Get to know our BYOP process and the guy behind it all!

I recently sat down with @john.barbacci, one of our awesome Product guys here at Republic Wireless. I wanted to pick his brain about all things product, but even more specifically our Bring Your Own Phone process. John currently spearheads our BYOP program - scouting out new phone options, working with our engineering team to bring those phones into our lineup, and much more. Take a look at some of the behind the scenes information he was able to share with me :smirk:

Have some questions for John? Reply to this thread!


Hi @john.barbacci. thanks for taking the time to talk with us today!

Talk to me about the process - how do you go about deciding which phones to carry in our BYOP program?

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There are a few factors that play into how we compose our BYOP selection. Namely, we do our best to compliment our direct offering with devices that we do not currently sell directly, for various reasons. Additionally, we are able to tell what devices fail to activate on our service due to incompatibility. This gives us a true sense of demand that exists for devices seeking service on RW. In turn, we do our best to satisfy those requests by certifying the most common of those phone activation failures on our network. Lastly, we at times, use BYOP launches to calibrate the takerate for a certain phone before we allocate more costly investment to source handsets directly. This scenario is especially being utilized in greenfield initiatives whereby we have little to no data to predict a phone’s success.

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How much time does the whole process take, from consideration to testing to getting up and running?

The answer to this question largely hinges on the degree of how closely the device manufacturer has developed their phone’s software in relation to pure Android. If they have done minimal changes to the stock Android setup, then we generally can certify a device within 4-6 weeks. This time is generally composed of QA time, internal testing, marketing material development and announcement. If the handset in evaluation is using software more customized, we generally need to work with the manufacturer to iron our show-stopping issues before deployment. The time to do this ranges widely, but can easily take months.

How many phones are you evaluating at a given time?

I would say that we tend to evaluate 5-7 devices at any given period, mainly due to the dichotomy outlined in the prior question. Having some devices moving more swiftly through evaluation and others needing more attention, helps us keep a steady flow of supported phones to Republic.

How many Republic Wireless team members are typically involved in the BYOP process?

For a task that could be seemingly small, the process easily touches 12 to 15 RW employees. Everything from product investigation and evaluation, procurement of a test unit, engineer interaction with manufacturer, QA, internal testing, marketing work on assets and copy, publishing to community, internal system readiness to support the phone.

Do you always look at the newest phones coming out to bring them on board?

There are certain device franchises in which, yes, we do watch for the manufactures next release and ensure we’re on top of supporting them as close to the general availability as we can manage. One clear candidate for such treatment is generally the Pixel devices given the purity of their Android experience and the attraction that our members have towards this brand.

What is usually the biggest reason you are unable to support a phone?

The biggest reason for not being able to support a device, generally is that the Android setup on the device, is too far removed from what our app needs for proper integration and the manufacturer is unwilling/unable to modify their software to accommodate our required fixes.

What phone(s) are you most excited about supporting?

One of our more recent additions to the BYOP suite was the OnePlus 6T. This was exciting for a couple reasons, first, we brought in a new device manufacturer which is notorious for packing a rich feature set into a well priced device. Additionally, this was our first dual SIM tray device, thanks to some recent development on our app to support such phones.

Are there any phones currently in the process of becoming BYOP that you can talk about?

Yes, we are optimistically working to certify a couple Nokia devices. This would be yet another new brand for RW which has a solid reputation with strong value for our members.

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Is there a place where current Republic Wireless members can submit suggestions on which phones they’d like to see added to our BYOP lineup?

Yes! We have a survey that current members can fill out with any suggestion they have. Although we can’t guarantee anything, we always like to hear what everyone is interested in. I personally take a look at these results regularly. Here is the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/byop_republic

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Thank’s for taking the time to chat with me about our BYOP program John! This has been super interesting, and I’ve also learned quite a bit about how this process works. There’s a lot more to it than I thought! Like I said above, if you have any questions for John please feel free to reply in this thread.

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Thanks @swall and @john.barbacci … it’s stuff like this that continues to move Republic towards the head of the pack
Keep up the great work

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