Anyone else interested in Republic supporting the Fairphone?

Fairphone is designed to be long lasting and user repairable. The materials acquisition is meant to be fair and ethical. Their second phone was released in 2015, so they are due for an update, but they raised a million Euro of crowd-investment in a few days and are updating their hardware and expanding their reach. They are in central Europe, but I wonder if the goals of the project overlap with the Republic community and if we could be a means for the Fairphone to come to the US? Now that Republic has GSM, it shouldn’t be technically hard as far as I know.

https://www.fairphone.com/en/

What do you think?

1 Like

First, the Fairphone / Fairphone 2 simply fails the technical tests. It isn’t marketed towards the US and doesn’t have the necessary LTE bands to pass the network compatibility test. To quote their site: “When it comes to the United States , 4G(LTE) won’t work. But all other network interfaces will - like 3G data connection, as fast as the networks go. This means that you will have a well functioning internet connection. Although you won’t be able to access the latest network potential.” Given that Republic’s GSM partner’s network is built around LTE (and in many areas has LTE only), it would be a terrible experience.

In addition, even if it passed that test, supporting a phone is more than high level technical compatibility. Every phone that is supported puts an additional burden on Republic support for processes, documentation, etc. Because of this, Republic has largely concentrated on phones with sufficient demand to justify these efforts. Far more popular phones, don’t make that threshold. There’s no chance a phone not made for the US, that doesn’t support the needed LTE bands, and with little to no sales demand will be carried.

1 Like

Is it worth considering now with the Fairphone 3? If not, republic could provide something similar for US. It is in line with their ethos. Maybe their own line of phones.

The Fairphone 3 remains a Europe only device that isn’t sold in the US (and one could argue based on sales volumes isn’t really sold in Europe either) and doesn’t have the US LTE bands needed to make it work well here.

Only if you’re rooting for Republic to be out of business really soon.

1 Like

Seems like the version 3 has a more applicable antenna:

When it comes to the United States , 4G(LTE) will not always work (see the 4G / LTE bands listed below to verify with your provider).

FP3 Network specifications

In case you need it for your specific situation, the network specifications for the Fairphone 3:

  • Configuration Dual-SIM, Dual-Standby (DSDS)
  • SIM Sockets 2 x Nano-SIM (4FF)
  • Network Technology 2G / 3G / 4G LTE - Advanced
  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE Quad-band: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
  • UMTS: Band 1 (2100 MHz); Band 2 (900 MHz); Band 5 (850MHz); Band 8 (900 MHz)
  • 3G Max Downlink Speed - 42 Mbps
  • 3G Max Uplink - 11 Mbps
  • 4G / LTE Advanced Band 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 13 / 20 / 26
  • 4G Max Downlink Speed - 300 Mbps
  • 4G Max Uplink Speed - 75 Mbps

I suspect a lot of US phones would have a similar warning (“won’t always work”) since we have an unusual situation of several different networks and phones that only work on one of them, but we know that and expect that, so they don’t have warnings.

I’ll probably replace my phone in a couple of years and am excited about different options coming out like the PinePhone and Librem 5. Republic too, is making progress with BYOD. So maybe in two years, I could get something like these free and open source phones and stay on Republic.

To have reasonable coverage with the GSM network you need LTE Bands: 2, 4, 5, 12 & 66 (add B71 for the best possible coverage). As this isn’t baseball 50% is terrible and would put you back to about the equivalent of the network T-Mobile had in 2014 (actually slightly worse without B66).

As the phone isn’t CDMA capable there’s no reason to even talk about Sprint coverage…

I’m definitely interested but as @louisdi has pointed out it’s a tough sell. I’d love to get a sony, throw sailfish on it, and get a little privacy back but that isn’t going to be supported here. Not yet. Maybe one day. It’s something to throw in the idea pit.

I woudn’t mind seeing support for the Pinephone either. Looks like the chipset supports all but the 66 band mentioned above. It has sprint certification and is pending T-Mobile. Here’s the mobile radio specs.

1 Like

Nice to see options being developed. Now to get carriers on board with privacy and other such matters

No, not interested.

I just looked this up…thinking it was a device alike to the Pine phone that is for developers only…

How is this even on the radar here, on the website for this deice, it is UK only thing.
“Made with care for people and planet.”
Fairphone3
So, its a device made with mostly recycled material or something?
It also has older midrange hardware.
The buttons are on the wrong side.
Only slight appeal is its “modular” design which makes repairing it easier, however, good luck finding a place in the USA that would support that, if u have to inport the parts from the UK.
Maybe if/when it gets local USA store and distribution, it may be a niche thing, but until then, I don’t see any appeal for this phone.
I actually found Essential Phone far more appealing and desired…but that failed.

“user repairable” and modern affordable electronics are really not something that coexists in any practical way. Can a phone be made where we can add a SIM card to expand memory and or change a battery? Sure…

Should it be made so that joe-bag-of-donuts can replace a keyboard or a screen, or replace a USB connector? That’s really not practical or sustainable especially when the costs for such features, the size needed and the fallout from “Joe” mucking around the innards of delicate modern SMT assemblies are factored in.

I LIKE fixing electronics, but since the decline of the tube era, the practicality of that has been on a rapidly downhill slope.

I have taken a part and replaced parts on some older phone I owned, a LG G3, V10, that has screws and snap apart type design and build.

But yea, in todays edge to edge, water proof, super slim and thin all glass phones…forget trying to take those apart and repair them practically. U need to be a delicate and steady as a brain surgeon. I know some good folks that do so every day though, but i do not think the phone would ever be as good as straight from the factory after such a repair.

Average consumer, do not have time or want to take the effort to put their phone into the repair shop, as if alike to having their car in the shop. That what things like Apple care is for, where u break it, u walk into store, file claim, get new phone on spot. fast, simple, practical

Message an
Expert customer