Can receive but not send texts, sudden change, three phones

What phone do you have?
Two phones are Defy XT, one is Nexus 6

What plan are you on?
Not sure. Unlimited talk/text, some data.
Does your plan include data, or just talk & text?
Includes data.

Issue Description

Starting suddenly around Jan 24, my wife and I have been unable to SEND texts when only connected with cell signal (i.e., no wifi). We can receive them, and can make and receive voice calls. We can send texts over wifi. We are in the Madison, Wisconsin area, and have tried from multiple locations.
We were both using Defy XTs. Around the same time, my wife’s XT touchscreen became flaky, for instance you would press one letter and get a different one when composing a text, and in “landscape” orientation, the entire middle row of letters were unobtainable. After trying a few things including a factory reset, we decided it was probably a hardware problem, so we switched her to a Nexus 6. This was BYOP, with a new Republic SIM card.
Her new phone behaves the same way – can make and receive calls on cell, can receive texts, but cannot send them. When attempting to send, the Nexus would actually report that the send failed. With the XT, it appears to send, but will never be received.

Ok, I don’t believe this, but at this very moment, I tried again to see if I could get the exact error message for you, and lo and behold, the text went through! Nexus to XT, and a reply from XT to Nexus, both off wifi, cell only. So thanks for responding to my problem before I finished telling you about it! We’ll see if the problem recurs tomorrow during normal hours, but this finally looks promising!

I guess now my question is, was this a known problem with your carrier(s) in this area? A 5-day drop in cell text service? Since it affected three different phones, one of which was completely untouched, one reset, and one carefully set up with a new SIM card and the Republic app, it is hard for me to think it was a problem with anything on any of the phones.

Hi @andersn,

Welcome to our Member Community.

The way the DEFY XT and Nexus 6 send text messages is completely different.

The DEFY XT has cellular coverage through our partnership with Sprint. Texting on the DEFY XT does not require a “data” connection and messages are sent and received over the 2G network. If there were a local tower outage, your inbound messages would have been disrupted, as well.

The Nexus 6 with our BYOP Republic SIM card has cellular coverage through our partnership with T-Mobile. Texting on the Nexus 6 takes place over the 3G or 4G network requiring data. As you can see, there’s no shared commonality between the DEFY XT and Nexus 6 when it comes to the carrier. This carrier did experience a temporary outage yesterday morning, that would have left the Nexus 6 unable to send or receive text messages, access the internet, and possibly make calls. I wonder if your testing coincided with that outage?

Possible commonalities, then, would be your Republic Wireless account and the apps on the phones.

Typically, if there’s a problem with your Republic Wireless account (for example, an expired credit card that prevented payment from taking place), we’d see outbound calling fail, as well. You indicated that was not the case.

Another possibility then, common to all three phones, could possibly be an app that was causing a conflict and has now updated. Did you test the phone that you factory reset before restoring the apps that had been on it previously?

If it does happen again on the DEFY XT, look in the account portal at the calling and texting records to see if the “sent” text messages from the DEFY XT are listed. If they are not, the messages are never even leaving the phone and the issue is on the phone itself. If they do show up in the call and text log, then whatever is preventing them from being delivered is somewhere on the network. Keep in mind call and text logs in the account portal are reported in the UTC time zone, so it can be a bit tricky to sort out which message is which. Instructions to view your call and text history are here: How to View Call Records and Message History – Republic Help

If it happens again on the Nexus 6, make sure that the cellular data settings are correctly configured.
If they are, take a look at the cellular signal strength bars :bars: when you’re having trouble to see if LTE is indicated. If not, let’s look into whether a SIM card that would provide this phone coverage on Sprint’s network would be a better option in your area. Instructions are here:

Edited to add: Congratulations on keeping those DEFY XTs running for so long!!

1 Like

Hello @southpaw, and thanks for the tips. This is about the Nexus 6. We are not getting LTE indicated in places where this occurs. Sometimes we get an E with a little x in the bottom right corner of the cell data indicator, and in that case we have been able to send texts. I have rechecked settings, the cell data settings are correct, cell data is enabled, roaming enabled, the RW app is set right. Data saver is off, etc., etc.
The phone has a notification: “On cell. Calls over cell. No access to cell data, messages, or voicemail.”
Now I have a question: does this mean that Republic phones actually can’t send texts when they have only a cell connection? That they need either wi-fi or a cell data connection to send texts? (Yet they can receive texts with just a cell signal?) If so, this is something that we really did not know or expect. Perhaps that is because we have better coverage around here with Sprint and never really had to think about it before. But is that really the way it works?

Hi @andersn,

Messaging does require a data connection, both for sending and receiving. You don’t have to subscribe to data (we cover it for SMS/MMS), and the data used for SMS/MMS does not count against any data you’ve purchased. (Unlike some other providers.)

I think if you’ll request that CDMA SIM card (which will allow you to use Sprint’s network) you’ll be in good shape.

Received CDMA SIM card, installed, and can report that at least one of the problem locations now has enough LTE to text. We will test out the other areas in the next few days.
We are uneasy about this setup though, where a data-strength signal is necessary for texts. Is this a 4G thing or just a Republic thing? I am used to thinking that text requires the least bandwidth and when one is in an area with little signal, texting will work when you can’t even call. Is that still true for conventional carriers on 4G networks?

Good Morning @andersn,

You are correct that historically traditional cell networks don’t require a data connection for SMS (plain text messaging). MMS (picture and group text messaging) has always required data.

Today’s reality is that traditional cellular networks have already largely moved away from 2G technology and are aggressively moving away from 3G technology in favor of 4G (LTE) and 5G technology with 5G being mostly hype at this point but that will change over the next year or so.

Bottom line, there are already relatively few (with fewer every day) locations where one won’t find data presuming signal strength is adequate.

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