Lots of problems in Moto E4 activation instructions

#1

I got my Moto E4 today. I’m familiar with get a smartphone going. Still, I decided to follow the instructions I found on the RW site at https://republicwireless.com/activate/ in case there was something new. I ran across a number of things that didn’t match the phone I got. If you’d like to follow along while you read this, you could visit the site and follow along. (BTW, I’m using the latest Firefox on a Windows 10 laptop to see the RW site.)

In case it helps you with a new Moto E4, or if this reaches the people at RW who can update the pages, here goes. This is really long… I’ll try to Italicize the key parts to help you skim if you want:

First: From reading a Forum, I understood that I can get either a GSM SIM card or a CDMA. But the SIM card, or the credit-card-sized card it snaps out of, don’t say what kind of SIM it is! I really need GSM, so I wanted to be sure that’s what I had. I had to search the forum to find the article Is My Republic Wireless SIM Card CDMA or GSM?. It says you can either tell by the first five digits of the ICCID, or by looking at the colors of the letters “republic” on the card.

How non-obvious! I’d like to suggest printing either GSM or CDMA directly on the SIM card (in larger letters than the tiny ones there!)… there’s enough room for it.

Second: On the page “Ready to activate your phone on Republic?”, in the section “Initial Setup”, I clicked on “Need SIM card instructions?”. On the next laptop screen, in the section “Insert the Republic SIM card into your phone” was “follow the instructions that came with your phone to properly insert [the SIM]”. Sorry: The instructions in the box with the phone seemed to be only a two-sided card that says, bottom line: “Go to Republic.com/activate for instructions”. Well, I already went to Republic.com/activate; I’m there!

(Later, when I opened the bottom of the box to locate the battery, I found a booklet from Motorola with much clearer instructions. So I’d suggest changing the card to mention both the instruction book below the box divider and also the RW website. Or, on the RW activation section, after it asks what kind of phone you have, the page could tell you whether the phone’s box has more instructions… and/or give a link to a website with the user manual, etc.)

The same RW activation page “SIM Card Instructions” has a diagram at the left side that shows where the SIM slot is located. The diagram shows the SIM card’s notch at the top right corner, but the notch actually should be at the top left.

Fortunately, I knew that there was a Forum. I searched and found the article How to Install the SIM Card in a Moto E4. (I’m glad that I knew about the Forums. I don’t think all RW newbies will.) Step 4 says “Slide the SIM card into the SIM card slot with the gold contacts facing down”. But – on some other phones, at least – you can insert the card one of two ways: the notch pointing toward the slot or away from the slot. I suggest giving the answer here in a few words. (There is a diagram on the battery tray, near the SIM slot, showing the notch at the top… but it’s tiny.)

Luckily, there was a link to a Motorola page Insert or remove the SIM and SD card - Moto E (4th Gen). It had detailed instructions and photos that showed the correct orientation, with the SIM notch at top left (unlike the RW diagram showing the notch at the top right).

At this point, it would help some users if RW would add a link to Motorola labeled explicitly “click here if you want more-detailed instructions”.

Next – at the bullet under step #4 – the RW page says “Note: There are two slots, one on top of the other. The lower slot is for the SIM card.” That’s not true on my E4. There’s a slot to the right of the SIM card for an SD card; there’s no slot under the SIM. (It would be nice to mention what that other slot is for. Not all phones these days have SD cards, so some people may not know whether they want it or what it’s for.)

Third: I also found the page Installing Your SIM Card on the RW website. It has general instructions for lots of RW phones.

Problem A on this page was a section where you decide whether your phone is a Republic 3.0 phone or a 1.0/2.0 phone. Along the page is a green bar with the words “Republic 3.0 Phones: The following info refers to Republic Wireless 3.0 Phones only” in it. Unfortunately, on my laptop, the link “Republic Wireless 3.0 phones” is in a shade of green that’s so close to the shade of green in the bar that it’s hard to see; it looked basically like a blank space. (This is a problem in other places on the RW site, too. I suggest making the link a contrasting color – not green.)

Problem B on this page was the section for the Moto E4. Under the heading “Instructions for removing and inserting the SIM card”, step 2 starts “Remove the back cover by placing your fingernail in the charging port”. On my phone, that’s not correct: The charging port is surrounded by the back cover. Instead, there’s a cutout at the bottom left (as you look at the back of the phone) that you can pry up. (After the back starts to open, it also helps to pry up the bottom-right, near the corner, so you don’t have to pull so hard on the bottom-left corner.)

Problem C on this page was step 4. It tells you to put in the SIM card, but it doesn’t say which direction the notch should face (toward or away from the slot).

Fourth: OK, back to the original page “Ready to activate your phone on Republic?” that I mentioned earlier. After inserting the SIM card, I clicked the “Next” button on that RW page to go to step 2. Its title was “Install the RW App Republic app from the Play Store”. Um, how about putting in the battery first? Next, the Motorola booklet warns, charge the battery fully.; if you aren’t looking at that booklet, would you know? I also suggest the RW page say how to turn on the phone. (For people coming from a non-smart phone, they’re probably used to holding down the red button. But, of course, this phone doesn’t have a red button…) This page doesn’t mention any of the setup steps (like entering your Gmail address, etc.) you’ll do before you get to the Republic app Before telling you to install the RW app, should the instructions tell you how to check whether your phone has data service and/or how to set up WiFi? (You must have WiFi to do this because the RW cell service isn’t active yet, true? At least, after I got through those setup steps, there were no bars of cell signal showing at the top of the screen.)

Fifth: So I finished entering my Gmail account, adding my fingerprint, answering the Lenovo screens about privacy and etc. Then I was expecting my laptop to show something that looked like the second activation page on the RW site. That page told me to go the Play Store to download the Republic app. What I got instead (on the phone) was a green “Welcome to Republic” screen saying that I could tap the “UPDATE APP” button to continue the activation process. This second activation page on the RW site seems totally wrong.

The UPDATE APP button took me to the Play Store. Since I’ve used Android before, I’m familiar with this… there was the obvious “Update” button. But the RW page on my laptop told me to click “Install”… but that button doesn’t appear in the Play Store because the Republic app is already installed.

Unfortunately, instead of updating through the Play Store (as I’m used to on Android), Play Store said “Download pending…”, then the phone didn’t do the usual Play Store update… it quickly went back to another green screen. This one was titled “Welcome to Republic” and said I could tap the “GET ACTIVATED NOW” button to start activation. (Huh? The previous green screen said I was going to continue activation. Whatever… I’ll tap the button.)

Sixth: The next screen on my laptop (it has a 4 in a circle near the top left corner) tells me to follow the activation steps in the app. But it also says, inexpiicably: “…You’ll need to insert your Republic SIM card into your phone to continue activation.” Huh? How could I get to this point if I hadn’t already inserted the SIM card in the first step of activation?

I followed the activation steps. The phone screen said my phone is being activated and that I’ll get email when it is. OK, this seems reasonable.

My last point (whew!): A lot of the stuff above may seem pedantic and obvious to people (like me) who’ve used smartphones for quite a while – or are accustomed to playing with a new device until they figure it out. But I’ve never activated an RW phone before, and it would be good to know what to expect. I suggest making the “activate” instructions complete enough that someone who’s not an expert can follow them, step by step. It’d only take a few more paragraphs. As they are, IMO, they’re a bad introduction to a “do-it-yourself” company like RW – where you can’t even call anyone (by phone) for help.

As for me, I’m looking forward to this phone and RW service. The phone is activated. Once I found the forums and figured out how to use them to get (the correct!) answers, I’m happy.

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#2

Hi @jp.rw,

Thank you for the detailed description of your experience. I’ll make sure it gets to the right team.

Thank you for not losing faith in us, and for understanding the power of our Community.

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#6

If I am not mistaken, the RW app is installed in the MOTO phone version of the os… most if not all and when the RW sim is installed and the phone powered up it will open and start the RW activation process, having to update the RW app before completing.
as a side note the FI app (google) app is embedded in the os, so when a FI sim is installed and the google phone is power up the FI app will start the activation process on FI…

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#7

Hey there @jp.rw, and thanks for sharing this! I wanted to let you know we’ve gone ahead and updated the article, How to Install the SIM Card in a Moto E4 – Republic Help, for more clarity thanks to your advice and feedback. We hope this will help others with SIM installation as you raised some good points.

I wanted to also address your 4th and 5th notes: It sounds like the RW app was pre-installed on your E4, which meant you were automatically taken to the RW “Welcome”/Activation screen, and THEN prompted with an update (different from what you saw in the steps on your laptop). Once the update was complete, the app went back on course to get you activated. This happens occasionally (but not often) if our app is pre-installed, and between the first time it was installed and the time of activation, we push an update to the app. It sounds like you were able to follow along and proceed to get activated, it just took some steps that were not explicitly outlined in the republicwireless.com/activation steps. We’re working on getting those updated to be more clear, as @southpaw mentioned.

Thanks again for relaying your activation experience back to the Community! We hope the E4 (now that it’s activated) and RW end up being a good fit for you :slight_smile:

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#8

Thanks for reading through my whole message, everyone. It took a few hours to write, so I’m glad it was useful.

@TheDoctor and @Andi_B, I hadn’t realized that apps can come along with the phone’s operating system. (But that makes sense: It’s how some companies – thankfully, not RW? – install “bloatware” that can’t be removed?)

RW folks: If the activation instructions could cover both of these cases – when the app is pre-installed or not – it would help confused users (like me!) understand that nothing is going wrong during the installation.

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#9

@jp.rw
Just your 6th appearance, and all I can say is WOW double WOW … I would have loved to have you on the QA team when I was working (for a couple fairly big networking companies)
Great work on your part, and as you have already seen, Republic folks did see it and are taking the appropriate action (something that many of us have known for a long time)
Hope we see you here a lot in the future
Thanks,
jBen

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#10

Lots of good information in that post. One more thing that should be pointed out and applies to many phones. On my Moto G5+, there’s a little hole on top for the SIM card insertion tool/paper clip. There’s also a little hole about the same size on the bottom which I think is the microphone. Although I didn’t make the mistake, some people might poke the tool in to the microphone, damaging or destroying it. A sticker or reminder should be given in the instructions.

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#13

Why doesn’t the phone come with the SIM card already installed?

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#14

In order to do so, Republic would need to open, then reseal the box received from the manufacturer. It’s a matter of opinion but I would prefer no one open the manufacturer’s box until I receive the phone. Additionally, and for what it’s worth, end user installation of the SIM is standard industry practice when purchasing factory unlocked phones.

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