My Choice Plan, no data when roaming

I just upgraded from the RW 2.0 plan to the RW 4.0 plan. I signed up with RW in the first place because I like their model…don’t use Cell Data much? Don’t pay much. Use WiFi! Unlimited WiFi. Phone and internet! Super.

So I was a good RW customer and didn’t use much cell data. My phone gave up the ghost and i upgraded to a new phone…and HAD to upgrade to the 4.0 plan. Well, I thought, at least I’ll have 1GB of data to use, and since I’m paying for it, I may as well use it. A change in mindset.

So out of the normal area this weekend and find I’m roaming. No worry, right? RW says “don’t worry about roaming…it says roaming, but we don’t worry about that…you’re covered!”

Not so. No roaming data allowed. Checked with support, and they gave me this page:

Republic Wireless Help page on Roaming…

I am livid now. I use very little data since I’m almost always near WiFi and make it a point to be a “good member”. The only place I want data is where I can’t get WiFi. And since we’re in a relatively remote cell data area, once I leave for the hills, I don’t get primary service. I DO get cell service, which is great, but now, NO data. At ANY price.

If I can’t take advantage of what I’m paying for, give me back my Refund Plan!

Or am I missing something?

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Hi @michaelw.bmd8mi,

I’m sorry to see this experience has left you livid.

Could you please point me to where it says that?

At $5 per GB, what you are paying for is only native cellular data, not roaming data.
You would need to move back to one of the phones that still supports the Refund plan in order to move back to that plan.

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Hi @michaelw.bmd8mi,

I’m sorry to see this experience has left you livid.

Thanks for this. I’m still livid.

michaelw.bmd8mi:
RW says “don’t worry about roaming…it says roaming, but we don’t worry about that…you’re covered!”

Could you please point me to where it says that?

This was on a chat when I was going to upgrade. Perhaps the misinformation was that voice roaming is covered, but not data. Like I said, the plan pages do not say this… In fact, you have to dig to get the information. Seems to me that given I was upgrading from a data roaming plan, it would be important to tell me of this change.

If I can’t take advantage of what I’m paying for, give me back my Refund Plan!

At $5 per GB, what you are paying for is only native cellular data, not roaming data.

You would need to move back to one of the phones that still supports the Refund plan in order to move back to that plan.

Ahhhh, great idea. But alas, you cannot do this. I was told that even if I replaced with another identical phone I would have to change plans.

It would seem to me that I could be given the choice. I use very little data, but more that o pay for it, I’d like to be able to use it.

I understand. It’s a very emotional experience when you try to make sure you are fully informed before making a decision, and then find out some unexpected detail after the fact. I’ve had similar experiences with other companies and become livid, too. We try not to do this to our members.

Thank you. I’ll try to review your chat history and advise that team to be far more clear about changes from the Refund plan to the My Choice plan. There is no reason for a chat agent to deliver incomplete information. They have no incentive to close a sale, only to provide our members with the information and answers they need in order to make sound decisions about our service.

There’s a lot of information to cover, and what is most important to one person, isn’t always what’s most important to another. We’ve had people come to Community and demand to know why the fact that you have to dial all 10 digits to make a call isn’t front and center on our website. We try to make all the information our members need, available, and we even study what topics people search for the most and open tickets about the most, in order to try to prioritize the information most people are looking for.

I checked, thinking I’d make sure to add the information if it were missing, but I see that our Help Document on our My Choice plans has a FAQ about roaming data.

I assure you, the Republic Wireless Moto E (1st and 2nd Gen), Moto G (1st and 3rd Gen) and Moto X (1st and 2nd Gen) can still be activated on the Republic Refund plan. They cannot be activated on the My Choice plan.

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Most customers, even if on the Refund Plan, don’t use roaming data since at $274.50 per GB it isn’t exactly practical to use.

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@louisdi

michaelw.bmd8mi:
Seems to me that given I was upgrading from a data roaming plan

Most customers, even if on the Refund Plan, don’t use roaming data since at $274.50 per GB it isn’t exactly practical to use.

First, I agree, MOST customers don’t. In fact, that was RW’s original goal and advertising hook…“use wifi, not cell data…be a responsible RW member.” Probably one of the primary reasons I came to RW! And, in that, I represent MOST customers, as my past roaming (and, even non-roaming) data use shows. But, under the Refund Plan, I at least had the OPTION to use roaming data. I rarely used any data, and therefore paid very little, sometimes nothing, for data. But now, if I use ANY data, it costs me for ALL of it. So even though I pay for it, I don’t have the OPTION to use it roaming. Even if I want to. I’d not be nearly as upset if I at least didn’t have to pay for all of it.

Second, according to what I’ve seen, the roaming data cost if something like 18.3x as expensive as non-roaming. At $5/G for non-roaming, I think the data ends up costing something like 91.50/G. That's still not practical to use as a general rule, but at least when I'm in the middle of nowhere with no RW signal, but a 4 bar roaming signal, and need data (for example, to set up GPS navigation or check email), I could, at my option use it. Especially since I am paying for it and still mostly don't use it. I could use, say, a few M for that purpose at a cost of .25 or so. But I cannot.

It’s not so much that I cannot use it that bothers me as much as it is not clear on the advertising/upgrade that this is not an option. I think the change from having the option to use it is a rather big item to miss. And, again, since I’m now paying for data whether I use it or not!

Data on the Refund Plan is $15/GB. At 18.3x the cost (which is correct) it is $247.50/GB

Data is 66.6% less expensive on the new plans. For most users this is far more desirable then getting back a small refund when they leave some data behind. Republic didn’t change the plan and reduce data prices by 2/3 because they wanted to be generous, they did it because the Refund Plans weren’t attractive in the market. There are lots of threads on this, but if there was a real demand for this type of the plan there would be more than Google Fi and a couple of really small niche carriers that offer these sort of pricing model.

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Thanks for the reply. Comments below…

michaelw.bmd8mi:
I’m still livid.

I understand. It’s a very emotional experience when you try to make sure you are fully informed before making a decision, and then find out some unexpected detail after the fact. I’ve had similar experiences with other companies and become livid, too. We try not to do this to our members.

Thanks for your understanding. A common thread throughout my responses is that it’s not so much that I can’t use roaming as it is that I have to pay for it and can’t use it. You’ll see that I am exactly what RW was originally soliciting for in customers (members…)…that is, someone who came to RW because of the refund plan, someone who adhered to the RW ethos of “use wifi, not cell data…save yourself and everyone else money!” That ethos has now gone by the wayside with the change to the 4.0 plan. Now I am encouraged to use cell data with the “use it or lose it” plan. That’s the burr under my saddle.

michaelw.bmd8mi:
This was on a chat when I was going to upgrade.

Thank you. I’ll try to review your chat history and advise that team to be far more clear about changes from the Refund plan to the My Choice plan. There is no reason for a chat agent to deliver incomplete information. They have no incentive to close a sale, only to provide our members with the information and answers they need in order to make sound decisions about our service.

As I (think) I said somewhere, it may have been my misunderstanding or failure to ask the right question. If I asked…“is roaming included?” and the agent said yes, s/he was not wrong because (please tell me I’m right on this one…) roaming phone service IS included. I probably did not specifically ask “is roaming DATA service included.” So by not expanding on the answer to the question, the agent was not wrong. And I likely assumed roaming is roaming. After all, that’s what I was used to. And the advertising didn’t say anything different.

michaelw.bmd8mi:
In fact, you have to dig to get the information. Seems to me that given I was upgrading from a data roaming plan, it would be important to tell me of this change.

There’s a lot of information to cover, and what is most important to one person, isn’t always what’s most important to another. We’ve had people come to Community and demand to know why the fact that you have to dial all 10 digits to make a call isn’t front and center on our website. We try to make all the information our members need, available, and we even study what topics people search for the most and open tickets about the most, in order to try to prioritize the information most people are looking for.

I checked, thinking I’d make sure to add the information if it were missing, but I see that our Help Document on our My Choice plans has a FAQ about roaming data.

Like I (think) I said, yes, if one digs far enough it is there. Comparing a staple service controlled by RW (roaming data) to a service totally out of RW control (10 digit dialing) is not a fair comparison. Roaming data was a staple under 2.0. And RW was VERY upfront about it…AND the fact that it is something like 18.3x more costly for roaming than non-roaming. And like mentioned above, that WAS the RW selling feature…it’s there if you need it, but it’s expensive. Don’t use it…don’t pay for it. Honest. Expensive, but honest.

I’m sorry if I seem beyond redemption on this issue, but to me, the change to ‘no roaming whatsoever’ is a sleight of hand trick. In the end, I may stay with RW because, well, just because. I’ll still look around for sure, but I may stay. But you’ve lost a prior strong advocate and proud public promoter of RW. I used to encourage people to switch to RW. Now, unfortunately, RW seems just like the other large providers. I’d be happy to pay a little more now for the ability to have the service I’m paying for. Perhaps you can tell me another provider?

michaelw.bmd8mi:
Ahhhh, great idea. But alas, you cannot do this. I was told that even if I replaced with another identical phone I would have to change plans.

I assure you, the Republic Wireless Moto E (1st and 2nd Gen), Moto G (1st and 3rd Gen) and Moto X (1st and 2nd Gen) can still be activated on the Republic Refund plan. They cannot be activated on the My Choice plan.

On this point, I am pretty sure that I asked about simply replacing my Moto G/3gen with another identical phone and was told I’d have to change to the “use it or lose it” plan. Can you tell me if a Moto X4 phone would work on the Refund plan? That’s the phone my friend switched to.

Thanks for your responses.

michaelw.bmd8mi:
Second, according to what I’ve seen, the roaming data cost if something like 18.3x as expensive as non-roaming. At $5/G for non-roaming, I think the data ends up costing something like 91.50/G.

Data on the Refund Plan is $15/GB. At 18.3x the cost (which is correct) it is $247.50/GB

My mistake…yes, you are correct.

michaelw.bmd8mi:
And, again, since I’m now paying for data whether I use it or not!

Data is 66.6% less expensive on the new plans. For most users this is far more desirable then getting back a small refund when they leave some data behind. Republic didn’t change the plan and reduce data prices by 2/3 because they wanted to be generous, they did it because the Refund Plans weren’t attractive in the market. There are lots of threads on this, but if there was a real demand for this type of the plan there would be more than Google Fi and a couple of really small niche carriers that offer these sort of pricing model.

I still say…I should be able to use roaming data at my choice. Perhaps I need the roaming data…maybe 2-3M. Would it be worth less than $1 for it? Sure would. ESPECIALLY if I’m already paying for it. That’s my gripe. This is now the “use it or lose it” plan, and since I don’t typically use it in my daily experience (since I’m around WiFi), I’d like to be able to use it when roaming.

But that’s my problem now. Thanks for your feedback.

No it will not it needs to have the My Choice Plans also

only the older Legacy Phones (The Custom ROM Moto X 1st and 2nd Gen, Moto E 1st and 2nd Gen, and the Moto G 1st, and 3rd Gen) are compatible with the Grandfathered 2.0 Refund plan (which is the only plan that can use roaming data but at a rate of $247.50 most have it turn off)

michaelw.bmd8mi:
Can you tell me if a Moto X4 phone would work on the Refund plan?

No it will not it needs to have the My Choice Plans also

only the older Legacy Phones (The Custom ROM Moto X 1st and 2nd Gen, Moto E 1st and 2nd Gen, and the Moto G 1st, and 3rd Gen) are compatible with the Grandfathered 2.0 Refund plan (which is the only plan that can use roaming data but at a rate of $247.50 most have it turn off)

Ah…now this IS interesting…I KNOW he has the X4. He recently upgraded from a MotoG and I think used the same SIM card. Would it be possible to use the G SIM in the X4?

I also witnessed him getting roaming data…and in fact, he hotspotted his phone so I could use data. So now I’m really wondering…maybe he had his Verizon hot spot there, but I don’t think so. This is weird…

Good morning, @michaelw.bmd8mi,

I did spend some time late last night reviewing your chat and ticket history, and I’ll agree with what you’ve written above. The context of the question did not bring her to a realization that the use of roaming data was important to you. You are right that roaming is included for calling and texting, where our cellular partner’s roaming agreements with their roaming partners allow it. In fact, MMS (text messages with photos) consume a surprising amount of data, and we foot the bill for that, even when you’re roaming. The agent was also correct that there are no “substantial charges” for leaving roaming data enabled in the Android settings, even though the generic Android warning tries to scare you about that. In order for calling, texting, and some functions of the Republic Wireless app to work correctly, we need roaming data enabled on the phone, but we don’t charge you for the data (roaming or otherwise) the Republic Wireless features and functions consume.

I wasn’t suggesting that 10-digit dialing and roaming data are comparable as far as what they offer or who controls them, and I probably didn’t fully flesh out what I was describing there, but the point I was trying to make is that what’s vitally important to one person and in his mind must be “front and center” on our website, isn’t important to everyone else. We’ve prioritize the things that we find the most people ask about and search for. It’s something we monitor closely.

Marketing and Documentation are two very different things. You’ll have a very hard time finding a Marketing approach that highlights what a service doesn’t offer. The advertising on our website focuses on what the service does offer. Our documentation (what you refer to as having to dig for it) is where you go for the details. The My Choice Coverage page shows:

image
It specifies “talk and text roaming,” not just “roaming” and certainly not “data roaming.”

I wouldn’t say you are encouraged to use it, really. At $15 per GB on the Refund plan, you were incentivized to use it sparingly, if saving money was your thing. At $5 per GB, we hope that there’s enough value in the overall annual cost of service, that if you don’t use every byte every month, you won’t feel like there was money wasted. But I do understand that it is a different strategy, not the one you originally bought into, and not what you want.

Changing providers, especially if our coverage is not available where you need it, is definitely an option for you, but no, I’m not someone who could point you to another provider. There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to keep up with the demands of my own job, and keeping current on our competitors’ coverage and offers is beyond the scope of my capabilities.

The phones I listed are the only phones that support the Republic Refund plan.

You’ve mentioned a friend using an X4, and I hope you won’t mind my publicly stating that I saw your mention of him in your chat conversations as well and that he did have data when you didn’t. That’s interesting to me, and makes me wonder if perhaps his phone is equipped with our other SIM card. We provide service through partnerships with two national carriers. It’s quite possible your phone has a SIM card on one of the carrier networks, and his phone has a SIM card on the other. You can verify this by opening the Republic app, tapping the settings gear, and selecting “About” from that menu. Have him do the same. The SIM type is listed on the About screen. If he has our other SIM card and you’d like to give it a try, just let me know and I’ll get one out to you. Our SIM cards expire 20 days after they are deactivated, so it’s not practical to switch back and forth on demand, but it’s certainly something we could work with you on if this location where you had no data is a place you visit often.

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the Moto G 1st Gen has no SIM card (it’s a CDMA only phone Sim are for GSM & LTE networks)
swapping phones by moving SIMs is a GSM feature and any CDMA+LTE SIM can not just be moved to another phone (Legacy phones are all CDMA only)
Republic has 2 network partners one CDMA (Sprint the network the Legacy Phones work on) the other is GSM (T-Mobile)
If your friend moved from a Moto G4 (or G4 Play, G4 Plus) or the Moto G5 Plus, or Moto G5S Plus then their SIM could of been GSM and moved between phones)

I don’t see which phone you moved to some of the current phones are GSM only while most can be activated with either partner


Thank you for your continued support. I do appreciate it.

Good morning, @michaelw.bmd8mi,

michaelw.bmd8mi:
it may have been my misunderstanding or failure to ask the right question. If I asked…“is roaming included?” and the agent said yes, s/he was not wrong because (please tell me I’m right on this one…) roaming phone service IS included.

I did spend some time late last night reviewing your chat and ticket history, and I’ll agree with what you’ve written above. The context of the question did not bring her to a realization that the use of roaming data was important to you. You are right that roaming is included for calling and texting, where our cellular partner’s roaming agreements with their roaming partners allow it. In fact, MMS (text messages with photos) consume a surprising amount of data, and we foot the bill for that, even when you’re roaming. The agent was also correct that there are no “substantial charges” for leaving roaming data enabled in the Android settings, even though the generic Android warning tries to scare you about that. In order for calling, texting, and some functions of the Republic Wireless app to work correctly, we need roaming data enabled on the phone, but we don’t charge you for the data (roaming or otherwise) the Republic Wireless features and functions consume.

Thanks for reviewing and affirming my recollection of the conversation. It does bring some clarity to the issue. It was my failure at not asking the specific question.

michaelw.bmd8mi:
Comparing a staple service controlled by RW (roaming data) to a service totally out of RW control (10 digit dialing) is not a fair comparison.

I wasn’t suggesting that 10-digit dialing and roaming data are comparable as far as what they offer or who controls them, and I probably didn’t fully flesh out what I was describing there, but the point I was trying to make is that what’s vitally important to one person and in his mind must be “front and center” on our website, isn’t important to everyone else. We’ve prioritize the things that we find the most people ask about and search for. It’s something we monitor closely.

Yes, I understand your point. My point was eliminating the data roaming, while perhaps not important to all, is a substantial change for anyone using it and not savvy enough to ask the specific question.

michaelw.bmd8mi:
And I likely assumed roaming is roaming. After all, that’s what I was used to. And the advertising didn’t say anything different.

Marketing and Documentation are two very different things. You’ll have a very hard time finding a Marketing approach that highlights what a service doesn’t offer. The advertising on our website focuses on what the service does offer. Our documentation (what you refer to as having to dig for it) is where you go for the details. The My Choice Coverage page shows:

image

It specifies “talk and text roaming,” not just “roaming” and certainly not “data roaming.”

Yes, again, my bad for not being specific.

michaelw.bmd8mi:
Now I am encouraged to use cell data with the “use it or lose it” plan. That’s the burr under my saddle.

I wouldn’t say you are encouraged to use it, really. At $15 per GB on the Refund plan, you were incentivized to use it sparingly, if saving money was your thing. At $5 per GB, we hope that there’s enough value in the overall annual cost of service, that if you don’t use every byte every month, you won’t feel like there was money wasted. But I do understand that it is a different strategy, not the one you originally bought into, and not what you want.

Yes, RW was built and promoted on “being different” than the rest…by promoting WiFi over cell data. I recall the essence of the motto…something like, “you shouldn’t have to pay for access…use WiFi”. With 4.0, this has changed. You no longer encourage savings. You’re no longer that different.

michaelw.bmd8mi:
I’d be happy to pay a little more now for the ability to have the service I’m paying for. Perhaps you can tell me another provider?

Changing providers, especially if our coverage is not available where you need it, is definitely an option for you, but no, I’m not someone who could point you to another provider. There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to keep up with the demands of my own job, and keeping current on our competitors’ coverage and offers is beyond the scope of my capabilities.

Yes, I figured you wouldn’t know this.

michaelw.bmd8mi:
Can you tell me if a Moto X4 phone would work on the Refund plan? That’s the phone my friend switched to.

The phones I listed are the only phones that support the Republic Refund plan.

You’ve mentioned a friend using an X4, and I hope you won’t mind my publicly stating that I saw your mention of him in your chat conversations as well and that he did have data when you didn’t. That’s interesting to me, and makes me wonder if perhaps his phone is equipped with our other SIM card. We provide service through partnerships with two national carriers. It’s quite possible your phone has a SIM card on one of the carrier networks, and his phone has a SIM card on the other. You can verify this by opening the Republic app, tapping the settings gear, and selecting “About” from that menu. Have him do the same. The SIM type is listed on the About screen. If he has our other SIM card and you’d like to give it a try, just let me know and I’ll get one out to you. Our SIM cards expire 20 days after they are deactivated, so it’s not practical to switch back and forth on demand, but it’s certainly something we could work with you on if this location where you had no data is a place you visit often.

No problem mentioning my friend…I have a lot of friends and didn’t give any specifics. So, now I’m a bit confused…if he is on the 4.0 plan, and has the X4, but a different SIM, he could be getting roaming data?

not that he’s getting Roaming data but he may not be roaming where you are if you have a different underlying carriers (CDMA which uses the Sprint network vs GSM which uses the T-Mobile Network)

would you mine providing a Zip code (we can look up the coverage of the are)

No. The My Choice plan does not include roaming data.

We provide coverage through partnerships with Sprint and T-Mobile and the type of SIM card in your phone determines which one of those is the carrier whose towers your phone uses.

When you leave an area where that carrier has native coverage, there are a couple of possibilities. Either the phone will have no coverage, or it can “roam” onto another carrier’s towers. The ability to roam on another carrier’s towers is based on mutual agreements the carriers make amongst themselves, and because we don’t own any towers, for us it is very expensive.

The two carriers have completely different coverage footprints. What’s possible is not that your friend’s My Choice plan includes roaming, but that the SIM card in his phone provides coverage with the other carrier - not the one your phone has. That would mean that he might have coverage where you don’t. Not that he’s roaming, he just has a different coverage area than you do.

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OK, this mystery may be close to being solved. He said his card is GSM. And he’s paying $5/G for this data…which is consistent with him not roaming.

We both live in 13676. I was told CDMA is what would serve me best…can you point me to the GSM vs CDMA coverage map? Maybe that will help me see the big picture.

Thanks.

Yes, mystery solved…his is a GSM, mine CDMA. Strange, we both live in the same area but have different SIM cards. Is there a comparison coverage map for the 2 SIM services? That would help see the differing coverage areas.

I found going to the carrier maps gets the the best results
for GSM https://maps.t-mobile.com/pcc.html?map=mvno-roamd-34l


for CDMA https://coverage.sprint.com/IMPACT.jsp

Thank you! I will look over this…you say if I want, I can change from CDMA to GSM?

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