Relay - possibilities


I have yet to see any info on how a Relay user would place a “phone” call to another user. How is the phone number “dialed” ?
I would like to have a Relay for the wife, who just doesn’t understand cell phones (nor wants too). Would she be able on the rare occasion to place a voice call from her Relay to my RW Cell phone? Can I place a phone call from my RW phone to her Relay?
Is there a cost yet?


the Relay works like a walkies-talkie, one would set it up between the Relay delve and the phone app (via the phone app)
this would be a 2 way commutation between you phone (via the app) and her relay
there is a monthly cost of $6.99 per device (as it uses a cell network as the main radio (though it will also use WiFi))


Are you saying that the Relay will only connect with one phone number and that is pre-arranged?


As we understand it today, Relay won’t connect with phone numbers at all. Doing so is not the intended design.

Instead Relays will be able to communicate with one another and a Relay app on an Android (not necessarily Republic activated) or iOS device via channels. Exactly how all this will work remains in development, however, one thing seems clear. Relay will not dial phone numbers or otherwise connect to the PSTN (public switched telephone network).




There may be a theoretical future possibility. Google Assistant functionality has been mentioned for Relay. Google Home series devices are able to use Google Assistant to dial regular telephone numbers. Amazon Echos have similar capability via Alexa. One day a Relay might be able to do so via a Google Assistant channel. Neither Amazon Echos or Google Home series devices currently receive calls from regular telephone numbers, so whether the Relay could ever be a viable means of interconnecting with the PSTN remains to be seen.


Too bad. I had hopes of replacing the wife’s RW phone which she doesn’t understands or wants too.

To use the Relay, I’d need to buy two and pay two monthly fees.

Guess I’ll wait.


To use Relay between yourself and your wife, you only will need one Relay for your wife. It will be able to communicate with a Relay app that you install on your smartphone.


I would point out, we’ll all be doing that for a while longer. While we know some about how Relay is intended to work, it remains a work in progress. It’s not yet ready for public release or purchase nor is there an explicit timetable for when it will be.


I personally don’t think we’ll ever see PSTN functionality. I think that it adds a layer of regulatory complexity for a company like Republic that then might be forced (or legally feel like it is forced even if it isn’t officially) to add things like 911/E911.


Sounds better. I assume she could then contact my cell phone, just not actually dial it ?

Any idea on availability ?



On true interconnectivity, I would agree. On the other hand, neither Amazon Echos or Google Home series devices are currently treated as interconnected devices for regulatory purposes. So long as that’s the case, there may be an opening for Relay as well. Time will tell.


Republic had originally said “early 2018”. Nothing more definitive on a timeline for public release and purchase has been provided.


Right, but neither of those are owned by a telecom company. I know that regulations are supposed to be applied equally, but tech companies tend to get away with things in these spaces, where the telecoms don’t. And then there’s the well known conservative legal department…


A question for the famously conservative lawyers to ponder. Is Republic (no longer legally a part of owned by a telecom company? What telephone network does Republic own?


A mere technicality? Sometimes I sound like I know what I’m talking about, but I have no idea how the FCC treats/views MVNOs.


By strict industry definitions, MVNOs are not carriers. Traditionally, the FCC regulates carriers. The gray area is what constitutes an interconnected service? It’s a debate that’s raged in the VoIP community for some time.

For example, while I agree Google is not a carrier or telecom company, is Google Voice an interconnected service? To date, Google has successfully argued that it’s not. Seemingly the line in the sand is Google provides no hardware device for use with GV only software apps. There is (at least) one third party hardware product that does so.

RingTo (now closed) is another example. So long as RingTo worked with Obihai’s hardware devices, Bandwidth (an FCC regulated carrier) mandated 911 on the device. When RingTo became available only via a software app; 911 was no longer deemed a requirement because absent the hardware, it was no longer deemed to be an interconnected service.

If Amazon Echos and Google Home series devices continue not to be seen as providing an interconnected service, I think Republic would have an argument Relay falls into the same class. Whether Republic would choose to make that argument is another matter. I’m not saying they will choose to do so but I do think the case could be made.


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