What is data? Everything you need to know.

Whether you’re making calls or accessing the Internet, your smartphone uses cellular data in many ways. Just as WiFi uses radio frequencies to wirelessly transmit the Internet to your device, cellular data uses the same network provided by the cell towers to allow you to make phone calls or surf the web. And while WiFi is not available everywhere you go, cellular data is almost always available (except in very remote locations).


When transmitting cellular data, signals carrying voice, text, and digital data are transmitted via radio waves from one device to another. In the case of cellular networks, the data is transmitted through a global network of transmitters and receivers. The process breaks down like this:

  • A cellphone radios the nearest towers, saying, basically, “I’m here!” When you make a call or log on, your phone then sends a message via radio that’s picked up by the antenna array.
  • A wire or fiber optic line carries the call down to the wireless access point, connected to a multi-port switch.
  • The call, along with many others, gets routed to a backhaul, usually down to an underground wired T1 or T3 line, but sometimes back up the mast to a powerful line-of-sight wireless microwave antenna.
  • The incoming call or data comes back up through the switch to the antenna, where it then hits your phone wirelessly. If you are moving, then there’s a handoff — a new but more or less identical cell site transmits the data to your phone, once your phone checks in and says “I’m here.”
    And all of this happens instantly.


3G vs 4G

The “G” stands for generation, which means 4G is the most current generation of cell phone network coverage and speeds. 3G technology created the first networks fast enough to make smartphones practical. Before that, speeds of 1G and 2G were too slow to allow you do all the things that make smartphones great, like streaming videos, surfing the web and downloading music.

4G really allowed smartphone technology to expand. That’s because it’s much, much faster than 3G. So when you want to download a new game or stream a TV show in HD, you can do it without experiencing annoying buffering and lags.
4G is pretty much everywhere now, but if you happen to be in a place that only has 3G, your phone will automatically switch to 3G. You’ll still be able to call — but will experience Internet speeds that are somewhat slower.


LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. It’s a term used for the particular type of 4G that delivers the fastest mobile Internet experience. You’ll usually see it called 4G LTE.

Using a 4G smartphone means you can download files from the Internet up to 10 times faster than with 3G. With 4G LTE, using the web from your phone is just like using it from your home computer. For 4G LTE to work, all you need is a smartphone that’s configured to work with it.

You can find all of Republic’s 4G LTE phones here. These phones will connect automatically with the 4G LTE network where available. And when it’s not, Republic switches to WIFi for consistent coverage.


The Republic App can help you stay on top of your cell data usage. Using the app, you can track how much data you’re using. And if you hit your data limit for the month, you can simply upgrade to a plan with a higher data allotment. With our Clear Choice plans, the change will go into effect immediately and you’ll be back in business. Note: If you want to switch back to your previous plan after the upgrade you will need to perform another plan change. The downgrade will occur at your next billing date. If you’re close to your data limit and want to ensure that you use WiFi only for data, just use the app to temporarily turn cell data off.


With a Republic phone, the easiest way to use less data is to use WiFi coverage when it’s available. Unlike many phones that use WiFi primarily for non-call-related activities like texting, using the web or streaming music, Republic technology enables calls over WiFi, too. So, wherever you have WiFI, you have more options to save.

And that’s not all. Republic’s Adaptive Coverage™ technology, enabled with Bonded Calling™, actually senses the quality of your phone’s connectivity over WiFi and uses available cellular data as a backup to fill in any gaps in your conversation. The result is fewer interruptions, even if your WiFi connection fades as you move around.


Roaming refers to a connection your phone might make to an out-of-network tower when making a voice call. With Republic, you can roam domestically for free. Although we don’t offer cellular service internationally at this time, your Republic Wireless phone can place calls over WiFi from anywhere in the world to the U.S. You can also make and receive calls to and from Canadian telephone numbers without incurring international roaming or long-distance charges.


With Republic, you can get affordable phone plans that fit anyone’s price range and lifestyle. For instance, $20 will get you 1GB of data along with unlimited talk and text, which allows you to do the following:

  • Download 2,323 photos
  • Watch 2,342 minutes of cat videos
  • Read 30,234 emails during your “power lunch”
  • Make 2,343 posts on Facebook
  • Listen to 4,453 minutes of Spotify, house party!
  • Drive 5,000 miles with Google Maps
  • Surf 45,324 pages on Google Chrome
  • Talk until you run out of words
  • Text until your thumbs fall off


Republic offers a range of straightforward, affordable cell phone plans with no hidden fees or surprises. Get up to 10GB of cell data and, of course, all the WiFi data you can handle. Their patented tech automatically offloads as much as possible to WiFi when available, which saves cell data for the times you really need it.










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One thought on “What is data? Everything you need to know.”

  1. “These phones will connect automatically with the 4G LTE network where available. And when it’s not, Republic switches to WIFi for consistent coverage.” That sounds like 4G LTE is primary (default) and WiFi is secondary (plan B). Is that really the case? I always thought the opposite was true.

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