Gave it a shot... didn't work out, parting thoughts


#1

Well, I gave it a shot for a little less than a month and sadly I have to leave RW. Very disappointed about this because RW, I think has a competitive model and has mastered some tricky things that even Google’s Project Fi hasn’t gotten their arms around. But at the end of the day, dropped calls are dropped calls, and I cannot be dropping work-related calls while commuting.

I’m in a built-up area of the Savannah River Valley; not what I would call particularly rural, and I have just found T-Mobile and Sprint to be much too flaky/spotty. Weird things like driving down a primary road, full LTE, then suddenly nothing, a call drops, and then 5 seconds later, full LTE again, and then when the phone figures out what’s going on, it settles down to 2G. This never happened on Verizon - not once.

Would have loved to have stuck around and seen what RW had cooking, i.e., web-based SMS/MMS, etc - but sadly Verizon is the only network whose coverage map is truly accurate (The TMO map shows this entire area as covered, but this is nowhere near reality).

I was a Project Fi customer for a while and swapped back and forth between Sprint/T-Mo/US Cellular and the bottom line is that they’re all entirely unreliable in this region unless you live in a very built-up pocket and never travel anywhere.

None of this should reflect on RW, what RW promises it does very well (WiFi-preferred calling) and if RW ever expands out to be a Verizon MVNO, I would come back in a heartbeat.


#2

Did you ever reach out to support to see if our other carrier had better coverage? We do that, if needed, free of charge. We have found that staying on one carrier (unlike Fi) can be better. The CDMA carrier by itself may be better.


#3

@seanr As I mentioned, I was on Fi, which is GSM/CDMA (Sprint) interchangeably, so I knew what I would be in for by swapping out the SIM. I would test this by setting my affinity for Sprint, and could tell where the dead zones were.


#4

Fi’s carrier jump is not as interchangeable as some think. We have seen better coverage when staying on one carrier since swapping is not as real-time as people think and can cause more problems and dropped calls. The affinity for Sprint and being fully Sprint and their full roaming partners like we are is very different. I would have suggested trying our full CDMA coverage.


#5

In my area cdma has better reception despite both having similar signal strengths shown by my phone so definitely give the change a chance.

However, if you have already left then it is probably not worth the hassle. Republic isn’t perfect for everyone so always go for what you need.


#6

@seanr I’d be interested in reading through the technical specifics behind that claim; otherwise it sounds a little voodoo to me. If I forced my phone to the CDMA network, I would still get good data/voice in well-covered areas for the 3 hours of lease time. During that 3 hours I was still able to drive around and determine where I had connectivity, and where I didn’t. Maybe you’re right, but I would want something harder and scientifically backed before I acted on that.

But this is all moot because everyone knows that Verizon’s cellular network is the best. Love em or hate em, they win in every class of cellular service, year in, year out. Many people do not need to pay that premium, because many people either call very little or are out and about very little. More novel services are great for that market.
Those of us who are out and about a lot in unfamiliar areas and do most of our work related communication over cellular, cannot afford to play Sprint/T-Mo roulette.


#7

Sure the simplified version is that the CDMA provider has put a lot of work into keeping a call going when going from the native coverage over to roaming (we support the full spectrum of roaming partners for calling and texting). When the goal of multiple carrier SIM is to keep the user on the best native carrier available the call can sometimes suffer if there is no carrier with native coverage at the time. You may see fewer issues or at least some differences if you were fully native to CDMA.

I am pretty familiar with the Savannah River Valley since I am an avid disc golfer.


#8

One thing that I haven’t quite figured out. Since our phones are supposed to Roam when there’s no Sprint or GSM signal, I wouldn’t expect to have these dead areas when there’s a good Verizon signal. But apparently it doesn’t work that way. I have pretty much given up on “roaming.” My wife and I each have Moto G5+: one is GSM and the other is CDMA. We want it that way so that when traveling we’ll have a better chance that at least one phone connects. The money we’re saving with RW, pays for a mobile hotspot that uses Verizon LTE. If I’m in an area that doesn’t have either the GSM or Sprint, I can usually still count on the Verizon LTE signal for a W-Fi connection. So far it’s worked out well for us. I don’t know of any single carrier that can give us what we have with our little set-up.


#9

I was looking at XFINITY Wireless. They use Verizon. They only have WIFI calling on their IPHONES currently though. You pay $12 a gb for shared data, the rest is included in your Internet fee you pay monthly.
It is tempting, but without WIFI calling on their Android devices, it is a no go.


#10

*If you are a Xfinity customer already.


#11

Since Verizon works for you you would be an excellent candidate choice for Red Pocket Mobile since they are MVNO provider for all four major cell network providers; the price is only a little bit higher and would work much better without one having to experience dropped calls.


#12

Sprint roams on Verizon but when I had an RW CDMA phone my calls almost always dropped with switching from home on Sprint to roaming on Verizon. I feel your pain. GSM is much more reliable where I live, probably because we have a lot of band 12.


#13

yeah, gave them a good look; given our existing plan and requirements, they would not save me any money.


#14

@muerte33 Hey, interesting. They have a note on their website that they are working hard to get Android BYOP set up.

On principle, I don’t like the idea of giving Communistcast any more money than I already do, but I might make an exception in this case as it would lower my payout overall. It would be nice to eliminate that line access fee. Thanks for the tip.