Republic Wireless declared their "beta" period over in late 2013 with the introduction of the Moto X phone. Nonetheless, well into 2016 a number of "beta" issues remain, including phone and service glitches, intermittent outages, and absent features that are commonly found at other carriers. This page can help you determine, before you commit funds and time or leave your current provider, whether you will be happy with Republic's service.
Trial Period and Refunds
- New phones have a trial period with a money-back guarantee. New lines of service started prior to July 28, 2016 have a 30-day money-back guarantee that refunds the first month's plan cost; after that date the trial period becomes 14 days. The trial periods reduce the risk of trying out phones and service, but only if your testing is thorough. Check for good coverage in as many places as possible and exercise all of the phone features you depend on having before the trial period expires.
- Phones purchased in the Republic online store prior to July 28, 2016 have a 30-day trial period. After that date the trial period changes to 14 days. Republic pays return shipping but deducts the original shipping amount from the refund. Republic's refund may be further reduced per this list of damage charges.
- Phones sold by Amazon.com have a 30-day trial period, with return shipping cost deducted from your refund.
- Phones sold directly by Motorola have a 14 day trial period, with return shipping paid by the customer.
(NOTE: At this time Motorola is not selling any new phones for use with Republic.)
- Avoid the pitfall of transferring a phone number from another carrier to Republic before knowing that the phone and service will be acceptable. If you determine after your number has transferred that the phone or service isn't satisfactory, starting or restarting service with another carrier and transferring your number to that carrier may be more trouble than you expect.
Unique Phones Required
- Only phones originally sold for use with Republic may be used on the service.
- Unlocked phones and phones that have been used with other carriers can't be used.
- Republic's phones can't be activated on other carriers' service. See Are Republic phones locked or unlocked? in the FAQ section of Republic's phones document for more on this limitation.
- See this comparison chart to understand the strengths and limitations of the various models.
Internet Access Needed
- Republic's business model is based on on leveraging the Internet, particularly Wi-Fi access to the Internet, to reduce the monthly cost of phone service. While there's no ongoing requirement for phones to use Wi-Fi, phones newer than the beta model can only be activated over a Wi-Fi connection, and account management requires online access.
- Households that depend on their Republic phone's cellullar data to go online may be inconvenienced when the phone isn't working. It will be necessary to find Internet access elsewhere to ask for help, view troubleshooting information, and conduct phone diagnostics or repairs. See Customer Support for more details.
- A Republic phone without a data plan for Internet access in a household with no other Internet access is not a viable scenario unless a trusted neighbor, friend, or relative is able to assist with the management and support of that household's Republic phone(s).
Monthly Service Plans
- The Republic Refund plans (a.k.a. Republic 2.0) provide limited amounts of either 3G or 4G data at a fixed price per GB, and at the end of the billing month issue a refund for unused data before charging for the next month's allotment of data.
- Compared to the classic unlimited plans (a.k.a. Republic 1.0 ) that began in November 2013, this new pricing model favors those who use less than 1 GB on the 3G plan or less than 2 GB on the 4G plan.
- New customers who may use high amounts of data and can't move enough of their data traffic to WI-Fi would do well to compare total monthly cost with other providers.
- Those who were customers before July 6, 2015 can switch to the Republic 2.0 plans, or continue with their Republic 1.0 plans for the time being. A cutoff date for the grandfathering of the Republic 1.0 plans had been stated, but lately Republic has walked that back.
- Buyers of phones in Republic's store can't choose the Wi-Fi only plan for their first month of service, and cannot immediately change plans to the Wi-Fi only service - the change is delayed until the next billing cycle.
- Republic's technology that automatically uses either Wi-Fi or cell service for calls is still being improved and debugged. When it doesn't work properly, finding the solution can require technical skill and patience. Sometimes upgrading or replacing home Wi-Fi equipment is the easiest solution.
- At a school or business, Wi-Fi calls may not work without help from those who manage the network. If the required network firewall changes can't be made, the phone won't be usable for Wi-Fi calling there.
- Technology challenges are blamed for the inability to add pauses or waits into a phone number, and for Wi-Fi calls' lack of privacy (no encryption for VoIP traffic).
- Republic's phone numbers cannot receive collect calls, and are not considered mobile numbers by other carriers who allow free mobile-to-mobile minutes.
- Republic's cell service is provided by Sprint, whose latest service quality rating can be seen in JD Power's 2016 U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study.
- Check out the Sprint coverage map to see the estimated coverage in your area and whether a location has native Sprint or roaming coverage.
- Roaming users have unlimited voice minutes and texts (SMS and MMS) but may find roaming areas less reliable than native Sprint areas, with the potential for missed incoming calls, lost texts, and lack of data service.
- Under the Republic Refund plans, roaming data costs almost $275 per GB, which means roaming users who need more than slight amounts of cellular data will need some other data solution.
- Some roaming users have reported complete loss of service that went unsolved for several months.
- Picture messaging and group texts (MMS) lack support for some carriers and require use of the built-in Messaging app or Google Messenger app.
- Picture and group texts may not send or be received when a phone is connected to Wi-Fi with restrictions on outbound Internet traffic. Schools and businesses are more likely to have outbound restrictions on their Wi-Fi.
- Texts to or from 5 or 6 digit "short code" numbers may not succeed because the short code service provider doesn't recognize Republic's phone numbers as capable of receiving those texts.
- Sending short code texts fails when an attachment or picture is included, or when a purchase or donation is the purpose.
- Republic accepts E-mails that are delivered as texts to their post-beta phones, but the E-mail's subject line isn't placed in the text, and replies can't be sent to these texts.
- Republic may not yet appear as a supported carrier for online services that send texts.
International Calling and Cell Service
- Republic's service supports voice calls using Wi-Fi anywhere in the world, but outbound calls are limited to the U.S. and Canada regardless of location.
- Calls to other countries require the use of a calling card or third party paid service. For more on third party services, see Adding International Calling to Your Republic Phone.
- Cell service is not available outside of the U.S., not even as an option, and SIMs from carriers in other countries cannot be used (see Unique Phones Required above).
- International travelers must move to the Wi-Fi only plan to insure delivery of texts over Wi-Fi in other countries. For those on the Republic Refund plans, that plan change is not effective until the start of the billing month, meaning that travelers may miss incoming text messages while outside the country.
- Republic's phones have a fixed ring time until the transfer to voicemail. It is not possible to extend the ringtime or turn off the voicemail transfer.
- Customers who haven't established a voicemail password cannot listen to voicemail when their phone is lost or damaged.
- New voicemail messages may not appear when a phone is connected to Wi-Fi with restrictions on outbound Internet traffic. Schools and businesses are more likely to have outbound restrictions on their Wi-Fi.
- When listening to voicemail by making a phone call into the system, message timestamps are reported in Eastern time, and this cannot be changed. Message timestamps are shown in local time when using the on-phone visual voicemail.
- Voicemail improvements promised in 2013, including notifications and transcriptions, have apparently been de-prioritized, receiving no mention in any Product Recap since.
- Potential customers should check in advance to see if they can keep their existing number because Republic cannot transfer in numbers from all areas.
- Those wanting a new number may not be able to get one in their local calling area, and new numbers are rarely available in the entire state of Washington (see this workaround for another way to get a local number).
- Republic phone numbers are classified as landlines or VOIP numbers, which often increases the time to transfer the number to another carrier, and a few carriers or services will not accept landline numbers.
- Phones on a cell service plan have a second phone number that's used in the background, and that number may receive unwanted calls and texts for its prior owner. 911 call centers will see the second phone number when emergency calls use cell service.
Billing and Payments
- Monthly service is billed at the start of the account's fiscal month and may only be paid via automatic charge to the credit or debit card on file with the account. Direct debit via ACH transfer or paying by check is not possible.
- An account may contain only one payment card which is used to pay for all phones on that account.
- Republic only accepts payment cards issued by Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.
- The payment card must have a billing address in the United States.
- A debit card may be used if the card accepts recurring charges. Reloadable or gift cards may not allow recurring charges.
- The monthly billing date cannot be changed.
- It is not possible to temporarily suspend service and billing for a phone line.
- Republic has no stores nor service centers where you can take a phone to be repaired or replaced.
- There are no phone numbers to call for live assistance. Support requests may be initiated via the company's website and online chat is available weekdays from 9 AM to 9 PM Eastern. E-mail, Twitter, and snail mail may also be used to request help.
- Responses to support requests are sent via E-mail and can also be accessed online.
- Many phone problems can't be solved remotely by support personnel, but often can be solved without replacing the phone. The problem solving process depends on you accurately describing symptoms and providing information requested, and carefully following the repair instructions provided.
- New phones purchased directly from Republic include a 30-day Republic warranty. After that, the remainder of the new-phone warranty is provided by the phone manufacturer, and you may be asked to work directly with the manufacturer on your warranty claim.
- If a phone needs to be replaced quickly, the only option for many is expensive next-day-air delivery. Replacement phones may also be purchased from retail kiosk locations. A third option is to obtain a spare Republic phone which can be quickly activated to take over for another phone in an emergency.
- For issues that don't need Republic's direct involvement, you may post in the online Community forums and receive answers from other Republic members (all volunteers). The forums are overseen and lightly moderated by a few Republic personnel.
- The Republic community has a mobile version designed for phone browsers, but that interface lacks functionality compared to the desktop experience.
- Phone browsers other than Chrome don't work very well with the community in desktop mode.
- The Account and Support portals do not have a mobile version.
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Last updated: 22:04, July 22, 2016 (UTC)