Removing Republic verified WiFi Hotspots

In April, we introduced Republic verified WiFi Hotspots for our My Choice Plan members. We wanted to raise the standard of our members’ WiFi experience with seamless access to over 30 million hotspots nationwide, so we worked with a partner that provides software and access to this network of hotspots to make it happen.

Once we made this new feature available to our members, we found that in practice, it didn’t meet our standards for quality and reliability. Because of these findings, we can’t provide this feature to our members in good conscience and will not be offering it moving forward.

The Republic verified WiFi Hotspot feature has only been enabled by roughly 9% of our members, so the majority of those on  My Choice plans won’t notice any difference in service. Moving forward, an upcoming app update (version 3.21.1.1) will remove the toggle switch for the feature from the settings menu within the Republic Wireless app.

For those members who have enabled and are using the feature, the same app update will remove the Republic verified WiFi Hotspot functionality in addition to removing the toggle switch. The app update will roll out starting next week. Beyond updating your Republic Wireless app, you won’t have to take any action.

We don’t like removing existing features. Our biggest concern is always to protect your member experience, balancing new features with reliability and quality of service. In this case, while the decision was difficult to make, we know it was the right call. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to post here; we’re happy to answer.

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Notable Replies

  1. I like the feature and am having no problems with it.
    Can it be left in with a warning that YMMV and use at your own risk?
    Or put it under an Experimental tab?
    Some way to keep it for those users that would like to continue to use it?

  2. Pure speculation on my part, however, I’d guess continuing a partnership enabled by 9% of one’s customers and that is otherwise problematical wouldn’t make business sense.

  3. Very sorry to see this feature disappear. I’ve been amazed that my phone was suddenly working on Wi-fi without intervention in several airports, a hospital, and at restaurant chains–a true Wi-Fi-First innovation.

  4. Popwifi from Devicescape may be an alternative for some who liked this feature. I found it to be an annoying little app, but it did automatically connect to Devicescape’s curated Wi-Fi spots. It was annoying enough that I no longer use it, however.

  5. It’s been a couple years since I used it, but when you would connect, it would throw a notification with ads, a message board, etc… letting you know about the place you connected to. It may act differently now.

    There’s even a Republic Help article for Popwifi for the old Defy XT:

  6. Unfortunately we’re shutting off access entirely in the next week or so - meaning access to the Republic verified WiFi Hotspots will cease when you’re out and about. Our recommendation is to update your Republic Wireless app when prompted by the Google Play Store.

  7. This is a shame. Its been working quite well for me and my mother. Greatly saves u using data while sopping around as we never take the time to manually search and connect to a stores wifi hotspot.

  8. If only 9% enabled the service obviously a lower % were actually using it due to limited availability. It seems like a small number of members to base the quick decision on.

    :flight_departure:

  9. Any way of at least extending it to a 6 month trial period and see how it goes?

  10. I noticed that this feature was auto connecting me to wifi hotspots around my apartment complex, including a guest wifi I did not know existed that my building has in certain public areas that does not show up as a open network. Only because of this feature can I connect to them and it auto authenticates. So, I have been able to enjoy wifi connectivity throughout my entire complex. When I disable the R.W setting, I get nothing and am stuck on low cell signal. The Google version of this does not do anything. R.W’s feature was far more useful.

  11. Did anybody do a study of the problems and see how they compared by phone model? Perhaps some phones are more or less problematic.

  12. My experience was exactly the same at Starbucks. I also faced the same issue at some other public wifi hotspots as well (Applebee’s comes to mind). The wifi would connect and disconnect quickly in a never ending loop, and it was super annoying to say the least. After disabling the auto connect feature in the RW app settings, I would have no problems in manually connecting to the public wifi hotspot. I got fed up to the point that I just turned off the feature in the RW app settings permanently.

    When the RW app got updated to the latest version on my phone, I noticed the feature was no longer an option in the app settings. I thought I was losing my mind until I saw this blog post which helped reaffirm my sanity.

    I do empathize with the users for whom this feature worked well and as intended. It’s never fun to lose a working functionality that you actually like or even depend on. However, I also understand why RW made the difficult decision that they did. From a customer service and PR perspective, it’s simply bad practice to deploy a new feature with an inconsistent success record. I know I’m not the only one who couldn’t get it to work

    This is the workaround that I use (that works well for me):
    Android OS > Settings > Type “wifi” in the Search box > Tap on “Wi-Fi preferences” in the Search results > “Open network notification” > Toggle ON

    What this setting does is it gives you a notification banner anytime your phone detects an open wifi hotspot when you’re out and about in public. You can then manually connect to the hotspot if interested. Yes it’s one extra step to manually connect, instead of a seamless auto-connect, but you still get the benefit of not having to manually scan for open hotspots. I find it quite useful to be auto notified of an open hotspot, which then allows me to manually connect to it in all of 2 seconds tops (unless you’re required to enter a junk email address - but this has been rare in my case). Of course, ymmv.

    Phone: Pixel 2 (non-XL) by Google
    OS: Android 9 Pie (although I had the same issue with Android 8 Oreo)

  13. Well, now that Google has implemented a limit to wifi scanning…making all wifi scanning and diagnostic apps useless now. Because u are only allowed to scan 4 times within 2 minutes if app is in foreground, and 1 scan per 30min if background app. Makes these open hotspot detect apps/services not effective at all.

  14. Count me in, among the users who found that this added great value to my service. I am not happy to see it go. I hope there are other alternatives to increase automatic wi-fi availability.

  15. Yes and no. The very recent Republic verified hotspot feature has been removed, however, Republic activated phones (all smartphones for that matter) will still connect to WiFi hotspots. One typically needs to accept the WiFi’s owners terms and conditions.

    I do see you’ve very recently joined the Community and perhaps Republic itself and am sorry the feature that attracted you has been removed.

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