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A question we get asked a lot is:  “Hey Republic, which data speed is right for me? 4G is the fastest right? I need that!” Wrong! Well, maybe not entirely wrong... To really answer the question, we need to take a closer look at where and how you use your phone.

 

The “G” in 3G and 4G stands for “generation.” Simply put, it means the generation of the network that is being used. Before 3G, there was a 2G network, and a 1G network before that (think huge analog briefcase phones). As more and more people use any of these networks, and more and more bandwidth is required to service all those new people, new networks need to be built with a broader servicing capacity. That said, just because 4G is the newest, doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be the best for you. You see, there are multiple kinds of 4G networks. Some are only currently offered in certain areas of the US. And, as more people move from one network - lets say 3G to 4G - then it frees up that 3G network so that many times, you’ll see a bump in speed and efficiency there because there are suddenly fewer people using it (this is what happened to the old 2G Edge network when 3G first started becoming mainstream back in 2007). It’s much like a lane of traffic opening up on the freeway and moving over lanes so you can go faster.

 

As mentioned, 4G comes in different flavors. Primarily:  4G LTE (which stands for “Long Term Evolution”) and 4G WiMAX (which is an older version of 4G designed to deliver wireless broadband to homes and businesses without running expensive cables to every building). WiMax was the first 4G network to be rolled out. It was even backed by Intel but is typically shied away from, even though a number of carriers still offer it for 4G capability. While WiMax was gaining momentum back in 2006, the whole of the cell phone industry shifted focus to LTE, which promised much better compatibility with existing cell phone equipment. The LTE standard was approved in December 2008, with America's first LTE network coming from MetroPCS in October 2010. Sprint announced this year it will be shutting down its remaining WiMax network as of November 2015 in favor of shifting to its own expanding LTE network.

 

So - the “4G” label really means nothing when it comes to speed (sort of) and everything to do with it being the newest lane open on the freeway.  Everyone is merging into 4G because it appears to be moving faster, but as soon as everyone does, the 3G lane picks up (sort of).  So then, how do you know which network or “lane” to pick?

 

3G vs. WiMAX vs. LTE: Performance

 

On paper - 3G has a peak data transfer rate of just 200 Kbps. Yeah, that’s slow. Real slow. The standard was established in 2003 and most 3G networks offer speeds 10-12 times that fast these days. WiMax has download speeds of around 30-40Mbps, while LTE delivers up to about 100Mbps. In the real world, though, these networks achieve nothing like these speeds. That's because a network's performance depends much more on how it's built than on the specs of the underlying technology.  Furthermore, if you live in an area where a solid 4G infrastructure hasn’t been put in place, you may find much better coverage sticking to 3G.  Our coverage map can help.  And, you can change your plans from your phone on Republic to test which network gives you the best experience overall.

 

And what about WiFi?

 

Ah yes, and let’s not forget about WiFi. The best of the best. The largest, fastest network you already use. Every. Single. Day. More and more free WiFi networks pop up (a simple Google news search will confirm it). Our research shows that the average person is around WiFi between work and home about 64% of their day. That’s a lot of offload potential for more coverage, in more places, for less money! The speed of any given WiFi connection greatly depends on the signal provided, but for the most part, you’re going to experience the fastest data speeds around a theoretical maximum of 1,300 Mbps, if using the latest 802.11ac signal (more like 50Mbps in real life).  Just like 3G and 4G networks, however, several factors impact overall speed such as distance to the wireless source and how many people are using the same signal/sharing the same bandwidth (lanes of freeway traffic).

 

BUT! The super cool thing about your Republic phone though, is it’s designed to use WiFi when it is there for calls, texts, and data, and seamlessly switch over to either 3G or 4G whenever you’re not. Idea being, you don’t have to worry about when you’re switching. Your phone takes care of optimizing your experience for you. And, for extra customization, you can manage handover in the Republic app.

 

So, which is better 3G, 4G, or WiFi?

 

The answer is:  It depends! Keeping up the "traffic on the freeway" analogy, at short distances, with an 802.11a or better WiFi network connection, WiFi comes out ahead. Outside of WiFi, 4G LTE offers the best connection, but it’s still pretty new and limited in terms of where it is available across the US, and more and more people are “merging into the 4G LTE lane.”  So, 3G becomes a lot like the tortoise versus the hare here - 3G can be slower, but more steady and reliable. Either way, we’ve designed our service and devices to make any network, 3G, 4G, or WiFi the most easily accessible to fit your life’s plans whenever they might change.

 

Thanks, and let us know if you have any questions or feedback in the comments.

sarahd

Entrepreneur Week 2014

Posted by sarahd Oct 17, 2014

Entrepreneur: noun, a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

 

Republic and Bandwidth (Republic’s parent company) were founded in the spirit of entrepreneurship. It’s in the very core of each and every one of us, and is how we’ve gotten to where we are today.

 

This week, Bandwidth and Republic celebrated this entrepreneurial spirit by holding our annual charity event benefiting HOPE International – a non-profit organization that provides financial literacy training, savings services, and investment assistance for families living in poverty across 17 countries.

 

We particularly like to focus on the the micro-finance loans program HOPE International provides to families, which helps them grow a business for themselves and benefits their entire community.

 

 

HOPE Marilyn.jpg

Marilyn Ciprian stands outside her store called La Gran Comision or “The Great Commission”—in San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic. Picture provided by HOPE International.


 

For Entrepreneur Week, we wanted to create the same type of atmosphere by hosting our own Micro Marketplace, where Bandwidth/Republic employees sell handmade goods and services with all proceeds benefiting HOPE International’s microfinance loans department. This year, we had everything from used monitors to baked goods and handmade coasters to knitted headbands.

 

Homemade Bread.jpg Handmade Headbands .jpgHomemade Sugar Scrubs.jpg

 

In addition to the Micro Marketplace, we also held a silent auction with items donated by local businesses. Items included a four pack of Hurricane’s tickets, professional photo shoots, handmade holiday wreaths, 48 hours in an ELF (donated by Organic Transit) and much more.

 

Holiday Wreath.jpgPhoto Shoot.jpg Body Shop.jpg

 

The final item offered at Entrepreneur Week was a Big Trip Raffle where the winner chooses from one of seven destinations. The trip includes hotel for three nights, flight and a $300 gift card for two. The trip was donated by Bandwidth using our frequent flyer miles. The winner gets to choose from: Nassau, Cancun, New York City, New Orleans, San Francisco, Key West  or Las Vegas.

 

One of the things that I love so much about Entrepreneur Week is that we get a chance to celebrate all of the benefits that come from entrepreneurship. With just one idea, perseverance and a whole lot of dedication, you can build something from the ground up that influences an entire community. HOPE gets this very basic understanding and instead of just donating money to the cause, they actually go out there and give communities the opportunity to get themselves out of poverty. How rewarding is that?

 

Who are some of your favorite entrepreneurs or charities? Tell us here.

 

Thanks for reading!


rwproductteam

Moto E is Here!

Posted by rwproductteam Oct 15, 2014

Moto E.png

 

 

Say “bye bye” to your old flip phone and hello to an affordable smartphone with polish. The new Moto E is here and it’s just $99 (plus tax)!

 

From the very beginning, our members have wanted an affordable smartphone that doesn’t sacrifice performance for price. Well, here it is. Available right now, today, the Moto E is that smartphone. Priced just right and able to use Republic’s awesome, money-saving WiFi + Cell Network for more coverage, in more places, for even more savings.

 

Moto E is a fantastic first smartphone for kids, grandparents, or even as a home phone replacement with our $5/month plan (get rid of that cable/phone bundle!).  It’s been tested on thousands of hands, and designed so it just feels good to hold.  It comes with many of Motorola’s excellent features like Moto Assist, which knows when you’re driving and will read texts out loud to you. And the new Moto Alert will actually auto-text parents when kids get to school. How cool is that?!

 

Moto E is great for replacing not only flip phones, but older smartphones too. Moto Migrate makes getting set up a snap by moving over all your pics, contacts, music and more from an iPhone or Android. And, if you ever feel like you need even more space for all your stuff, you can expand the memory of your Moto E up to 32GB with its microSD card slot.

 

Moto E is the smartphone that proves low cost doesn’t have to mean low quality. Many of the features normally reserved for a high-end device are loaded into a $99 price. Handle all your emails, phone calls, and texts without a hiccup. It’s compact, lightweight, and comfortable to hold. Come get your Moto E with polish at the right price now.

 

Leave us your (excited) comments right here.


jared_c

Market Disruptors: Harry's

Posted by jared_c Oct 14, 2014

Jared here, back with another edition of the Market Disruptor series.  The Market Disruptors series takes a look at like-minded companies that are changing their industries for the better. Last time we checked out branding expert, Warby Parker, and their omni-channel approach to the saturated eyeglass industry.  Round two of Market Disruptors features Harry's.  Harry’s is a web-based startup in the business of selling men’s razors.

 

The $2.4 billion shaving industry is dominated by giants like Gillette and Schick who, through lack of competition, have created a market full of overpriced razors.  Since being founded in 2013, Harry’s has been on a mission to bring change to this stagnant industry one razor at a time.  Its secret weapon in this uphill battle?  Storytelling.

 

Any brand can relay a message, but a great brand tells a story.  And if storytelling is the name of the game then Harry’s is Shakespeare.  At its core, Harry’s story is a simple one: “We knew there had to be a better way, so we created Harry’s as a return to the essential: a great shave at a fair price.” The way they tell this story is the special part.  After following Harry’s for the past several months and using their products, I believe there are two main reasons why their storytelling is so effective: authenticity and relevance.

 


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Authenticity

 

Harry’s promises their customers a great shave at a fair price, but in order to deliver on that promise they’d have to put their money where their mouth was.  In order to provide quality blades while maintaining low costs to the customer, the Harry’s co-founders knew they would need to control the supply chain process.  After months of research and over $100 million in funding raised, the two purchased a German razor factory.

 


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Owning the razor factory not only gives Harry’s the credibility as a razor expert, but also allows them to deliver on their promise.  By inserting themselves into the blade production process, Harry’s isn’t just telling you you’ll get a better shave, they're ensuring you’ll get a better shave.  The authenticity behind Harry’s story differentiates them from the jargon of the industry giants.

 

Relevance

 

Let’s be honest, shaving isn’t the most fun thing to do in the world. If anything, it’s a nuisance in the daily routine.  Instead of taking this as a negative, Harry’s has crafted a brilliant campaign around the morning routine called #OwnYourAM.  #OwnYourAM is based around the morning routine of the everyday guy, and Harry’s features just about everything but shaving - from coffee drinking habits to breakfast choices.  Their emphasis on the morning routine relates to nearly every guy and makes shaving just another part of owning your day.


own.jpg

Another way Harry’s story stays relevant is with their magazine, Five O’ Clock.  Five O’ Clock magazine features stories about the morning routines of men around America.  The stories aren’t focusing on celebrities, they’re on the stories of people just like their target market - the everyday men of the world.  Everyone from a bike builder, to a novelist, to a consultant.  Harry’s Five O’ Clock publication shows that they identify with their target market, making you believe that when Harry’s says: “Like most of you, we’ve long had to choose between over-priced, over-marketed razors that disrespect your intelligence, and low quality, cheap razors that disrespect your face.” they really have been there.

 

It’s one thing to tell a story, but it’s another to live it.  Harry’s does a fantastic job of telling their story in an authentic and relevant way.  Their strong branding has led to major disruption in just over a year, and with over $130 million in funding, there’s no sign in them slowing down.


There are a lot of great takeaways from a brand like Harry’s.  They are a great example of a brand that is living out their mission statement and keeping a finger on the pulse of what their customer base wants.  Here at Republic, we also strive to be a brand that delivers on our mission, and listens to our customers.  What’re some ways in which you think we are living out our story?  Where can we improve?  As always, leave your comments here.

rwproductteam

Short Codes are live!

Posted by rwproductteam Oct 10, 2014

You’ve been requesting them for days. Weeks. Months.  Years! We’ve navigated through a maze of partner agreements and technicalities. And today, we are thrilled to announce Short Codes are live for the Moto X, Moto G, and Moto E!

 

If you’re not one of the folks who has been excitedly asking for this feature, Short Codes are 4-6 digit texts you can send to enter contests, subscribe to organizations for information (Cat Facts anyone?), or verify your identity for certain services and apps on the fly. But instead of telling you about all of the different uses of short codes, we'd rather show you.

 

This past week two of our employees, Katelyn and Brittain, went on a short code adventure.  Documenting their fun with their Republic Moto X.

short1.jpg

 

Katelyn and Brittain were interested in testing out our newest feature, and did a little research to see which brands used short codes.  During their research they discovered that Redbox uses short codes to send updates and deals to members of their mobile text club.  Katelyn loves Redbox, so she wanted to get in on the action and decided to sign up.

 

short2.jpg

 

To become a part of the club, Katelyn had to text FREEBIES to the (727-272) number that they provided.  Immediately after signing up, she received a text message confirming her subscription.  All of this Redbox fun reminded Katelyn that she had an overdue movie (whomp, whomp), so she and Brittain decided they would catch a ride with Uber to the nearest Redbox.

 

First, our two adventurers needed to set up an Uber account.  They downloaded the app, entered in their account info and shortly after received another short code to confirm their account!  This is one of the most common ways businesses use short codes to verify your identity.

 

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After requesting their ride, Brittain and Katelyn followed their driver's route to the office.

 

 

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Minutes later their driver and new friend, Lhou, arrived and the three headed off to the nearest Redbox...  `

 

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Katelyn returned her movie (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Brittain went for his first Uber ride, and the two saw how useful short codes could be!

 

Tons of work went into coordinating with the right industry partners to make this possible as well as the work and testing needed with our engineering team to make it fully functional and accessible for our callers. Suffice it to say, this is a big win for us, and we’re incredibly happy to be able to cross one more top customer request off the list.

 

So! With that, go!  Embark on a short code adventure of your own, texting codes to all your favorite businesses, organizations, and services. Enjoy, and leave us any questions or comments here.


The Refer a Friend program is very near and dear to many of you. It was highly requested, and, like anytime our members want something, we’re inclined to give it to you. We rolled out an initial program and it just wasn’t good enough. So, we did what we always do; asked ourselves and asked you if we could make it better.  We could, and we did.

RaF People.jpg

 

Fast forward to where the Refer a Friend program is today and how it aligns with the program’s goals:

 

  • Participation is low–both in regard to the number of members actually participating, and the number of referrals those members make. The vast majority of folks refer just one person. Ever.
    • This tells us that the current program may not be the best value to you, our members.
    • We want the next iteration to inspire more participation and make it easier to spread the word to others in a more meaningful way.

 

  • We aren’t rewarding the right kind of behavior.
    • With the current program, we are only incentivizing online, transactional-focused activities (i.e. sharing links).
    • We’ve found that a lot of the times people talk about Republic is because of genuine excitement. Our strongest evangelists really do want to help reduce their cellular footprint, use WiFi to the fullest for calls, texts, and data, and keep costs down for our entire Community.  We want to strengthen that experience and help you bring in even more like-minded people who’d be a great fit for Republic too.

  • Today’s Refer a Friend program isn’t flexible. 
    • It only offers one type of incentive: financial.  For many of you, an extra $20 credit is nice, but we could offer so much more to make your time with Republic better in a variety of ways. 
    • For example:  Wouldn’t it be cool if you could save points for products, coveted RW swag, a grand prize trip to Republic HQ, or free service? Or what if we could pool points together and donate to a non-profit?  We would love to have your input on what these incentives could be. 

 

We’ve been big picture thinkers since 2011 – always willing to try new things, but focused on giving people the power to improve the quality of their lives.  We believe that word of mouth is our best asset, and we’re on a mission to identify the right ways to reward our strongest brand advocates that are more relevant and meaningful.

 

RaF Sunset.png


So where do we go from here?

At the end of the day we have two options:  Keep the current program running and potentially confuse everyone with a separate, competing program. Or, we focus all our energy into working with you to test and try new ideas. We’re choosing the latter. Really, it’s all about you and how we can develop the best program possible. We rely on you, just as we always have, to make our unique model and services work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So with that, our current Refer a Friend program will be coming to a close on October 31, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. EST.  Any and all credits you’ve earned up until October 31st will still be processed and will of course still remain in your account.  And, you will still be able to refer friends through the launch of our new Moto E smartphone (through 10/31/14), so you both still receive $20 credit towards service. For more questions regarding this change, please visit our FAQ.

 

As always, thank you for being such great members.  We look forward to bringing you an even bigger, better Republic experience as we continue to disrupt the mobile industry. Please leave us any feedback you might have and please start leaving us any ideas for perks you’d enjoy for participating in referrals in our Think Tank. Thank you.


rwproductteam

Mark Your Calendar!

Posted by rwproductteam Oct 7, 2014

Moto E Announce.png

 

It’s official, the Moto E will be available for purchase on October 15, 2014. The Moto E will be priced at just $99 (plus taxes) and includes a ton of cool features like Moto Alert, Moto Assist, the Republic App and much more. Pair that with our unique WiFi + Cell Hybrid Calling and you’ve got yourself a flip phone killer.

 

Additionally, we wanted some of our existing members to have the opportunity to get their hands on the Moto E first. Starting tomorrow, October 8, a select group of existing members that signed up to receive news about the Moto E will be able to purchase the Moto E early. How do you know if you’re one of the lucky members? Check your email. If you received an email yesterday from Republic with the following message, you’re in!



We hope you’re as excited as we are about the Moto E. Let us know what you think here.


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 www.phonebooth.com.

 

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


Hi Republic members! This week’s review is all about your time on the road.

 

 

Phone_Charge_Sound.png

Your Daily Commuting “Karaoke” Could Charge Your Phone.


We all do it...hear one of our favorite catchy songs on the radio and start singing along. And many of us find ourselves out and about with a nearly-dead phone and no charger.

 

Scientists at Queen Mary University of London, working with researchers at Nokia, might have developed a phone that could use that habit to solve our charging woes. The device uses “everyday background noise, including traffic and music [...] converted into electricity” to supplement traditional charging, developed by new work on piezoelectric materials, which collect electricity through pressure.      (image via Mashable)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radar Guns Aren’t Just For Detecting Speeding Anymore.

 

The distraction caused by texting while driving is dangerous, but police could soon have a way to detect when drivers are texting using a radar gun being developed by Virginia company ComSonics.

 

The radar gun “works by detecting the telltale radio frequencies that emit from a vehicle when someone inside is using a cellphone” and singles out frequencies specific to text messages.

 

The device has yet to gain legislative approval, and there are concerns regarding driver privacy and detection accuracy. But improved technology like ComSonics’ radar gun could help decrease distracted driving injuries; an estimated 421,000 people were injured in distracted driving incidents nationally in 2012. (It can wait, people! Drive safe!)

 

 

 

 

Bring Your Movie Collection on the Road: Western Digital’s My Passport Wireless

 

Good luck trying to balance your laptop to watch a movie as the mile markers go by on that long family car trip. You could stream it on your phone, but in our quest to help you use less data and more WiFi, there may be a better alternative.

 

Western Digital’s My Passport Wireless is a portable WiFi-accessible hard drive that allows up to eight devices (that can connect simultaneously) to transfer, backup, or play media files, using the WD My Cloud app.

 

Available in 500GB, 1TB, or 2TB sizes, it’ll fit quite a few movies. And with up to six hours of continuous video streaming per charge, you’ll avoid at least a few “Are we there yet?”s.

 

 

 

What tech has made your car trips more enjoyable? Let us know in the comments here.

Hey folks!

 

Welcome to September's Republic Recap, which will cover what you might have missed in the month of September. We’ve shared some exciting news this month (Moto E anyone??), and also have moved some existing projects forward. Check out what happened in September below!

 

 

NEW IN SEPTEMBER:

 

Phone and Service Related

 


Support Enhancements

  • New packaging for Republic devices that uses less materials
  • Data Usage Policy updates (streamlined process)
  • New notification & Terms of Service enforcement communication

 


Other Improvements and Releases

  • Engaged new recycling firm for end-of-life phones
  • Added new retail locations
  • Relocated our Reverse Logistics hub (for speedier shipments!)

 

 


IN-PROGRESS ITEMS THAT WILL IMPROVE YOUR EXPERIENCE:


Smaller Scope Items

Larger Scope Items

 

 

And that does it for September! Let us know what you think here

 

(P.S. If there’s a topic you’re particularly interested in, be sure to follow it in the Think Tank!)


Republic is powered by our members. You’re why we’re here, and we know that the way to provide you with the best experience possible is to engage with and learn from you. Collaboration makes us tick. We think it’s important to create things together and actively seek out ideas from you. That’s why our website features your stories about Republic, why we have a Think Tank full of your suggestions and a Community where you can talk to and get help from other Republic members.

 

 

Our member blogs are another example of the collaborative spirit that’s central to Republic. We’re constantly amazed at our members who go the extra mile to help the Republic community succeed, and our member blogs are a way to showcase and share their knowledge.

 

 

The latest Republic member to join our blogging ranks is jben, one of our Community Ambassadors. Jben became an Ambassador in February, but has been an active Community member much longer, using his network and support experience to help Republic members optimize their WiFi equipment and settings. His new blog Amplify features the Community Checklist, a detailed resource and a great example of the crowdsourcing power of the Community. The Checklist provides instructions on configuring your phone settings and router, as well as testing your Internet speeds, to make sure you’re getting the most out of your Republic service.

 

 

Another tech-inclined Ambassador, bitflung, is the author of TidBits, your source for custom apps designed for Republic members. Two apps are currently available, both “written by a RW member, for RW members”, and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. While we cannot directly endorse member-created apps, we do appreciate this great example of co-creation in the name of helping our entire Community.

 

 

We’ve featured two of our member blogs in the past as well. southpawkb’s blog Panorama is home of the new SWAG (Swag Wednesday Amazing Giveaways) and behind-the-scenes interviews with Republic employees. carlh's Tips & Tricks is chock-full of detailed, but easy-to-follow guides for common questions and frequently discussed topics from the Community.

 

 

Our member blogs are an important piece of our member-first approach and are full of a variety of helpful information. If you ever need help with your Republic phone, service, or just want to learn something new, our member blogs are a fantastic supplement to our Knowledge Center and Community.

 

 

Thanks for reading! As always, please feel free to leave your questions and comments here.

That Moto X, Moto G, (and soon to be released Moto E) of yours all have the incredibly cool ability to listen to you when you speak. Simply by saying, “Ok Google…” or “Ok Google Now…” your phone can respond to certain commands.  Heck, it’ll even OkGoogleNow_900x900.pngtalk back to you sometimes and read your texts aloud. But how do you know what commands it responds to? We’ve pulled together a huge list, with even a few fun surprises that gave us a laugh. Just replace whatever’s in between the brackets [ ] with whatever you’re interested in. Check em out:

 

Basic Info:

  • How old is [the Dalai Lama]?
  • Where was [Abraham Lincoln] born?
  • Define [revelatory] (Or "What does [revelatory] mean?")
  • What time is it in [France]?
  • Search for [cooking tips].
  • Show me pictures of [the Italian countryside].
  • Do I need an umbrella today? Do I need a jacket? What's the weather like? What's the weather in [New York] [this weekend]?
  • What’s the [Red Hat] stock price? What is [Uber] trading at?
  • What's [15 yards] in [miles]? What is [16 ounces] in [liters]?
  • What's [180] divided by [6]? (tons of math equations work.)

 

Smartphone control:

  • Open [Republicwireless.com].
  • Take a picture or Take a photo.
  • Record a video.
  • Open [Pandora].

 

Getting stuff done:

  • What's the tip for [148 dollars]?
  • Set an alarm for [8:30 am].
  • Set a timer for [15 minutes].
  • Create a calendar event: [Lunch with mom, Wednesday at noon].
  • Remind me to [buy a birthday gift at 11am] (Locations also work. Try saying: Remind me to [buy a birthday gift at The Lego Store at 11am].)
  • What is my schedule for tomorrow? (also: What does my day look like [Monday]?)
  • Where's my package? (*Note: This only works if your package tracking info is stored in your Gmail)
  • Make a note: [pay my bills]. (You can also try "Note to self: ")
  • Find [Susan Gilespie’s] [phone number]. (Works with all info in your contacts - addresses, birthdays, etc.)

 

Communication:       

  • Call [Fred] (also works with relationships: Call [brother].)
  • Text [Fran] [Hey! Thanks for inviting me to the party. I had a blast!] (also works with relationships: Text [Dad] [Sorry for wrecking the car...Please don’t ban me from the house].)
  • Send email to [Luke Skywalker], subject, [Using the force], message, [Trust your instincts. Do or do not! There is no try].
  • Post to [Twitter]: [Way to be a Jedi Luke! Thanks for dealing with that Vader jerk].

 

Travel:

  • Where is the nearest [Mexican restaurant]?
  • Navigate to [Centennial Campus, Raleigh].
  • Directions to [Umstead Park] by [foot] (also try "Directions home" or "How do I get home?").
  • Where is [Empire State Building]?
  • Show me the menu for [American Meltdown].
  • Call [the NC Museum of Art].
  • Show me my flight info.
  • Where's my hotel?
  • What are some attractions around here?
  • How do you say [good night] in [Portuguese]?
  • What is [100 pesos] in [dollars]?
  • What's the flight status of [Jet Blue] flight [932]?
  • Show me restaurants near my hotel -or- Give me directions back to my hotel (*Note: only works if your hotel confirmation info was sent to your Gmail account).

                                    

Are you not entertained?!

  • Play some music (opens "I'm feeling lucky" radio station in Google Play Music).
  • Next Song / Pause Song.
  • Play [Happy] (songs must be in Google Play Music on your device).
  • Watch [Game of Thrones] (movies and TV shows must be in your Google Play account).
  • What's this song?
  • Listen to TV.
  • What songs do [The Black Keys] sing?
  • Read [The Forever War].
  • Did the [Cubs] win today? What's the score in the [Mets] game?
  • What movies are playing [tonight]? Where is [Guardians of the Galaxy] playing?

 

Fun surprises:

Make sure to turn your sound up for these...

  • What is the loneliest number?
  • Do a barrel roll!
  • Askew / Tilt.
  • Go go Gadget [Spotify].
  • When am I?
  • Make me a sandwich.
  • Sudo make me a sandwich.
  • Who's on first?
  • Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right.
  • Tell me a joke.
  • Who are you?
  • Beam me up, Scotty!
  • What is [Jennifer Lawrence's] Bacon number? (as in "seven degrees of Kevin Bacon").
  • What does the fox say?

 

So there you have it. These commands should keep you talking to your phone for days. Please feel free to add any commands you come across in our comments section here. Thanks and happy talking.

Hey everyone & happy Friday!

 

MK here from the marketing team. Since joining Republic Wireless five months ago, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing not one, not two, but three major fitness-related employee competitions. Around here, the philosophy from the highest level of management is that our team members are essential to delivering remarkable value to our customers. In order to properly take care of us, our leadership team has developed a philosophy of taking care of the whole person by promoting a healthy body, mind and spirit. One of the ways in which they support that philosophy is by offering regular challenges to keep us active, to promote cross-department fraternization and to deepen and strengthen our interpersonal relationships.

 

Right now, we’re in the thick of training and planning for a two-day 200 mile relay race from Raleigh, NC to Atlantic Beach, NC called the Tuna Run 200. Why do they call it a “Tuna Run”? Well, quite simply, once you reach the beach, you get to enjoy fresh tuna and your beverage of choice to celebrate. The big weekend is just two weeks away and I’m sort of freaking out.

 

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The good news is, I don’t have to be an elite ultra-runner to participate. We have about 60 employees signed up and people of all levels of fitness are participating – some have multiple marathons under their belt and some couldn’t run three miles at the beginning of the summer. Each person participating will be running about 15 miles over a period of 30 hours.

 

The awesome group of employees that planned the event have split everyone into four different teams, with 12 people on each team. The 200 mile course is split into 36 different legs, which vary from three to ten miles per leg. Each person on the team will run three legs over the course of two days. Two days?!? Yep, two days. That means we have to run overnight!

 

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As you can imagine, there’s quite a bit of planning required. There will be vans assigned to each team that will drop us off and pick us up at designated exchange zones along the 200 mile route and all of our directional turns will be defined on temporary tattoos we can place on our arms.

 

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My assigned legs are 4.82 miles, 7.46 miles and 4.94 miles. I trained pretty hard at the beginning of the summer and ended up with tendonitis in both legs by late July. Ugh. The doc advised me to stick to the elliptical for at least six weeks, and then once I got back out on the road in early September, I found that my conditioning had suffered considerably. Hills are a lot harder than they once were and I’m finding that the 5 mile mark is where I’m tending to get really tired. I’m sure once the adrenaline kicks in, I’ll be able to get through each leg without a terrible struggle...but if it ends up being harder than I’m imagining, then at least I know it’s not a true race. The reason we’re out there is to challenge ourselves and build camaraderie with each other. In the end, the pace doesn’t matter. The journey will be the reward.

 

Have you ever done something that pushed you out of your comfort zone? What do you think about this race in general? Tell me in the comments here and check back after October 10th when I’ll report back how it all went down!


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.

Greetings from your Republic Wireless Supply Chain team!

 

We've spent a couple of years getting to know you and building up capabilities to better serve you. Since we are typically the behind-the-scenes guys responsible for getting those important Republic packages out the door and more, we jumped at the chance to say hello in today’s post.

 

For folks who may be wondering, a supply chain is that network of people, processes and systems that makes it possible for us to deliver phones and accessories to your doorstep and to your satisfaction. This requires infrastructure such as warehouses and computer systems; conveyances such as planes, trains, and automobiles; a network of suppliers and service providers; and people whose whole days are focused on improving Republic's ability to meet your needs. We are the people who plan for inventory levels; purchase goods for the Republic Wireless store; and look after warehousing, shipping and delivery. Fascinating stuff - we know!

 

Our team debates whether Supply Chain is an exciting function or the Most.Exciting.Function. (Ever.) We love what we do because we have the privilege of ensuring your Republic Wireless phones and accessories arrive promptly, so you can enjoy WiFi freedom as soon as possible.

 

Early on, when designing Republic's supply chain strategy, we faced a key decision: We could focus on cost, which has an appeal in light of our subscription pricing model. Or we could focus on you. We chose you. Member-focused Supply Chain Management is based on the premise that member satisfaction comes first and that, managed effectively, leads to other measures of success.

 

What does that mean in practical terms? Well, for one thing, it means everything we do starts with planning to meet member demand (your orders). All of our systems and processes are carefully tuned to respond flexibly to changes in order patterns. This means nearly all of your orders placed by 5:00 p.m. eastern time ship "same day". Another point is that Republic carefully selects industry-leading supply chain partners, such as warehouses and carriers, based on their flexibility, member focus, and ability to serve our members - and then we plan together for the satisfaction of Republic's members. This means that we aren't locked-in to one-size-fits-all solutions, so we can keep refining our programs as we learn more about you. Then, we measure performance…all the time. The most important measure in our toolkit is known as Perfect Order, which requires every shipment to achieve the “7 R's”: ship the right product, in the right quantity and right condition, to the right place at the right time, ensuring the satisfaction of the right customer at the right cost. (Whew, that's a lot of “R's”.) To max out our Perfect Order score, Republic invests in inventory levels, planning and delivery systems, shipping capacity, and people. And while we don't typically brag about it, we're pretty pumped that Republic's scores rival the biggest and best in e-commerce.

 

Looking ahead, we will be introducing a number of improvements in response to your ideas. In the pipeline now is the inclusion of Multiple Shipping Options in our store, which will give you control over the transit time for your shipment. We will also be introducing a redesigned shipping box that is smaller and more efficient. Longer-term, we are exploring a Last Mile Delivery concept that may (MAY!) lead to Same Day Delivery capabilities…stay tuned for a pilot program in the coming months. However, despite our keen interest, so far none of our members have been pressing us for drone deliveries. I guess we will keep that idea on the tarmac for now.

 

That's a few words on Member-focus from a Supply Chain perspective. As always, if you have questions, comments, or just can't live without drone deliveries, we would love to hear from you. Thanks for being a part of the WiFi revolution.

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