Coverage while traveling so disappointing

I have had Republic Wireless service and phones for more than a year and a half. Except for a few cases when I was in a rural area, I have always been able to make a phone call and access Google Maps. I have been very satisfied. But this month, my husband and I traveled to South Dakota from Missouri. We started having trouble in Iowa, and I was unable to access a cellular network at all in South Dakota. Which means I couldn’t call or access maps unless I was in a hotel room or restaurant with WiFi. Not exactly what I had in mind when selecting a phone and service. My phone simply said that no cellular network was available. I had it set to roam with cellular data. Are there plans for Republic Wireless to use AT&T and Verizon networks in the future? When I saw people using phones, I asked which network they had, and they were always AT&T and Verizon. No Sprint!

1 Like

Hi @paulas.cn3brq,

I know of no plans for Republic to provision cellular coverage with either AT&T or Verizon. Additionally, your phone may or may not be provisioned with Sprint. Beginning July of last year, Republic began offering phones possibly provisioned for cellular coverage with its’ GSM partner rather than Sprint.

To be of further assistance, it would help Community best help you if we knew brand, model, and (if applicable) generation of the phone in question.

1 Like

Did you update your PRL before you traveled? You should roam in those areas, but those agreements change all of the time and an update is needed (especially before traveling) to be sure you can connect. Then your phone should roam over to other CDMA providers like Verizon for calling and texting.

1 Like

Update PRL?

Yes, most phones keep a database on them for when you travel outside of their coverage. It lists the towers phones will connect to. These 3rd party agreements change all of the time, so the Database needs to be frequently updated this process has been around as long as there has been roaming before smartphones even existed. If you go somewhere that the CDMA provider does not have a network and have an old PRL file on the phone, you will not connect to a network while roaming. It will give you the notification you were seeing.

Here is a guide.


If not for doing a PRL update during the troubleshooting of my X1 last year or jben in the past often letting members know when PRL updates were available I like most would have no clue PRLs should be updated.

It’s like checking oil in a car frequently, unless the members are educated and reminded occasionally about the need for doing the updates they don’t get done. There’s no check PRL light on our phones and RW never sends out any reminders.

Correct it is just a good idea to do it when you are going to travel. I wish it happened automatically but that is not the way it works.

Well, I tried it. It says, “Error updating PRL. Error code is

That error means that the phone is unable to get to the CDMA network’s servers through your Internet connection.

Note: You’ll need to be connected to either WiFi or on-network (not roaming) cellular to update your PRL. (If you are on the $10 plan, you’ll need to be connected to WiFi.)
Update the PRL – Republic Help
Here is some more info that may be helpful.

Just ensure you have a good WiFi or cell data connection and try again. Doesn’t always work on the first attempt. Good luck.

I am connected to my home Wi-Fi network, and the speed and connection are

My phone indicates that our router is blocking the ports for wi-fi calling.

Something is definitely odd with your WiFi connection at home.

I rebooted the router,and I am no longer receiving the “blocking” message,
but I still receive the error message when attempting to update PRLor

Hi @paulas.cn3brq

I noticed no activity in the thread since last night. Were you able to get the situation resolved?.

If not, I would suggest @rolandh’s suggestion


Yes, I followed the suggestions of one contributor, and the third one
worked. I was able to update at a public Wi-Fi site. I did communicate that
the problem was resolved satisfactorily. Sorry that not everyone received
the communication. Thank you!


Just to give you a backup option when traveling in areas where cell service might be iffy and you don’t have access to cell data…

You can download Google maps in advance over Wi-Fi and then use them for navigation

Alternatively, you can use the Here app, which also has the option to download maps in advance.

You will not get traffic alerts, but you will still be able to navigate.

1 Like

This all seem like an awful lot of work just to get your phone to work away from home. My original republic phone worked great, but then I upgraded to a better phone and it switched me to T-mobile GSM towers instead of CDMA towers and it is horrible. There are areas right around where I live now in a highly populated city where I can’t get coverage. And when I do go within reach of a tower it still takes a long time for the phone to re-recognize it. It is awful. We went through Minnesota and Iowa and my phone did not work at all. The only phones that still offer CDMA are very basic low-end phone through Republic, all the rest are GSM. And even when I select Data while roaming, I cannot get any data.


That’s the experience I had with a Moto G third generation phone. I don’t
know if the updates suggested will help, but it was terrible traveling from
WiFi to WiFi with no access to calling or data.

That is not the sentiment we normally hear. It is usually that all of the CDMA/GSM capable phones are too expensive. Right now both the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Moto G5 in our store are CDMA and GSM capable phone and I would not call them low end.

We do not offer Internet access while roaming on our 3.0 plans at all. We use it but it is for callng and text needs only.

Message an
Expert customer