No Texting When Service Strength has Exclamation

What phone do you have?
Moto X1
What plan are you on?
Does your plan include data, or just talk & text?
No Data

Issue Description

Hey All!

I am hoping some folks with more knowledge of symbology can provide me some information.

For close to a year, I have had an issue where I cannot send or receive text messages (or voice messages) while on the Sprint network and while roaming – when the signal strength indicator features an exclamation point. While the exclamation was not new, the issue was. I can send and receive calls, and the signal strength itself can be weak or very strong. Mostly, this happens in areas where there is no Sprint service, and mostly I see the exclamation whenever roaming. Rarely, it is not there, and I can text fine and I will receive voice message notifications if relevant.

In September of last year, I did open a help ticket into this because it devolved into an inability to make phone calls. After doing all the normal things (mostly reinstalling things and that thing with the pound signs) I was told to do a custom factory reset. That brought things to where I am in the first paragraph sans time for thoughtful observation (I didn’t notice the exclamation connection).

I am not necessarily looking for a fix as I probably do not represent the typical customer; I am curious as to just what could be going on. I do not see this issue coming up here or in broader searches of the internet so suspect that the issue is limited to myself and perhaps a few select others. My thoughts are that, whatever the exclamation point represents, my telephone does not support, and ceased supporting last summer.

Ultimately, I will need to replace this phone at some point, and what I learn about this issue will help guide me tremendously. Though this issue started while I was living in Montana, I visited NW NC to see folks back in April. I previously had no issues with texting there, either, but did then. I continue to have issues in New Mexico. Most concerning is that I can be on the Sprint network and have decreased functionality when the friendly little exclamation comes about… As I tend to live and work in places with limited service (running on WiFi here!) I really want to know as much as I can about the situation.

To sum up:
I cannot send or receive texts whenever the signal strength meter has an exclamation point with it, regardless of whether in Sprint coverage or some other roaming coverage. When there is not an exclamation point, I can send/receive texts, roaming or Sprint.

Thanks for the help!

This is expected behavior as it indicates that the phone is not getting cellular data, making it impossible for your texts to send/receive.

So then, the solution is to try and figure out what’s going on at the time that’s preventing you from getting that data service. Can you share some specific city/states or ZIP codes where you’re having this issue?

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I see. I did not realize that requirement.

Sure! 28615, 59027, 87510 all have the exclamation/no texts. I have been able to text in western Bozeman, MT (not sure what that zip may be, 19th Ave area), but not downtown. Bozeman is all roaming; Sprint supposedly has no coverage whatsoever in MT. I do not have a good location for where I have had Sprint coverage, but no data. I have seen this is NM and CO very recently, in OH and SC in the past. I was at an Urgent Care in the Charleston, SC area, with Sprint coverage, and couldn’t text. Not sure if I can find that address but I will look into it.

Thanks for your help!

All of those areas have lousy Sprint coverage.

59027 has no coverage at all. I would expect nothing to work there.
87510 & 28615 are areas where the coverage is roaming. Because of this I would expect that you would have really unreliable coverage there.

Honestly, if you spend a lot of time in these ZIP codes, I think Republic likely isn’t a good fit.

Thanks for the reply!

It’s true. Actually, none of them are Sprint, they’re all roaming. However, 59027 had fine (roaming) coverage until September 2018, then the texting stopped. I could still call thru March of this year when I left. 28615 was inititally a struggle from 2014-17, when whatever network extenders are were put up. Prior to 2017, I tended to have better luck (while still roaming) with service than folks with Verizon. That area is/was Carolina West. I am too new to 87510 to have any history here. It’s not even my actual zip. There is no cell coverage where I live. Both 28615 and 87510 are unreliable for all, due to topography.

I did look up that urgent care where I had Sprint coverage but no texting:
1850 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., Charleston, SC 29407

I understand that, while roaming, I am at the mercy of that network provider and their management decisions. Republic makes no contracts with them nor guarantees to me about that service. The broader issue is that this seems to be a developing problem, and one that occurs in urban areas, also, even while utilizing Sprint’s coverage.

Do Republic users have large scale issues texting while roaming? I don’t see this coming up. What I am trying to ascertain is if connectivity portions of my phone may be dying or becoming outdated, or if there is a larger yet unspoken issue at hand. You are correct, Republic may not fit my needs, but I am not looking to park a provider in the pasture when it is not the problem. Especially since I like the general ethics of this company.

Is there a way to test whatever allows these functions to happen?

So as far as telecommunication issues in roaming on legacy phone while in roaming, if you are on a refund plan, please open a new ticket with Republic Wireless support and have them check whether or not you are affected by the bug. If you are NOT on the republic refund plan, try upgrading to it perhaps to even include half a gig of data, to see if that were to make a difference.
But generally speaking, since this is an older model of the phone the phone the steps in this order should help alleviate the issue:

  1. Clear Cache on Android

  2. Confirm Basic Network Settings

  3. Update the PRL

  4. VOIP while connected to a public hotspot (Wi-Fi) such as Starbucks

  5. Lastly as indeed per your last year’s ticket, do a custom factory reset with the code provided by Republic Wireless. Please note if you do that reset, you may need to redo the above steps.

Once again if you have exhausted all of the above possible fixes, to reach out to Republic help to confirm or deny if this is part of the bug and do not underestimate migrating to refund plan with data if you are not on it, as a possible workaround

Thanks for the reply!

  1. When I attempted to clear the app cache, the amount of space did not change very much (down by about 300kb). Perhaps that is normal. I also did the system cache and have no idea if it did anything, but with nothing happening besides what the instructions reported, I assume all is well.

  2. The instructions seem to be for 3.0 phones/plans. I don’t have the option to select “cellular networks” but do have one for “mobile networks,” but once there I only have a grayed out option of home network. Nothing about data roaming.

  3. I did a PRL update.

  4. Does a home wifi count as public?

  5. Not performed. The ticket last year was initialized because I lost call capabilities, but that was not especially long after the texting issue popped up. The custom reset resolved all call issues; texting has remained the same.

It would seem that I do not have a bug since I do not have a data plan, but I will likely pursue that option to see what that does. It will take me some days more to do so as I am in and out of the field. I will report back those results and perhaps pursue a help ticket if necessary.

Thanks again for the help I have received from both of you!

Hi @highest_vision,

On the Moto X1, roaming is indicated by a miniature triangle above the cellular “bars” signal-strength icon, not an exclamation point.

The exclamation point would indicate that something is blocking cellular data.

Have you checked your Android Settings to make sure you have cellular data enabled there (even if you don’t have a data plan, it needs to be enabled) and that there is no data use warning set up?


Under “data usage” in settings, cellular data is turned on/to the right/blueish (not gray). Beneath that switch, there is a switch to “Set cellular data limit,” it is turned off/left/gray.

Is that what you mean? There is a chart about usage below that, it does show a 50 gb limit line, and indicates I have used 1.19mb for this cycle (6/13-7/12). It has been higher in the recent cycles listed, as high as 76.92mb, for 4/13-5/12. Presumably all 2019 calendar year.

Those settings sound correct. Thanks for checking.

As an update, I have switched to a data plan. Or will be switching on July 29, with the billing cycle. At that point, I can provide feedback as to what having data offers me while roaming (or not!). The plan is called Republic Refund 0.5GB.

It’s not clear to me what upgrading to a data plan is going to achieve.
Your issue is NOT the absence of data on your plan…but the fact that due to your geographical location you are unable to access cellular data. The cellular data used by RW to send/receive your texts is not charged to you…which is why the text/talk only plan works just fine without buying any extra cellular data.

FWIW, what you are trying to achieve by changing your plan to include 0.5GB data…can also be achieved by making a one-time data purchase which would be available for you rightaway instead of going the plan-change route which you have to wait for the beginning of your next billing cycle on July 29th.

I cannot answer your first question, but as for the second, I cannot ‘add data’ until I switch plans according to the link. I did, however, decide to select the 0GB plan now that I know I can add data buffet style with this newer, but similarly priced, no-data plan. The effective date is still 7/29, at which time I can add my dish of data, and report back on the effects.

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Ok… are you on the older 1.0 plan and you are switching from that to the Refund plan starting with your next billing cycle?

I would be surprised if that transition has any impact on your ability send/receive text messages.

This is correct. It may not have any effect. An antenna in my phone could have died, or been outmoded. One day it worked, the next day, it didn’t. With a new phone, I understand that I will have to relinquish my old plan anyway. No biggie.

Hi @highest_vision,

Are you still experiencing the exclamation point on your signal strength bars?

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