10 Replies Latest reply: Sep 25, 2013 7:32 PM by nosanityclaus RSS

Cell coverage compared to Verizon

tlewis3348 2 Bar

I have been watching Republic Wireless for a while and considering whether I should switch from my current Verizon plan when it runs out.  Everything looks very appealing (especially with the new phone/pricing), but the biggest question I have had from the beginning is how the network  coverage compares to Verizon's. I have heard people on Sprint's network complain about poor coverage in many areas before, but I also know that part of Sprint's network is roaming on Verizon's, so part of the complaints may be due to the fact that they had to pay for roaming (which I understand is free with Republic Wireless).  Additionally, comparing the coverage map on Republic Wireless's site to the one on Verizon's seems to show that you have comparable (if not, better coverage).

 

Ultimately, I would be interested to hear from current customers who were previously Verizon customers (though comments from Republic Wireless employees would not be unwelcome either).  Have you had any less coverage with Republic Wireless compared to Verizon?  If so, how much, and how often?

  • Re: Cell coverage compared to Verizon
    johnny5 Ambassador

    I am a former Verizon customer of many years. I moved to out to the country and my Verizon phone did not work in my house. If I went down to the end of my driveway, faced west and stood on one foot I might get one bar with Verizon. Verizon actually came by my house, tested their signal and admitted it was "marginal". Their "solution" was to sell me a picocell for $150 that would connect to my DSL connection (they did not offer to pay for this access).

     

    I had wifi in my house and knew that VoIP with WiFi/Cell hand-off existed for commercial customers. After looking around I found Republic and haven't looked back. I use WiFi as much as possible but the cell coverage here, even data, is pretty good.

     

    Since cell coverage is important to you, you should get a phone and try for it 30 days to see if it works for you. There's a money-back guarantee

     

    I had a 700 minutes plan with Verizon. I now get unlimited talk, text and data for half what I was paying Verizon.

    • Re: Cell coverage compared to Verizon
      tlewis3348 2 Bar

      Thanks for the info.  My wife and I also have WiFi at our house, and I have it where I work, so the main concern about cell coverage is that we can make calls while traveling (we have to drive through the mountains of West Virginia to see family).  Therefore, it is good to hear that RW has coverage in some places that even Verizon does not.

       

      Am I correct in understanding that, in your opinion, RW covers the same area as Verizon (since when people are roaming on Sprint's network, they could be using Verizon's) plus a little extra?

      • Re: Cell coverage compared to Verizon
        johnny5 Ambassador

        Coverage and roaming make using RW a little more challenging. I've read reports in the forum that an RW phone will try to use a weaker Sprint signal when a stronger roaming signal is available.

         

        I do know that I have gotten text, voice and data all to work as I'm out and about but I think "user traffic is the best diagnostic". The Defy will go to $99 in the next day or two. I recommend you get at least one and try it on a road trip to the mountains. Take your Verizon phone too so you can compare signal strength, voice quality etc. If RW works well enough, you can then decide if you want to trade in the Defy for the $100 credit for the Moto X or stay with the Defy. That's what I did though I could tell in fairly short order that RW was right for my wife and I. I'm (somewhat) patiently waiting for the  Moto X. I'll buy a new one and re-purpose my Defy as a kid phone.

      • Re: Cell coverage compared to Verizon
        glarepate 4 Bar

        tlewis3348 wrote:

         

        Thanks for the info.  My wife and I also have WiFi at our house, and I have it where I work, so the main concern about cell coverage is that we can make calls while traveling (we have to drive through the mountains of West Virginia to see family).  Therefore, it is good to hear that RW has coverage in some places that even Verizon does not.

         

        Am I correct in understanding that, in your opinion, RW covers the same area as Verizon (since when people are roaming on Sprint's network, they could be using Verizon's) plus a little extra?

        My brother lives in WV and so I have looked at Sprint coverage there.  While not great, especially where he lives, RW has roaming agreements with lots of regional carriers as well as big ol' Verizon.    When there is no Sprint signal there is still a good possibility that there is a roaming partner that you will be able to connect to.  So yes, you may be able to use your phone in places where there is no Verizon coverage even though that map they show in their commercials makes it look like they have everyone else beat for coverage. 

         

        What roaming means is that there is no Sprint signal.  That is when your phone will roam.  A roaming partner may have a better signal where you are but the phone will not roam until there is no Sprint signal.  This is a policy that keeps all the partners honest, not one that is designed to frustrate users who want a better connection even though it may seem that way sometimes.

         

        Also be aware that company WiFi networks are normally set up to block any traffic that isn't essential to business operations.  That means VOIP.  If you hit a snag with using WiFi at work check with the IT department and see if it will be permitted.  Chances are it won't but it never hurts to ask.

         

        Some VOIP apps work over ports 80 and 443, which are used by web browsers for normal and secure WWW connections respectively.  So try Skype if the green arc won't light up on your RW phone.  There are other apps that do this too.

  • Re: Cell coverage compared to Verizon
    antbib 2 Bar

    In my experience, there are a few limitations on the coverage, but they're not as crippling as some would have you believe. As someone else mentioned, if there's even a pathetically weak Sprint signal, it seems to be favored above an available Verizon roaming signal, which makes sense from RW's point of view. Without access to the technical data I can't be positive, but I believe roaming on Verizon starts only when there is absolutely no Sprint signal.

     

    I just finished a 9,000 mile road trip from my home in SC to the West Coast and back, and I never regretted having Republic as my carrier. Out west where Sprint coverage is scarce, I was roaming on Verizon most of the time with no problem. And of course, as soon as I got around WiFi, the whole issue of cell coverage ceased to be an issue. We spent some time in the WY mountains where we had no signal at all, but that wasn't because of Sprint's limitations; there was no signal from any carrier. The locals have an innovative way of delivering voice and data out there; they transmit them through buried wires. What will they come up with next?

     

    • Re: Cell coverage compared to Verizon
      liz 2 Bar

      I had Verizon for many years. I put up with their "mickey-mouse minutes and calling times" because V worked great at both my homes, FL and WNY along Lake Erie.  But I hated V so much that I grabbed a RW phone in August 2012 and have learned to live with it even though Sprint is marginal along Lake Erie.

       

      What this means is my DEFY is either roaming in WNY or picks up a 1G signal.  (I use the BoostSignal app continually to check for stronger tower signals.)  Mostly, I'm able to talk over my phone just fine - and my car Bluetooth works fine.  Of course, I am not able to do the occasional data check (email, baseball scores, stock prices, etc) when I'm away from wifi.

      Back in FL, DEFY connects easily to 3G, so no problems.

       

      The freedom of unlimited everything and the opportunity to give up V has motivated me to live with DEFY.  I'm so thankful to the pioneers at RW for making this freedom available.  I'll be even happier when the engineers at RW make the hand-off from wifi to cell available.  Now, one has to put up with being bumped from a wifi call and waiting for a cell call to go through.

       

      The new Moto X won't improve my calling experience in WNY, so there are few reasons for me to switch from the DEFY.

  • Re: Cell coverage compared to Verizon
    matthewc 3 Bar

    I have (had) been a VZ customer since around 1990 - back when it was known as Bell Atlantic Mobile.  My first cell phone contract was $19/month (imagine that!) and it gave me 200 minutes of talk plus free nights and weekends.  It was a reasonable deal back then (texting did not exist and obviously neither did smartphones or data plans).

     

    I have resisted the constant push of VZ to get you into higher and higher priced contracts, especially into data plans.  Nothing infuriated me more than when my phone which was fine on their 'non data / feature phone' contract suddenly could no longer be used on that contract as it now required a data plan.  When that happened I started looking for a replacement cell provider, which is what led me to RW.  And now I am back to $19 / month but I get everything, unlimited.  Awesome!

     

    But, to the point of your question ... no, the Sprint/VZ-roaming signal on my Defy is absolutely horrible when compared with VZ's.  I'm sorry to say that but it is true.  I drive across PA sometimes on Interstate 80 and up and down I-79, and there is only marginal Sprint coverage the entire way.  I mean, you can use the phone to talk, and you can send texts (although they might take a few minutes to go out), but the data is so slow that you may as well forget it.  My son goes to college in the Erie area and we had to get rid of his RW phone and buy him an iPhone with VZ prepay .. because the coverage on the campus was so bad, he could only rarely use it to talk (and it sounded broken up), and forget data completely.  Do NOT rely on the Sprint coverage map, they LIE!!  Yes he could use it on wifi and that is wonderful, but that is only in limited places.  I am hoping with fingers crossed on both hands, that the Moto/X phone will have a better antenna / radio front-end so that I might convince my son to come back to RW and save me a boatload of money ... but, his iPhone gets 'perfect' VZ service everywhere on campus so that is going to be a tough sell.  Note, along with crappy Sprint coverage comes crappy battery performance ... the phone keeps trying to connect to barely-available cell towers and in so doing it drains its battery ... it will only last about 5 hours on his campus.  And, I can attest to the fact that when you have a nearly-zero Sprint signal, you will NOT roam onto VZ towers even if you are standing next to one.  The fact that Sprint uses VZ as a roaming partner is almost immaterial, at least in Western Pennsylvania.  Now if you go to an area where there is no Sprint at all but there is VZ presence, then you would probably have a different experience.

     

    So I, like others, would encourage you to try the phone for the 30-day trial period and if it works out then great, welcome aboard.  But if you are going into this thinking that it gets "better" coverage than VZ because it accesses all of Sprint plus VZ for roaming, then you will be sadly disappointed, especially in the Erie area.  For me, I now "put up with" dismal cellular coverage when out and about, because the savings are great and I have wifi a great percentage of the time.  I will probably move to the $10 MotoX plan, because cell data is, as I said, near useless in my neck of the woods anyway.  Unless of course, the MotoX has a better radio / antenna, at which point I will be truly happy.

  • Re: Cell coverage compared to Verizon
    waywardgeek 2 Bar

    I've jumped ship every time there was a better phone on a new carrier, sometimes even paying the broken-contract fee.  I've used all the big carriers at this point.  Your coverage will vary from one provider to the next, but I'm finding that this is becoming less true over time, at least for voice connections.  Now days the companies all lease space on their towers to the others, and the main difference seems to be which company gets the best spots on the tower.  Now days, I find that the quality of the radio in the phone makes a bigger difference than whether I'm with Version, Sprint, AT&T or T-Mobile.  Motorola makes the best radios in the business, and the Moto-X has a very sensitive radio, according to the reviews.  If you switch from a Verizon Samsung phone or iPhone to a RW Moto-X, I predict you will not see any reduction in your ability to connect by voice.  Data is a whole different ball game, where I think Verizon and AT&T currently have a significant lead, but rumors indicate Sprint is catching up.  However, I've found Sprint has decent coverage of major freeways, and at home and work I use WiFi anyway, so I don't care.

  • Re: Cell coverage compared to Verizon
    ashleyr 2 Bar

    I switched from Verizon to RW about 14 months ago. When I'm out and about (not on WiFi) I often have trouble with data on my RW phone. Maps, email, websites, etc. won't load at all or they take 5 minutes and drain the battery. That being said, I've never had problems calling or texting with RW. The coverage has been just fine.

     

    I used to get a lot of dropped calls with Verizon, particularly from inside my apartment. RW still has a few glitches that interfere with my calls from time to time, but overall I have far fewer dropped calls with RW than I did with Verizon.

  • Re: Cell coverage compared to Verizon
    nosanityclaus 2 Bar

    In the Phoenix area and went from T-Mobile to Alltel then absorbed by Verizon.  Verizon coverage is better here and Republic on Spring drops a lot more calls then I did with Verizon.  I used very little data on Verizon and only had a smart phone for a short period at the end, but much better on Verizon then 3G.  Unfortunately as of right now 4G is non-existent except a very few(test?) sites here so the 4G Moto X plan is worthless currently for Phoenix area which I was actually looking forward too until I started digging.  The trade off is of course I know about where the dead zones on my normal route are, WiFi works fine in almost all situations I get it and save enough that I would not go back...except maybe as a lottery winner:)  Think you need to definitely look as close to your area as possible as it could be very different than anyone else's story.