Limited WiFi phone options

I’ve been a RW customer for 9 years. My office is in the lower level of a building where there is zero cell reception so finding RW with their WiFi calling was such a huge relief for me!

I will need a new phone soon, but after looking at the hand full of phones that RW sells and the BYOP list, there are actually VERY FEW phone options if you need/use WiFi calling. RW was supposed to be designed for WiFi since they used to say a lot of people are in a WiFi area at home/work like 80-90% of the time. So now with the 5.0 plans, why would they have 150+ phones or whatever on their “compatible” list when probably 90% of them don’t have WiFi calling???

Is RW going to eventually make more phones WiFi calling capable? I don’t like the current options.

All the phones sold by Republic Wireless in the Republic Wireless store are WiFi calling capable on the new 5.0 plans (these phones can’t be used on any Republic Wireless plans other than 5.0 plans).

Republic Wireless cannot control which phones AT&T (their carrier partner for 5.0) certifies for WiFi calling. Most cellular customers, outside of current Republic Wireless customers, probably aren’t even aware of WiFi calling.

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Take a look at the list of phones that are compatible that do have wifi calling: Google Pixels, Samsung’s less than 2 generations old, Some Motos. In the US, in Q3-2021 (last quarter with data), Samsung represented 64% of all android phones sales, Google another 5.6%, Moto 17%. Even if we drop Moto completely, that would mean that almost 70% of the android phones sold in the US would have wifi calling on the new network.

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FWIW I also will be without WiFi Calling on my current phone(s) if I move it/them to an RW 5.0 plan, and as a workaround I decided I would obtain a Google Voice number to use in parallel to my normal RW number, with the assumption (untested… RW Ambassadors this works, right? (*)) that I could use the Google Voice number (via the Google Voice app) for situations where I have WiFi available but not a cell signal. Here’s what I learned about getting a Google Voice number: If you use your <4.0 RW phone number for the Google Voice verification it doesn’t work (and the failure won’t reset for 24 hours), but here’s what does/did work: 1) Find out the underlying/secondary “real” phone number for the RW phone, and 2) Don’t try to send the verification code with text (it will fail), but rather click the call me/phone link on the verification page and use the secondary number.

Edit (*) - I can’t actually test this because my current phone, being on a My Choice plan, is doing WiFi Calling, so I won’t actually know until I’m on 5.0 if the workaround works.

As I said, I don’t like the current WiFi phone options which I why I’d like to know if RW plans on getting more phones capable of WiFi calling. I’d rather not have to “settle” for one of these phones just to have WiFi calling, if that makes sense. Since you said AT&T is controlling this, then is RW going to have AT&T certify more phones for WiFi calling?

Not likely. I don’t think the tail wags the dog. AT&T will do as AT&T does. If there were a compelling business case for Republic Wireless’s implementation of WiFi calling, it probably wouldn’t have been sold to Dish Wireless. Now maybe when Dish has their own carrier infrastructure up and running things will change, but that’s going to take a while.

I don’t like any of the current phones offered that have WiFi calling. I also don’t buy phones based on how many other people buy them.

The point I was trying to make is that when I found RW originally, their marketing ploy was essentially that if you spend the bulk of your time on WiFi already then you should utilize that for phone calls too instead of using the crowded cellular data streams. This also made the cost of their plans much cheaper. Due to Dish taking over with the 5.0 plans, RW is now no longer focused on WiFi use. WiFi calling has now become kind of a side bar for those like me who absolutely rely on WiFi calling.

Is there a particular phone or brand of phone of interest to you?

It would be the manufacturer rather than Republic that would work with AT&T to certify phones for WiFi calling support.

I’ve had Samsung phones before (even prior to RW) and they never lasted long so a big No on those. I’ve had 4 Motorolas, last 3 were Moto X’s up to X4. I was looking to buy a Moto Razr during their holiday sale, but it doesn’t have WiFi calling :slightly_frowning_face: I also looked at the Sony Xperia 5, but same thing.

Well, whomever controls the WiFi capability, is RW going to get more phones WiFi calling capable?

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Generally, I would expect the answer to be yes for phones released to market going forward. That said, which phones and when are things beyond Republic’s control other than for phones sold at its online store. And, no, there is no inside information available as to whether and when more phones would be added for sale at Republic’s online store.

Regarding the razr. I would point out the only network supporting it for WiFi calling is T-Mobile proper. Other providers using T-Mobile are said not to support WiFi calling. That’s according to Motorola.

I just checked Mint’s website. They use T-Mobile network and every phone they sell is WiFi calling capable. I did not see the Razr in their options, but they do offer way more phones than RW does so I’ll be looking into them.