MMS over Wifi on RW 5.0 plans

On one of my line’s Pixel 3a phone which I’ve just ported over to a new RW 5.0 plan, and properly setup all of the APNs I could from this article:

(which was all except #s 2 & 3, the APN Types dun and ims, as corroborated by other members), I’ve determined that with Wifi only on (Airplane Mode turned on to test a pure Wifi calling/texting scenario), I seem to only be able to send/receive phone calls and SMS, but MMS does not work.

I’m wanting to raise this issue in the community, separately from another thread where I’d first brought it up under the topic of new 5.0 activations to see if anyone thinks they have had success with this and before opening a ticket with RW tech support.

I suspect this will not work easily at all, at least with the APN setup we’ve been given, and it’s possible it’ll never work on any AT&T MVNO based on some research I’ve done.

To explain why this is important to our family: our house is in an area where for some reason we get very poor cellular reception from T-Mobile, Sprint and now I can confirm AT&T (and probably Verizon too, last I checked), but have a very solid internet connection. So, like most people, we love the Wifi calling/texting capabilities. We’re used to this working great with pre-5.0 RW plans since it all worked through RW’s own technology for calling/texting (including MMS!).

So as we move to the new RW 5.0 plan, and lose that RW technology and are now dependent on AT&T’s wifi calling/texting solution, I’m trying to definitively determine whether we’ll be able to make MMS work over Wifi only as this may be a critical factor deciding whether we can stay on AT&T or not.

I’ve been doing research elsewhere and have found that the signs don’t look too promising for most MVNOs (of all 3 providers) for having this work. Maybe it does work more readily on accounts native to those 3 providers, but that’s really not something I’d like to get back to after having been off Verizon (postpaid) for many years now.

Here’s one thread post I was looking at which claims that this may be working on Mint Mobile (T-Mobile) with a certain APN setup:

https://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1923158-AT-amp-T-MVNO-with-actual-working-MMS-over-WiFi-Calling?p=17182928#post17182928

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I’m also able to reproduce the no MMS over WiFi after properly setting up the APNs the best I could. Some of the APN simply disappear after setting them up. I’m able to replicate this on a Moto G5 Plus.

I will test this on my Google Pixel 3a once RW ports it over to 5.0 to see if I get the same results there.

I’m more than happy to do any testing or troubleshooting steps needed. I’m generally technically inclined.

So, if I have no cell coverage in my home, I can’t use MMS on 5.0…at least at this point.

Do I have this right?

Here is a screenshot, I have highlighted the portion of the official document that pertains.

Yes, but that’s not relevant to the issue being discussed here. The issue being discussed here isn’t whether MMS uses cell data when available (it does). The issue is in the absence of cell data does MMS work over WiFi or not.

Actually I feel it is relevant … if user has no cell connection, he/she can’t send MMS as it requires data which is included in the plan (or I am totally reading this wrong)

I don’t believe it’s relevant in the sense that yes MMS pulls cell data from the plan but it doesn’t matter if cell data isn’t available. “Pulls from plan” refers to cell data only. Republic does not and never has supplied WiFi data.

I see a potential issue here but not with the plan description as it is not referencing WiFi data. Or, is the point you’re attempting to make and that I might be missing that the plan description is indicative of MMS is not supposed to work over WIFi?

I think that MMS to AT&T appears to not work unless a user has Cellular data available (credit @johnl.wq7gti for planting that seed). I would guess that’s a function of the Plan & AT&T implementation. I don’t have a 5.0 phone active yet, so I leave it to you and others to prove the documentation right, wrong or just weak :slight_smile:

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I’m curious if MMS works over Wi-Fi when Wi-Fi calling is disabled in the settings, like I’ve read on some other forums. I guess I’ll find out whenever I get my SIM.

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It may very well be true MMS on 5.0 plans requires a cell data connection, which isn’t helpful for members with weak or non-existent cellular coverage in a particular area. If true that MMS on 5.0 requires access to cell data at all times, that would be less of a value compared to My Choice and earlier Republic plans rather than an improvement and we were promised improvements.

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I’m ok with staying on the My Choice plan, but even MC likes to have a data connection, especially when waking up a phone to receive an incoming call (at least how I understand it).

I also give up a lower price for two lines, and a “real” phone number.

Staying on MC has some issues and limitations…at least for me.

All mobile phone service, including Republic’s proprietary blend of VoIP and cellular, works best where there is reasonably robust cellular coverage. I’ve never considered WiFi only to be an ideal solution.

Yeah, I’ve used Venmo. While I understand not being able to use it and some other apps and services has been a pain point for many members, I’ve yet to find any such app or service that was critical to me and use of Venmo has never been a life changing experience for me. Of course, to each their own.

Candidly, whether MMS works over WiFi or not doesn’t impact me. I have reasonably robust cellular coverage on any of the 3 national networks. Still, if one is going to market improvements, one needs to provide clarity regarding the caveats (for some) that come attached to those improvements. I have asked Republic for further clarity regarding MMS over WiFi.

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I am also contacting my town officials to discuss. Lack of coverage in 2022 is nuts. I am not rural. We are a small town with two towers. We should all have a signal.

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@rolandh & @jben, I appreciate the discussion, but I side with @rolandh here, because as he points out (and I already did) if MMS over Wifi only does not work, it’s a step back from what did reliably work on RW 4.0 (and previous) plans, and, for some of us, it’s a problem in general.

In my not-super-well-researched opinion, @jben’s implication that MMS will never work over Wifi for any service (or at least AT&T service) is in general not true, even for other non-RW 4.0 plans. E.g., it may be possible on Mint Mobile, a T-Mobile MVNO, with the proper APN setup.

From what I’ve read (partly in the quoted forum in my original post), it has to do with whether the provider’s APN URL will accept connections on the open internet or only on their own cellular data network. If the latter, of course it won’t work when there’s no cellular connection.

I’ll also point out that since MMS does consume your cellular data, and if you’re on a paltry 1 GB plan like me (which is fine if I’m only lightly using it when outside the home), and if I happen to use a lot of MMS and it could work over Wifi, then I get a little extra savings on my cellular data.

In all fairness, I don’t think Republic is doing anything itself to preclude use of MMS over WiFi. Just as which phones are supported for WiFi calling on AT&T’s network, whether MMS over WiFi works on AT&T’s network and to what degree comes down to what AT&T allows on its network.

This is the reality of relying on the infrastructure of one’s cellular network partner. Old Republic could do some things differently, (all supported phones had WiFi calling and text messaging, its own call blocking technology, Extend Home, Republic Anywhere, etc.) precisely because old Republic used a proprietary blend of VoIP (WiFi) and cellular. I’m not saying one approach is necessarily better than the other. Each comes with its own set of caveats.

@cbwahlstrom, I think I’ve seen you mention this as a possibly workaround in another thread. I appreciate the tip, but I imagine you can understand that even if it works, it’s not really useful.

Disabling Wifi calling would certainly then mean you could not place or receive calls while only on Wifi, which is kind of worse than being able to call & SMS but not MMS when only on Wifi, you know?

So while it’s interesting (if true – I may test this later on the 5.0 phone I’ve got), it’s not really a solution.

It would just cause further questions about how the APN setup would allow that to happen just because Wifi calling is disabled, if my understanding of why MMS over Wifi would work in any scenario with any provider is correct.

No, of course it’s not especially useful, but it indicates possibility. I don’t believe messing with APN settings is going to provide a solution. Folks have had issues trying to use Wi-Fi for MMS on AT&T for at least 3 years. Luckily MMS is a dying medium.

Of course, I’m not blaming Republic. It will almost certainly be all an issue of what AT&T allows on it’s network (technically with the APNs) both in general, even on their premium (post paid) service and for prepaid and MVNO service.

I just want to make sure that we fully run down the possibilities on this to make sure that we don’t miss the opportunity to actually make this work just because initially it’s not.

We’ve already seen some confusion with poor (if not fully incorrect) instructions from Republic on how to define APNs, 2 to 3 of which are possibly pointless. That suggests to me that they got some bad information from AT&T already vis-a-vis APNs.

Presuming you are referring to its intended replacement RCS, perhaps, but you’re forgetting the roughly half of the U.S. market that uses iPhone. There is currently no RCS support on iPhone and zero indication Apple is in any hurry to add it. So, unless Android users are content to live in their own “walled garden” an intermediary is needed and, for better or worse, that intermediary remains MMS.

Precisely why I have asked Republic to clarify with its network partner (whom we are free to name but Republic contractually might not be), if necessary, whether or not MMS over WiFi is supposed to work then offer that clarity to the Community.

If it’s supposed to work, then proving it doesn’t, at least on some phones, is relevant. If it’s not supposed to work, all the testing and troubleshooting of phones in the world won’t help.

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