Does SMS require data connection or will it work over wifi only?


I think I know the answer but want to confirm. Situation:

Son was in an area with poor cell coverage. Group chat going on and one other person in that chat was also in the room with him. Her cell reception (different carrier) was also spotty.

She got a message from the group that he did not get. He thought he should have gotten it because the phone was on and connected to wifi. But I think I’m getting that sms does not come in on wifi unless data is turned completely off. Or… does the phone REQUIRE data to get sms?

(Later he used Anywhere on his computer and the message was there. But he never got it on his phone.


Access to data (either WiFi or cellular) is required for SMS as well as MMS (Group/Picture messaging).
In normal circumstances, WiFi should be sufficient for receiving SMS/MMS. If the WiFi is flaky then RW would hand-off the SMS/MMS to Cellular data for delivery.

If there was a gap…then the missing text would likely show up as an individual message from the sender
with some text “one message failed to download…try again”… Ask your son to scroll through his message history. Once downloaded that message will be placed back in the original group conversation.


There really isn’t a handoff. The message exists at Republic, and a successful connection to that message, whether cellular data or wifi, will deliver the message. This is different than it used to be on the legacy phones.


Maybe hand-off is not ideal choice of words here…but the experience that I described is how it works…RW has the message…but it won’t come through without tapping on download…at least that’s been my experience.


This helps me understand how it should work but it is not my son’s experience. He frequently does not get messages (either due to flaky connection in his area or because he turns his phone off at night) and he does not reliably get those messages when he reconnects or restarts his phone. Have opened tickets on it, tried various sets of fixes from various people, asked here, etc. with no good resolution for him. I’m not sure there is a solution for him on Republic. Thanks, though, for the input.

FWIW, he uses Messages by Google but sometimes temporarily changes to Anywhere if he suspects he has a problem. Then he switches back. He just likes the Messages interface better.


Can you please let us know what phone and plan is your son using?
The experience that I described applies to 3.0 phones on the My Choice plan…just want to make sure we are talking about the same thing.


Thanks, @amitl (hope I tagged you right) for your continued interest. My son has had this problem for a few years and despite tickets being opened and advice, he still misses messages.

He has a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge so yes it is the My Choice plan.

I don’t know if this is a clue or just background noise but the issue did come to light 2 years ago after we went to Europe and he had an Orange sim card for a few weeks. The card has been out of the phone since we got back, though and he is definitely on the Republic system as we’ve done the process of ensuring he’s connected (entering that string of symbols and numbers to ensure he is connected properly) several times.

Sometimes when he knows he’s missed messages and he restarts the phone, the messages appear. Sometimes not. Sometimes he switches his messaging app to Anywhere to get the messages, and then they show up in Google Messages. But it is all a lot of bother. (He just really prefers GMessages…)

I am wondering if the app he uses might impact this. If I got him to change to e.g. Textra, might that make a difference? Would that maybe connect to the Republic servers better? Just a thought.

Any thoughts appreciated. As a college student with a lot of course related projects involving others using group chat, (film student) missing messages can be a problem.


Oh, yes, and there is always the chance it is related to someone else in the group using iMessages… Curse you, Apple.


Thanks for phone/plan info.

I use Messages by Google too and that is now the primary recommended/supported app as new development on Anywhere has halted and I agree that the UI for Messages by Google is much better. I don’t have experience with Textra but I don’t think switching to it will change the inherent texting experience.

The reason why switching to Anywhere likely helps is on installation Anywhere likely reads in all the messages from the server. Once read in…they will stay there whether you look at them from Anywhere or switch back to Messages.

Some of these suggestions might sound repetitive if you have already gone through the ticket process… so feel free to ignore what you have already tried…but in Messages -> Settings -> Advanced

Auto-download MMS, and
Auto-download MMS while roaming

you may want to double check that they are enabled.

It may be worth running the “diagnostic” test in the RW app while connected to one of these WiFi connections where he is having the issue.
You can access the diagnostic tests in the Republic Wireless App under
Settings -> Advanced -> Run diagnostic test

Do you know if he has CDMA or GSM SIM card?
If you are unsure you can open the RW app and go to
Settings -> About and see what’s listed under SIM type

If you have submitted tickets then you might have already explored this…but depending on the coverage in your area…you may be able to get better coverage by switching to the other SIM card type.

If you don’t mind sharing your zip code…we can review the coverage for you.

A completely different solution is to switch to something like Whatsapp which is a really good app for group messaging… of course it requires a data plan and it requires all other users also to use that app…but I find the group messaging experience to be outstanding using whatsapp.


Hi @eleanorw,

Just checking in if you have gotten a chance to review my suggestions and if you have
tried anything else to improve your son’s SMS/MMS experience.

automatically bumped #11