Mixed (but mostly good) feelings over the last ~9 years

About My Service

Member Since: like 2012-13, at very end of Beta
Phone: Samsung S8
Plan: Mychoice 1 GB 4G data

My Review

I have been an RW member since about the end of Beta, after being driven from AT&T by their predatory contracts, armtwisting policies for using other devices on their network (even without actually using the data). When I heard of a new company trying to take a chunk out of AT&T’s marketshare using innovative wifi calling, I couldn’t even wait for my contract to expire before signing up, and then eventually dropped AT&T completely! Finally I had a real Android (“Linux”) mobile device in my pocket everywhere I went, so I could use the internet at all times, with no strings attached (or so I thought). A real mini computer. This seemed like heaven. The market was successfully disrupted, AT&T has had to restructure prices (but is still up to its old habits dumping on those Stockholm people who fund it), and now there is competition or what in some cases seems like copying. Seeing capitalism at work, David taking on Goliath (and winning in my book thusfar), competition providing more choice even in a standardized system, has earned me as a loyal customer for 9 years.

It got a little stale to me by ~2015-2016, but it was cheap! And with wifi calling/texting, I could use a phone where others could not. Then came Anywhere, another innovative approach taking on Apple-computer messages in a way that was compatible with SMS. My craving for Blackberry was delayed by having a full-blown computer keyboard for messaging on a non-Apple product. It even works on Linux! With Microsoft’s OS going down the tubes, and producing not one, but two failed OS in a row with numerous IT-wrenching flip-flops, this is important.

While no longer supported, the most important ‘last ditch feature’ of 2FA was implemented, does not have any glaring problems, and it has survived the test of time porting to multiple phones and computers. I am extremely happy with how it’s “end of life” has worked out – most apps would crash and burn by now, but not this key pillar of the service. RW built something great and the Linux community filled in gaps well, as they do with an entire operating system.

I love the:

  • BYOP (bring your own phone – mostly)
  • No contracts required
  • Cross platform support of Anywhere, including Linux, when big players like evil Comcast/Xfinity are not allowing playback, use or support for their services because they think dumping on Linux users will stop their silly time-wasting content from being captured by cameras, and would rather every computer or device you “bought” possibly contain malware. Are they secretly Lenovo Superfish? They don’t care about your rights, aren’t even giving a warning they are being taken, and if not for some competition left, would be tread all over. shame on them!
  • Anywhere still works, and seems secure, what like 3 years now after EOL?? Remarkable!
  • CHEAP! Saves me money using home infrastructure I have and manage (I buy my own modems/routers too, and yes there is custom, open firmware loaded)

I dislike:

  • still P*ISSED off at Motorola for the bait-and-switch, taking my Defy XT and NOT sending me the $100 gift card, and my complaints here fell on deaf ears, even more so with Motorola. Like I said then, I will not, and have not bought another Motorola product.
  • wish there were more non-Motorola options, I don’t care about 5G, in fact its broad bandwidth surging through my home with unknown private keys and health effects, as my SDR HAM radio project test equipment lag behind, is kind of concerning. I actually regretted switching to metered 4G (vs unlimited 3G) after the first month, but the speed bump was nice. Verizon is willing to LIE and downplay its 4G speeds by 4-10X depending on the PR page to try to dupe people into giving it some ROI for its silly short range phased-array radar network! Health concerns aside. Liars! </end rant>
  • I wish there was a physical keyboard phone option (the S8 is close but not the same as Blackberry – used to write documents on that thing!)
  • I wish there was a Linux phone option (see below)
  • It does seem like RW is turning into a MVNO like mentioned here, however my service is great where I want it and still equally bad where I don’t want it. Sometimes it’s nice to get away. Price is the same, still with no contract crammed down my throat. This is more a concern for my final point below.

** these points are not equally weighted, I really like the positives **

There are competitors building up steam, in fact T-mobile seems to be one I would see as most threatening if I were running RW, especially because it is the backbone. At least they do a great job on their 5G commercials visualizing how phased array radar beams work. We need another Anywhere feature, with Mint undercutting by price (somehow), and feature advantages being diluted by competitors (I’d say patent it but software patents are often used to harm or threaten the open source community and freedom on computers in an age of increased censorship). Could RW open the source to Anywhere, or allow a community project the necessary tools to support a new breed of BYO Linux phones? Think Redhat model but with extra assurance of SaaS (RHEL don’t get ideas), I can’t steal the service using Anywhere if I can’t use the server or infrastructure.

Some community members have expressed interest in the Librem phones here and here from my quick searching. Some of these same people like my taste in physical keyboards. I’m no marketing expert or ‘profiler’ but I think there’s something to this. I don’t want to watch ads/youtube for 5G, Corona virus, vaccines, maybe some silly show with my ads, on some binary blob with an 8K micro-widescreen I don’t need, on a network I don’t care for, burning in my pocket. I don’t take selfies in the shower, I’d rather be able to open the battery compartment to service my device’s battery, shut off hardware I don’t need with the flip of a switch, and type/code fast on the go without eye contact. There’s work to be done! (sometimes stylus is helpful here too) I promise I won’t lick the terminals or put an inferior counterfeit cell in there so it goes on fire on an airplane, the same way I did not try to cheat RW (the hero fighting AT&T) when rooted RW phones were controversial.

I joined this service for Freedom. Not the same magnitude as other types of ballistic freedoms to deter prison society, being welded in your home and starved to death (typical communists…) instead of being killed by a virus the party created, but within the scope of phone/communications/technology, this cyber freedom was a new, liberating option – and I think still maintains leadership in that niche. Owning your device if you use it to consume information is extremely important. I want RW to survive, or I’ll join some hypothetical Irish folk throwing “free” 5G AT&T/Verizon/Huawei phones shipping up to Boston, into the Boston Harbor. Jokes aside, I really see OEM options drying up, and Republic Wireless, again, as the only hope short of reverting to landlines, or building a satellite network.

While business sometimes needs to scale and expand out of its niche, I don’t think it should forget its roots at this point, and if we can work together as a community to help make something work out, I’m happy to play with a RW Linux phone dev kit or something. There is no control system here where people get killed if it goes awry (even if they lived for the project and accepted the risk). Probably a pipe dream, but it would be great for this to succeed, and then stick it to phone, tractor, and automotive OEMs who have gone full-blown proprietary, using crypto against the consumer and their right to repair using every excuse from convenience to safety and emissions to justify it.

I hope someone can relate, or at least see my vision for the future of RW here.

I was once as enthusiastic about a non-AT&T phone service as you are, but now I will go with the first working Linux phone that is completely de-googled and works on Starlink.

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