dots in the top right corner of the Google Chrome homepage and select “Settings” from the drop down menu. Select “Bandwidth Management” and set “Preload Webpages” to “Only on WiFi.” You can also set “Reduce Data Usage” to “On.”  This will use Chrome’s compression service to reduce the amount of data used when viewing web pages.



There are a couple of things you can do with Facebook settings to save cellular data around the refresh rate and the media that Facebook makes available.  In the Facebook app, click on the three lines in the right hand corner on the white toolbar.  Swipe down and look for “App Settings.” Under these settings, you should turn off “Sync Photos,” and set “Autoplay video” to “WiFi only.” 



Similar to Facebook, the key here is to manage the amount of media that is being preloaded by the app. From the main screen, tap the profile icon on the bottom right of the screen. Tap the three dots in the top right corner and select the “Video Settings.”  Make sure that the video pre-load option is set for “Preload on WiFi only.”


These are just a few of the apps that can be configured to use less data without compromising their performance when you launch the app. We’d love to hear what other apps you use, and what other settings can be utilized to save cellular data and maximize your WiFi use of these apps.  Join the discussion here.


Stay WiFi my friends,

The Product Guy

In our recent blog post, we talked about the use of roaming data, how it impacts our cost structure, and ultimately, how it impacts everyone on Republic. You gave us lots of feedback on that post, and one of the strong themes was that you want better ways to monitor and control your data use. You ask, we deliver! In this post, we'll dive into that topic.


One of the reasons you got a smartphone is the huge number of apps available. Apps LOVE data. Even some of the pre-installed apps on Android use a lot of data that you may not even know is being used. With Republic’s focus on WiFi, we thought you would want to know how you can, with a little bit of digging around within the Android OS, configure your phone and apps to maximize the amount of WiFi they use, and minimize the amount of cellular data they use.


Android Data Management

Android itself provides lots of options at the operating system level for data usage management. At the same time, we understand its limitations, such as the inability to view roaming data separately. However, we feel that if you better understand how to use Android’s data management features, it can help you better understand your cellular data usage. Be on the lookout for our own version of a data management tool that will give you the ability to keep track of all types of data coming soon.


To access Android’s data management tools:


Detail Images

(click to enlarge)

  Follow the below step-by-step tutorial
Data usage 1.png



From your home screen, swipe down to see the Notification curtain.
Data usage 2.png


Tap the man in the box at the top right of the screen to bring up the Quick Links, and tap on Settings.

Data usage 3.png


Under Settings, tap Data usage.

Data usage 4.png


On the Data Usage page, tap the 3 dots at the top right to see the following options:

  • Data roaming - Unchecking this will restrict the device to non-roaming networks. If you are worried about roaming usage, uncheck it. Without a data connection, you may have issues with delay in placing calls and using MMS, so keep that in mind.
  • Restrict background data - This is a blanket setting to restrict background data. It is more effective to limit this setting at the app level as several services provided by Google and Republic use background data. Leave this unchecked to allow control at the app level.
  • Auto-sync data - This syncs data related to your account(s), meaning that syncs will have to be done manually on an app by app basis if unchecked. Think Calendar notifications.  To minimize background activity, you can uncheck this.
  • Show WiFi usage - This should always be checked to show you how your WiFi usage compares to your cellular usage. Always check this.
  • Mobile hotspots - This shows a list of all of your WiFi networks. If you check one of these networks, it will restrict background data on that network, which helps to save on cellular data usage. This is only useful if you are using a mobile hotspot like Freedom Pop or a MiFi to access the internet.



Mobile Data







You can turn off Mobile data altogether here, but that actually causes more problems for the operation of apps that need a connection, like the Republic app, so this needs to be set to ON.


Under the Mobile data setting, there is a cool graph that shows your data usage over time, and the data used by each app for that same time period.  You can toggle the display from Mobile data to WiFi data by tapping the tabs above the graph (but you have to select Show WiFi data in the settings to see WiFi as an option).


You can also set some warnings on your device about Mobile Data usage. The Orange line will display a warning as a notification on your device, and the Red line (which can be configured by setting a Mobile Data Limit) will set a data value to actually shut off cellular data when your usage gets to that level. That may cause some strange things to happen to your phone, so I wouldn’t advise going that far, but the Orange warning is useful.









App Level Control

For each app displayed, you can select the app to see the amount of data used by that specific app on a graph and pie chart.



Next to the pie chart, you will see a number for foreground and background data. Each app gets all the data it needs when you bring the app to the screen, this is considered  foreground data. If the app has updated its data while you weren’t looking at the app, this is considered background data. Example, Facebook refreshing when the app opens, instead of it churning through data when you aren’t in the app.  Background refreshing is fine on WiFi as that data is free, but on cellular, it can eat a lot of unnecessary data.


Under the pie chart, there’s an option to Restrict Background Data at the app level. Restrict Background Data can be checked. You will see a pop up message that tells you: “This feature may cause an app that depends on background data to stop working when only mobile networks are available.” This is true for the Republic app, so don’t restrict that one, but most other apps can be set to restrict background data, especially those for backing up pictures and videos, so click the “OK” button.


Being aware of what settings are available to you now can make a huge difference to the amount of cellular data being uploaded and downloaded in the background, and won’t have a huge impact to your experience on an app by app basis. As mentioned, we’ll also be rolling out an update to the Republic app that will make it much simpler to see exactly how much data you’re using (including roaming data).


Do you have any other tips within Android that can save cellular data? Add them in the comments!



More tips coming next week regarding the apps themselves.


Stay WiFi my friends,

The Product Guy

One of the benefits of Republic Wireless is our ability to quickly make changes to the Republic Wireless app.


When you get a notification to update the Republic Wireless app, it's because we have some new or changed functionality that we want to get into your hands as quickly as possible, or to fix an issue that impacts your experience.


Earlier this week, we discovered a bug where 3rd party messaging apps are sending MMS messages in an endless loop. It's always been our policy that 3rd party MMS apps are not supported, but some apps discovered a way to use them, and inadvertently caused this looping situation where hundreds of duplicate MMS messages are being sent.


We quickly created a temporary fix that removes the ability for 3rd party apps to send MMS messages, and we need you to update your Republic Wireless App in order to implement that fix. We're working on an upcoming app update that will enable MMS for the majority of 3rd party apps (including the Hangouts app) and will let you know as soon as we're ready to release that update.


Please update your Republic Wireless app to ensure that the native messaging app is the ONLY app able to support MMS messaging. To update your Republic App, follow these steps:


  • Launch the Play Store
  • Tap the 3 lines at the top left of the page
  • Tap My apps
  • Tap Republic Wireless
  • Tap Update


You can also set your Republic App to notify you when there's an update available by following these steps:


  • Tap the Apps icon
  • Tap Settings
  • Tap Apps under Device
  • Tap Republic Wireless
  • Tap the box next to Show notifications


Thanks for your time and for updating your app to the most current version!


As always, leave comments here

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.



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 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's 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:

  1. Tap on the message that they tried to send (the one with the triangle next to it).
  2. A popup menu will appear that asks them to send the message as SMS or resend.
  3. They just need to tap the option "Send message as SMS".
  4. 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, until you've turned off iMessage on your old iPhone.


For step-by-step instructions on how to turn off iMessage on your iPhone (or deregister iMessage online if you don't have it anymore), check out our Make the Switch: IPhone to Android (Lollipop) guide. (Remember that it may take up to 24 hours to fully propagate through the Apple infrastructure.)


Oh, and 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.


An update to Wi-Fi+

Posted by theproductguy Employee 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!



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