Busy Signals In Akron Ohio (216 area) 5-5-18?

My Samsung Galaxy S8+ was bought unlocked from Best Buy and the Republic Wireless SIM added a year ago. Everything has gone smoothly. I live 25 miles from Akron, Ohio in a small village that has 4G service, seldom use my phone off WIFI, have never experienced a hardware issue, reboot the phone from time to time (once a month… maybe).

Last night I drove to Akron and attended an affair brought about a thousand adults and children to a child’s ballet recital. Lots of cell phone… lots of cell phone pictures.) When I was within five miles of the theater, I attempted to phone a member of my party who carried my ticket. I got a busy signal and continued to do so every time I called until I finally met him in person. When I explained my attempts to reach him, he was puzzled, telling me the line was free and his phone was working properly, While he was standing next to me, I phoned him. Busy! … but his phone wasn’t ringing and he wasn’t using it. I tried another number. Same response; busy. No matter what number I called… it was busy. I then asked someone to call me, The call was received without a glitch so I concluded there was nothing wrong with his phone but there was clearly something wrong on my side.

When I returned home, the phone worked fine. Throughout this time, I rebooted the phone maybe twice with the same busy signal persisting.

Q1) Is it probable that whatever circuit RW was using in Akron last night was overloaded by so many people using cell phones?

Q2) If Q1 is “Yes”, please explain. If “No”… where else should I look for the root cause. I bought this puppy to be have access at all times, even though I’m a very low volume user.

There are so many reasons for this that a root cause may never be known. I suspect an issue with circuits in the area but it was not with all numbers so it could be a local carrier. The number I got busy signals on was 330 in Canton. Probably served by the same aggregate wiring center provided by the local bell. They probably had an issue with some routes.

You got a busy signal today for that exchange? I appreciate your going to that extent, seanr. That’s the exchange of the numbers I dialled yesterday. But… how what my brother - standing right next to me - able to reach me but I couldn’t reach him? His carrier is ATT which I think is one of the two carriers RW has a contract with for data connections. (I may be overreaching here). If I understand how “the system” works, assuming the WIFI carrier WAS having trouble, wouldn’t RW sense that and switch to their cell (data?) carrier for establishing a connection?

I’m trying to get comfortable with understanding how this happened so I know what options I may have.

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Actually, it’s Tmobile (GSM) and Sprint (CDMA) that are R.W.'s partner carriers.

I am not sure as to how their “Roaming” agreements extend to those carriers, as if, for example, if R.W. customers are allowed to Roam on to VZW signal for calls/texts, like normal Sprint customers can in certain areas.

I gotta say though, this is a new one to me. I have never come across a busy signal in all my 15yrs+ or so of using a cell phone to call another cell phone. If the other persons cell phone is in use, off, or not on the network, it just goes straight to VM.

If u were on wifi, then I would first suspect the wifi network u were on was either blocking Voip, or mis-configured some how. Some hotspots u get on u have to “Login” via Browser window before it actually allows Internet data to be used, but then in that case, the phone should see that and use the cell/data signal to call out.

It might just be the case that the area’s local tower was overloaded and was giving priority access to certain users and was dropping less prioritized users. Since R.W. is a MVNO, it might have slightly lower priority than a native customer to that network. I have seen this kinda thing happen at such big events, like the Super Bowl or the very large shopping mall here in my city where folks, say on, Cricket, cant get usable data speeds or call to work, but someone on ATT standing right next to them, works fine.

I>> It might just be the case that the area’s local tower was overloaded and was giving priority access to certain users and was dropping less prioritized users. Since R.W. is a MVNO, it might have slightly lower priority than a native customer to that network.<<

This is the conclusion I drew after exhausting all other areas that made sense to me at the time; mostly mechanical issues. Since I couldn’t find anything else, it left me a bit jittery; I thought …".So THAT’s the big hole in Republic Wireless. Less than prime priority in heavy traffic situations." That makes me very uncomfortable. I think I’ll take the phone back to Best Buy and speak with the Samsung rep they have stationed there. Perhaps they can point out a feature that I inadvertently turned on … or should have…that gave me these busy signals in a decent size city. Heaven forbid if I were a sports fan and went to Cleveland for sporting events that load up that downtown area. We’ll see.

Thanks for all the help. Please add on if something else comes to mind.

I was recently (two days ago) similarly surprised a couple times getting a “busy signal” when trying to make a call with my RW phone. I was in a Roaming area (solid AT&T signal, for my GSM type RW handset) but the mobile wireless worked fine for voice calls and SMS, even MMS a number of other times.

My eventual hypothesis was the “busy signal” was because my phone was confused between using the “cell” signal and the university Wifi I was near. The WiFi was being fussy about repeatedly requiring me to agree to their terms, so “connected” but not giving me Internet access.

The RW system on my phone is pretty regularly (and frustratingly) stymied in similar situations, stuck between trying to use WiFi and wireless (cell) for communication. Perhaps made even more confused in Roaming area?

I’m glad I posted here and got some input from others. Although I’m a gezer, I’m fairly computer literate with lots of landline communication experience throughout my career. But I intentionally dragged my feet on cell phones, getting my first at 74 because… well… I wasn’t travelling anymore and my whole house is one big LAN of desktops and portables.

Soooooo… this is a new environment for me and there’s a heck of a lot to grasp to understand these Smarter 'n Me phones to make sure I’m getting my money’s worth. I bought when I reached a point I thought they’d be practical for me. That point involves being able to get connected whenever in areas where connection would seem apparent. Akron, Ohio is one such place. And my hardware should be sound enough to make these decisions you described, Clint.

On the other hand - even though I now know that what I originally concluded about an overload is possible… I’m still a neophyte with this Samsung Galaxy S8+ and I may have pushed a button or brushed a screen or held my mouth the wrong way to bet these busy signals. I’ll follow through with Samsung.

Thanks all.


I have been an RW customer for a few years, going back well into their Beta stage. So am used to, and accepting of, some level of glitches. Have also used each of the other main U.S. mobile service providers, and NONE of them approach the reliability of good old Ma Bell landlines.

Again, the “busy signal” was a surprise, perhaps a first in my RW experience, and in using “cell” phones. In common with SpeedingCheeth, above, I would have expected either going to voicemail, or perhaps a more informative audible message. Input from someone more knowledgeable about where such an “error” signal might come from, the local wireless carrier (in my instance, the Roaming AT&T Wireless system) or from within the handset / handset software (RW software on my Moto G5 Plus).

Adding on a bit more: I put up with hassles early with RW and the very limited (exactly one at any time) handset choices. The last couple years the service has been just as good, and considerably less costly, than any other mobile carrier’s. And the choice of handsets now suits me just fine. My home “landline” VoIP gives me a similar frequency of hassles now, probably fewer than once a month. So jayg, if you care to use a mobile at all, RW would continue to be my suggestion.

Still, working through the various unusual (although very predictable) cases such as the RW handset being connected to a WiFi, but NOT being permitted to get through to the Internet, should be better dealt with by RW software. I have found workarounds, such as opening a different (from my primary Chrome) mobile browser to see a WiFi logon page. But I hope RW will continue to improve the robustness of their system. RW has come a long way, and in my experience now matches the Big Guys for U.S. mobile reliability. Just please get better!

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I appreciate your comments, Clint. And I agree with you about “Ma Bell”… ■■■■ rest her soul.

Snooping around in the RW software, I found in “Advanced Settings” a section on “Manage Handover”. It allows me to - I guess - receive a notice that will allow me to manually switch between WIFI and Cell for a current call. That switch was off. I just turned it on to experiment. … but then… I need to experience another crisis like Saturday,

What’s your take? Could this be a tool in such situations? If I understand what it claims to do - assuming what occurred Saturday was a failure to switch while in WIFI mode - if this switch were on, I could have:

  1. Received a notice there was trouble
  2. Physically switch from WIFI to Cell… I assume by tapping the appropriate icon at the top of my phone next to settings.
  3. Used considerably less profanity in public.

Whadaya think?

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