No cell service without Internet connection


What phone do you have? Moto X First Gen

What plan are you on? Republic refund

Does your plan include data, or just talk & text? .5 GB data/month

Issue Description:

A strange problem: Whenever our Internet service is temporarily down, as it was yesterday for several hours, my wife and I are unable to connect to any cell service on our Republic phones (first gen Moto X on the refund plan). This has happened a few times over the years and it’s extremely frustrating. I tried turning off wifi, but the phone still couldn’t connect to any cell service. Today, with our Internet service restored, the cell service is working again, with a strong 3+bar signal. Why would the failure of Comcast Internet service affect our Republic wireless cell connection? The same issue happened when Century LInk was our ISP.


You may have to voip your phone (reset the cell provider settings).


Can that still be done if you don’t have Internet access?

I also found this

Unfortunately I’ll have no way of knowing if these suggestions work until the next time I’m without Internet service, which is a bit disconcerting. I think the real point is that this shouldn’t even be an issue with the phones. The whole point of Republic is to switch seamlessly between wifi and cellular. I’m seriously thinking about trying Google Fi to avoid this problem in the future.


I find Project Fi far worse in regards to live wifi to cell call handover.
In my experience, it always drops the call, both on my Nexus 5X and Pixel XL.
Also a thing to note, that the R.W. Moto X 1st gen can not be used on any other carrier.

Have your tried the VOIP reset that bocephous suggested?


Yes, I tried that suggestion but as I mentioned in my post above there’s no way to know if it fixed the problem until the next time I lose Internet access.

And I’m aware that Republic’s Moto X Gen 1 can’t be used with other carriers. If I switch to Fi I’ll try to sell the Moto X, which has the advantage of working with Republic’s refund plan.


Turn your wifi on the phone off & see if cell calls work.
This happens sometimes to me in 6.5 yrs I voip reset maybe 4 times.


Thanks for the tip, bocephous. Cell calls do work if I turn off wifi–and the phone has always worked that way. The problem is that when our our Internet service gets knocked out cell calls don’t work, even when I turn off wifi.


Here’s my guess. When your internet goes down but your wifi stays up, the phone stays connected to the wifi and for some reason doesn’t detect the missing internet access and therefore tries to dial out using wifi. Turning off wifi in that situation, and therefore forcing the phone to use cellular only (as you just did) should work in that situation. The phone has no way to know what’s going on with your wifi, when it is turned off on the phone.


That’s the crux of the problem–I turned off the wifi and the cellular still didn’t work.


It is quite literally impossible that the state of your home internet connection is even known to the phone, much less impacting it, when wifi is turned off.

On the other hand it is possible, though unlikely, that the internet problem impacting you at your house is also impacting the cell tower that services your house, taking it down and therefore preventing your phone from using cellular not because of anything to do with your wifi, but because the issue impacting your home network has also taken the cell tower down.


That’s what I thought the first time this happened. But after three or four instances I think something else must be going on. Our neighbors were able to use their cell phones while the neighborhood’s Internet access was down. We couldn’t use our phones.


Do you know what carrier they’re using? Given the fact that an outage can impact a single carrier, but not the other 3-4 major network owners, that might not prove that it isn’t a tower issue.


Again, something like that might have happened once, but three or four times over the course of two or three years? Seems unlikely. During the outage–which hit our entire town–I drove to our small downtown to see if I could pick up a cell signal–no dice, even though I saw other people walking around using their phones.
So for some reason it seems that if Internet service is suddenly disrupted my aging Republic phone is unable to switch to–or even find–a cell network. Normally, when I manually disable wifi the phone readily picks up a cell signal but that doesn’t work whenever our Internet service goes down.


Honestly, I’m out of ideas. But I’m also 100% sure that it is impossible for the status of your home network to interfere with the phone when you’re in airplane mode, or miles away. In these situations you could also restart the phone (power off and on) which would completely sever the connection with the network/wifi and force the phone to search again.


I don’t think it’s a case of the status of the home network interfering with the phone in airplane mode. Rather, it’s the loss of an Internet connection while wifi is turned on that somehow prevents the phone from acquiring a cell signal. FWIW I restarted the phone a number of times during the outage and the phone still couldn’t pick up a cell signal.


Hi @gannicus,
Let’s see if a few more details can get us closer to an answer.

Can you tell us exactly what steps you’re taking to “turn off Wi-Fi”?

Could you tell us who the internet provider is for your neighborhood?

This theory is entirely able to be put to the test. On a good day when both Wi-Fi and cell are working as intended, connect your phone to Wi-Fi, then unplug your router. Once the phone loses its internet connection, take the same steps you normally take to “turn off Wi-Fi” and see if it connects to cell.


Thanks for your suggestions, Southpaw. First I should mention that this is an older phone, with Android version 5.1. To turn off wifi, I go to settings>wifi, and then slide the button to “off.”

Our internet provider is Comcast.

I just turned off our router and I was able to connect to a cell network. So could it be that Sprint’s towers are somehow affected by a Comcast outage? The same thing happened to us when we had DSL service with Century Link.


Sorry @gannicus, I see you already told us your ISP is Comcast and used to be Centurylink when you began the topic. My old eyes are about exhausted from squinting at a very small laptop screen today, and I clearly missed that.

You mentioned above that the whole town has been affected by these internet outages, and that it’s a small town.

I’m sure some of our more technical Community members could figure out the relationship between Sprint and your local ISP, if you wanted to let them know what town. I would definitely believe the two were connected when you were on CenturyLink - CenturyLink acquired Embarq some time back, and Embarq was the landline business unit of Sprint.

From what you’re describing it does seem the only explanation is either that the source of internet connectivity for Sprint and Comcast is the same in your town, and when one is down, both will be down; or that there is some other underlying cause that affects both companies, like a localized power outage or a conduit breach that severs a major cable for both companies.

With your phone being an older phone, as you begin to consider possibly upgrading, it might be interesting to see how your coverage compares on one of our GSM SIM cards, and then whether the same thing happens during a local ISP outage.

Have you asked any of your friends and neighbors who their cell provider is? If you find anyone who is using Sprint and was able to use the phone normally during the outage, then we are back to figuring out why your phones wouldn’t connect.


My old eyes sympathize with yours! We live in northwestern New Mexico, in a small town called Gallup. So far we’ve only asked one friend about phone service during the outage but she wasn’t using Sprint. I’ll ask around some more. But as I mentioned I did see a few people using phones during the outage–I didn’t know them so I didn’t approach them.


My apologies ! I have backed away as this is way above my lucky “8” ball of answers. Seriously this will take someone with more hands on to figure out. My best to you in this holiday season.