BYOD 1) wording on website comes across as misleading 2) New phones beta testing?

byop

#1

“Bring your own phone” in the Phones section would make sense if one could bring a phone that is different than those available, but one basically can bring their own only provided it’s one of the model sold by RW.

“Don’t see you favorite phone? Bring your own phone” should read instead “Already have one of these phones? Get just the SIM Kit”. I am not being sarcastic, it’s genuine feedback.

More then one friend to whom I referred RW service, complained about how misleading it was (and comes to think of it they are not actually wrong) and that they couldn’t bring their own preferred phone.

Several of them didn’t understand what could possibly be so technologically incompatible that they could not bring unlocked phones they had some of which had the same specs or better (more RAM, and faster CPUs). I don’t have those answer so I could only apologize for referring them to RW that a few of them told me was a let down and a bit of a waste or time… I guess they were upset because they love the plan but they would only come on board if they can keep their phones (and these aren’t picky people or users who se the iPhone as the only viable choice :smiley:

On that note, after chatting with Jessica D. I wrote about an idea which might work and which she suggested I’d share here.

In short RW should allow users who would be willing to be beta testers for a given phone to let themselves be used as “guinea pigs” so that a given phone could be deployed and used to gather real life data on reliability and compatibility, offloading some of the work of the dev team while widening the brand/models of devices tested and speeding up the process which would lead to certify their compatibility with the RW service.
Of course users should be aware they might experience issues like dropped or unclear calls, spotty service, missed texts and so on, but that’s the whole point of being a willing beta tester for the sake of trying to get a device added to the offering grid… joining forces of those who wouldn’t mind to take parte into such program would be beneficial to both RW and its expanding user base.

Hope the above made sense :wink: :smile: :wave: :+1::crossed_fingers:


#2

I know you have the “basically” qualifier, but not exactly correct. For instance, Republic has never sold the Galaxy S8+, S9, Note 8, Nexus 6, Moto Z2 Play, Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, or Pixel 2 XL and all those are eligible for BYOD.

This was recently discussed in detail here: Essential Phone PH-1 from Andy Rubin and here Suggestion: Republic Lab for unsupported phones


#3

Hi @sfnyc,

Thanks for the feedback and suggestion. As @louisdi points out, we do support several phones we’ve either never sold or no longer sell, but to your point, we can’t take every phone under the sun.

For the most part, we don’t need Beta testers to know that other phones are not compatible with our service. While we can’t publish a list of phones that are not compatible, the fact that we don’t support a phone doesn’t always mean we simply haven’t been able to test it yet.

We’ll definitely keep your suggestion in mind. We know there are enthusiastic, technically-minded people out there who are always willing to Beta test.


#4

this idea was discussed recently here (within the last month)

one must realize that Republic is not like other carriers or MVNOs, as a hybrid WiFi 1st VOIP with Cell backup provider Republic still needs to interface with APIs in the phone and have expected behavior from both Hardware and Software of these phones (some OEMs modify the OS and even some carrier branded phones change the base built to optimize it for their networks, this is why there are no carrier branded models or international branded models on Republic’s BYOD list) )
Republic also needs to have a relationship with the OEM also 1 to work with to make sure the initial Release of the North American Factory Unlock model has no conflicts with the Republic apps and service and also to make sure when the phones get updates these updates do not break the phone (or if they do republic can work with OEM to fix it)


#5

Seeing that there is a desire for using a wider range of phones, it seems like brain storming ways to meet those desires would better than explaining why it simply can’t be done. My experience tells me that very few things can’t be done. While many things may not be worth doing, good progress on solving problems can be made by trying to address things that people want even if it is with a totally different solution.

The response to various threads by people listed as ambassadors come across as idea killers and not as people working as a bridge between users and RW. Maybe I don’t understand what a RW ambassador is supposed to be doing.


#7

Here’s an overview of the Ambassador program:


#8

Thanks for the link. While I did not know the details, that link does show me that my expectations of the ambassadors was not all that far off. It seems like we can be having more productive conversations than we have been having.


#9

The issue is that this issue has been hashed, rehashed, and then hashed some more since the day Republic was founded. Republic has come a long way from a single beta phone to a few available phones that couldn’t even be reactivated, to a much larger selection of phones that even have BYOP options.

Republic is aware of the desire for more Android phones, for iPhones, and even other operating systems. They also understand their business, their technology, their ability to provide support, their ability to engineer, their priorities, etc. Rest assured, if they find ways to expand their business that can be profitable, supportable to the quality that they want to have in the marketplace, they will.

Until then, reminding them that this is desired is absolutely acceptable. Expecting that the issue will be discussed in detail, less than 30 days after it was already discussed may not be reasonable.


#10

Thank you. That was a much more informative answer than the ones that were hashed out a month ago. Knowing that RW is working toward that goal is something that needs to be communicated. The ideas being offered are ways to help them get there. Maybe an official statement about what needs to work for a phone to be supported would be helpful. That’s something that an enthusiastic customer could take to their favorite phone vendor and ask if they do this and if not why not.

I for one, do understand that they need to stay profitable. I really want them to as I like the company and want to continue using them. Many of my friends are getting to the point of rolling their eyes when I mention RW (at least the ones that have not become customers) as I advocate their services all the time.


#11

This is by no means an official statement. Similar to Google’s Project Fi, Republic blends multiple telephone networks. Unlike, Project Fi, one of those networks isn’t cellular. Republic blends the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) network of its former parent company Bandwidth.com with one of two cellular partners. VoIP is the technology powering Republic’s WiFi calling and text messaging. The blending of networks is managed by the Republic Wireless app. Because of this unique blending (sufficiently unique to be patented), a particular phone’s hardware compatibility with one or both of Republic’s cellular partners is not (in and of itself) sufficient to render a phone compatible with Republic’s service.

To provide its members the quality of service Republic desires, the Republic Wireless app must be tested as working as intended on any phone Republic might choose to support. I (and many others who frequent this Community) are geeks. The geek in me very much likes the concept of members helping to test new phones Republic might not otherwise have the resources to expend on. The realist in me has learned to appreciate businesses can’t always do as the geek in me would like. Even a theoretical beta program as you suggest would require Republic to expend resources it may not be able to spare.

If one analyzes the phones Republic sells and supports, it’s not so much of a mystery. Several Samsung phones are among those supported. Samsung is far and away the leading brand in terms of Android phones sold in the market. Republic has a long working history with Motorola, thus that many Motorola phones are supported is not terribly surprising. Google phones (Pixel and Nexii) run (in theory) the purest form of Android in existence, so support is easier than another manufacturer’s variant. I believe only two supported phones (the Alcatel A30 and Huawei Ascend 5W) have been something other than a Samsung, Google or Motorola phone. It’s worth noting the Ascend has a not insignificant software bug that disallows WiFi calling in the absence of cell signal. A fix would require an operating system update from Huawei. To date, that update has not been forthcoming. Therefore, I find Republic’s desire to reduce the potential need to rely on such an update by closely vetting phones prior to supporting them to be reasonable under the circumstances.


#12

Understanding that it is not official, that sounds like a good start to the list

Stock Android (6 or greater?)
Supports T-Moble sim
??? Seems this should be a longer list.

It is also interesting to note that the “not insignificant software bug” would most likely have been caught by the lab I suggested and that phone would not currently be a supported phone.


#13

You might think that, but it wasn’t caught in the beta that Republic did do.


#14

I supposes if we had a column that listed the specific model number for each offering, BYOD or otherwise, this would be a good place for a prospective customer to start shipping.


#15

I’m not sure it adds much value. Given that a phone can be in the store for a while and then transition to BYOP, what does having such a column really tell you?


#16

If I’m using the table to select a phone and discover that the S7 fits my needs, it tells me only one of several versions of the S7 will work.


#17

That is heart-breaking to me, as that was my goal as an Ambassador. The whole idea was to ‘span’ that gap, and not be an “idea-killer” at all…

:frowning_face:


#18

Possibly even more useful would be a note on the specific models that don’t work stating the problem. This would help refine a list of what is needed to be supported.

To be a little more specific, I’m not suggesting that every phone made be listed with why it is not supported, just particular models that are already supported, but a particular version of that model that is a problem, list the problem.


#19

Hmm… Frustrating. I wonder if a particular phone making it to beta causes a push to get it out of beta as quickly as possible. (I know that’s how it would work around here…). If a bunch of phones were in a lab, it would seem that the pressure to release them as supported might be reduced. Possibly giving them a longer time to find issues.


#20

Supported phones is the location for that information. I don’t think the table can handle another column.


#21

This is in so many other places, including documents and the BYOP page itself. I don’t think it adds value in the chart and the chart is already getting very wide.