We gave RW a almost a year, but our most recent trip out west showed me that while at home, RW was okay, when we are traveling, T-Mobile’s cellular network is seriously lacking in coverage. Even at home, T-Mobile’s network isn’t great.
First, around the house when I am connected to my home network, call quality is great. As soon as I step outside and get far enough away that the RW app decides that the T-Mobile connection is the better one, call quality significantly deteriorates to the point of being static filled and calls drop. Going inside so I can be closer to the router does not always fix it in time to avoid a dropped call.
Second, we just completed a trip of almost 6500 miles making a big loop to Arizona, Utah, touching Idaho, Montana, Yellowstone NP. The return was routed by Mt. Rushmore and South Dakota, along I90 and then dropping down through Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, and then back to North Carolina. I would have expected that along the Interstates at least, cell service would be okay. Much of the time it was but a significant portion was without cell service. That does not even address other roads where I could see cell towers, but had zero bars of service. When I was able to get WiFi service, RW worked as expected, but the lack of cell service was unacceptable. That is because without cell service or WiFi, I don’t get notifications from my home security system.
Because of this, I started investigating alternatives and came across information for Google’s Project fi. Having purchased new phones just under a year ago, I really did not want to have to purchase new ones, but Project fi looks like it will meet our needs better as it uses WiFi like RW but instead of relying on only one cell provider, Project fi claims to be able to use the strongest of three major networks and to be able to switch between them as needed. Because it looks like it will meet our needs better, we have made the switch to Project fi with new Moto X4 and Moto G6 phones since our Moto G5+ and Moto E4 were not compatible with Project fi’s service. As much as I like RW, I have to go with something that will be there when we need it. The good thing is that it looks like monthly service will not cost much different than we have been paying for RW service since our data use is usually very low.
We’ll see what happens in the future. Perhaps RW will likewise evolve to be able to use multiple cell providers, both GSM and CDMA. Perhaps cell service itself will change to make the problems I experienced moot. For the time being though, goodbye RW. I tried, but Republic couldn’t meet our needs in its current form.