July: What’s New and What’s in the Works

On July 28th we launched our Clear Choice plans on a new GSM carrier, available across nine awesome new devices.  We’d been working and you had been waiting for that event to occur for so long!  It’s great to finally have available for everyone!  We also launched our bring-your-own-phone (BYOP) program on Aug 11th which was another huge moment, albeit slightly later than we hoped.

So, what’s next on our roadmap?  In terms of what either is or could become a big project we’re (1) internally testing a new product that’s going to expand your voice and text services across multiple devices and (2) we’re investigating bringing Clear Choice plans and new devices to our CDMA network and (3) getting ready for supporting Android™ 7.0 Nougat on our Republic 3.0 devices.

 In fact, as of writing this post, we’re announcing support for Android™ 7.0 Nougat on our Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P devices!

Plus we’re doing some internal housekeeping and pursuing smaller but important features like Cricket MMS and customer portal upgrades.

Finally, we have exciting news about the Android™ Lollipop update on our Moto E (1st Gen.) devices.  It’s ready!  We started rolling it out to a limited set of devices on August 22nd and the full rollout will begin on August 30th.  If you have one of these devices check your email for an update and visit here for additional context.  We are also now working on a security patch for the Stagefright issue on the Moto X (2nd Gen) devices.

In-Progress Items to Improve your Experience:

(due to the more complex nature of these items, no official timing is set nor is delivery guaranteed, but they are being worked on regularly):

Smaller Scope Items:

  • MMS Interoperability with Cricket
  • Customer Portal Improvements
  • New Payment Options
  • Samsung J3 Black device
  • New BYOP devices
  • Stagefright fix for Moto X (2nd Gen.)

Larger Scope Items:

  • Multi-Device Experience
  • Investigating Republic 3.0 on CDMA
  • Republic 3.0 Compatibility with Android™ 7.0 Nougat (device by device basis)
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14 thoughts on “July: What’s New and What’s in the Works”

  1. i’m LOVING the new GSM service on 3.0!

    the difference is significant. “3G data” on GSM is consistently fast and reliable while supporting voice and data at the same time (think Google Maps working properly, rerouting and all, while on the phone asking someone for verbal directions… something you just can’t do on a CDMA network).

    i switched away from GSM when i joined Republic so many years ago. it was a compromise i made in exchange for low cost service and hybrid (wifi) calling. as of RW 3.0 i no longer have to compromise – this is the service i always wanted Republic to be 🙂

    (Republic Community Ambassador)

    1. Wow! Thanks Bit, that’s a huge compliment especially coming from someone as savvy as you! We’re so glad you’ve been on this journey with us for so long. 🙂

    2. That is actually not entirely true. GSM is great in urban areas, but in smaller towns CDMA tends to be the better service. For instance, in my hometown (of 75K people) Verizon and Sprint (both CDMA) are considerably better than AT&T or T-Mobile (both GSM). Everybody that I have known that has brought a gsm phone here, has had to switch to Verizon or Sprint so that they have service. Another friend of mine just bought a new Republic Wireless 3.0 phone not realizing that they switched over to GSM. He now is contemplating leaving RW entirely because he can’t afford to buy a new phone at RW and can’t get service.

      1. comparing GSM versus CDMA as technologies will generally result in GSM winning. with identical coverage metrics (same signal strengths, distance to tower, and ‘generation’ aka 2G/3G/4G ) GSM will always beat CDMA.

        there are, no doubt, regions where GSM coverage is inferior to CDMA coverage. i don’t contest that. there are likewise plenty of regions where GSM coverage is better than CDMA coverage. neither of these facts are useful when comparing the tech itself. for example, one might argue that GAS engines are better or worse than DIESEL engines… but the number of gas or diesel gas STATIONS isn’t a meaningful part of that debate. a lack of one or the other would ABSOLUTELY make one option non-viable for some particular location… but it means nothing for other locations.

        for example: you mention a “small” hometown of 75k residents and suggest that CDMA is better for such areas. that’s not an implicit artifact of CDMA though. my hometown is under 7k residents and yet CDMA is generally worthless there. even my current town of ~12k is better on GSM than CDMA. this is simply due to the lack of adequate coverage – regardless of whether CDMA or GSM is the network which doesn’t’ have enough towers for you.

        to directly compare GSM to CDMA you need to consider regions where coverage is substantially similar. in such regions here is your basic comparison:
        [metric] : [CDMA vs GSM]
        2G data speeds : [similarly poor on both networks]

        3G data speeds : [CDMA has max theoretical limit of 3.1Mbps; GSM has max theoretical limit over 300Mbps; commonly 10-50x faster on GSM networks]

        4G data speeds : [similarly good on both networks; interestingly 4G aka LTE is actually an evolution of GSM tech alone]

        3G data+voice : [CDMA drops data connections on a voice call by design; GSM carries on voice and data simultaneously]

        4G voice : [RW’s CDMA partner does not support VoLTE yet, so all voice calls drop to 2G/3G; the GSM partner DOES support VoLTE so voice calls are fine on 4G]

        4G data+voice : [the CDMA partner doesn’t do 4G voice and it’s 3G voice can’t support simultaneous data; the GSM partner provides simultaneous data+voice on LTE just fine]

        Power part 1 : [CDMA networks require 2 separate radios, one for CDMA and one for LTE; GSM uses only one radio for GSM and LTE (since LTE is just part of the GSM core tech); half as many radios draw less power so battery life is better]

        Power part 2 : [CDMA enables multiple phones within a cell by overlapping their signals in a special pattern called a CHIP, this results in each phone generating interference from the view of all other phones; CDMA phones therefore have a scalable transmit power amplifier which draws EXTRA power as more CDMA devices connect to the same tower; GSM does not suffer this design flaw since it uses time division multiplexing which means the phones don’t interfere with each other and they don’t need to increase transmit power to compensate]

        Holding on to 4G : [CDMA phones require the CDMA radio to be active for voice traffic, so to save power they often shut down the LTE radio, even when you are using data. this causes the data connection to drop from 4G to 2G/3G even in strong LTE coverage areas; GSM phones don’t have this implicit flaw and so hold on to LTE much more consistently]

        Coverage consistency : [due to CDMA phones scaling their transmit power up and down the effective coverage area increases. simultaneously due to all other CDMA devices generating noise in your phone’s spectrum the number of other phones and the current behavior, including their transmit radio output power, will affect your effective coverage. together this causes CDMA coverage areas to “breath”, constantly growing and shrinking in a non-predictable manner; GSM doesn’t suffer either of these flaws and so GSM coverage is generally static – if it works well in a particular place today it will likely work well in the same place tomorrow]

        This is not an exhaustive list. Suffice it to say that GSM is a considerable upgrade for anyone who would have similar coverage as they had on CDMA. it is so much better that i would eagerly accept somewhat worse coverage on GSM over CDMA.

        clearly, though, if GSM coverage is so poor as to render GSM unusable in some particular area then GSM is simply not fit for use there. the same applies to poor CDMA coverage, for example in my hometown.

        1. Not true at all. GSM carriers simply don’t invest in my area because Verizon and Sprint have so heavily saturated the market and make it too expensive to use their towers for competitors. I know this for a fact since I used to work for Alltel before they were bought by Verizon. Verizon makes it a habit to charge way more for the use of their towers than most any other carrier. Try asking RW. They will tell you that is the very reason that they don’t have an agreement with VZW.

          1. “not true at all”?
            i’m not sure what you’re trying to claim is untrue about my comment, but nothing you’ve stated here refutes my claims.

            you have described a situation where GSM carriers don’t have any coverage (it doesn’t matter the reason). My entire point is based on comparing the two techs on equal grounds (where they have SIMILAR coverage). every point i made remains valid and unchallenged by your comment, despite your initial summary that my post was “not true at all”.

            i’m really not sure what you are trying to get at here. if you think there is something factually inaccurate about my comment then please specifically call it out. otherwise, sure, as already stated i agree that there exist regions where GSM coverage is so poor as to make it unusable. the same is true of CDMA in other regions. these two facts are useless, however, when comparing the relative merits of the tech.

            put another way, if you took a region with ZERO coverage from ANY cell carrier and had the option to press just one of two buttons: one covers the region in high quality GSM and the other in high quality CDMA… my point is that you (anyone) should always press the GSM button. for all the reasons called out in my prior comments GSM is simply superior to CDMA. if you’d rather push the CDMA button then i simply don’t understand why and would love for you to share your rationale. existing coverage (or lack thereof) in some region plays zero role in this comparison.

          2. You have missed Matthew’s point. I don’t believe he is comparing the specs of GSM and CDMA. I live in the Midwest. GSM has poor coverage while CDMA blankets the area. The new GSM phones that RW offers are not practical here because there are simply too many “dead zones”. CDMA reaches practically everywhere out here. That’s why I hope RW does SOMETHING with CDMA out here.

          3. that may be Matthew’s point (and indeed I already suggested as much) but if so then he should surely not have began his point by “that’s not exactly true” and then “Not true at all” in response to my comments which were 100% unrelated to coverage.

            simply put, it is not I who has missed Matthew’s point, but rather Matthew who has missed mine. As summary, I commented that i’m happy with GSM because wherever it works, it works better than CDMA. Matthew responded “not true” then suggests his reason is a lack of coverage (foregoing the entire concept of “wherever it works”).

            Yes, in some places the GSM partner has poor coverage – massive coverage holes in which it simply doesn’t do the job. Likewise the CDMA partner has massive coverage holes elsewhere. My entire point, which was itself not a reply to any other person and therefore is the context of the entire set of replies to be posted under it, is that comparing the tech itself will always result in GSM being favorable over CDMA. period. that’s the tech, not the coverage in one particular town/city/county/state/country/etc. it is quite obvious that the service won’t work if you don’t have coverage and it was never my intent to claim otherwise.

            i have approximately equal coverage on GSM or CDMA (and MY experience is the root context of this comment stream, all of which are replies to my original comment). in MY experience, i am significantly happier with GSM for a specific set of reasons already laid out above.

            if suddenly both GSM and CDMA were provided in your particular area with equal coverage, i can pretty much guarantee that some (if not all) of those reasons would cause YOU to be much happier with GSM over CDMA as well.

          4. I understand the technical differences between GSM and CDMA. If both offered equal coverage here in the Midwest, I would opt for GSM. But they don’t. So it’s CDMA. In a nutshell, I believe your loquaciousness about the subject put him on the defensive. Being upfront here; I do not know the man, but reading his first statements and then your responses, I too, would have been somewhat defensive. I mean no offense. Just offering some possible insights.

  2. I left RW earlier in the year for Google Fi, while I love google fi and what it offers as far as having access to 3 different cell networks, I’m ready to come back to RW once the full details are released for the multi-device experience. That is a game changer for me, if I can respond to texts and calls from my browser and/or iPad, that is so helpful and handy!

  3. as one who T-Mobile is not a fit for I concern on the Larger Scoop “Investigating Republic 3.0 on CDMA” I would hope this would be beyond investigating and something you are going to make happen

    also MMS with Cricket has been ongoing for over a year as a minor (small scope) for some thing that was going live next week on year ago
    I’m disappointed this still has not happen

  4. Hey Guys! You’ve got a lot going on which those of us out in the hinter lands appreciate. I am a recent comer to Republic and my experience thus far is great. I have used T-Mo in the past, and still do for one reason… I have to go into Latin America from time to time and T-Mo’s North American plan fits me like a fine glove. I am not thrilled with the price compared to RW. I really love RW’s service and features and would happily change over to RW 100% were it not for the need for international service. Only a small part of my travel is covered by WIFI so no phone service on RW. Even though I don’t see anything mentioned in your pipeline for being able to offer services internationally, my deepest hope is that you ARE working on it! Much thanks for all you do, excellent service in the US!

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