Removing Republic verified WiFi Hotspots


#1

Originally published at: https://pwk.republicwireless.com/removing-republic-verified-wifi-hotspots/

In April, we introduced Republic verified WiFi Hotspots for our My Choice Plan members. We wanted to raise the standard of our members’ WiFi experience with seamless access to over 30 million hotspots nationwide, so we worked with a partner that provides software and access to this network of hotspots to make it happen. One we made this new feature available to our members, we found that in practice, it didn’t meet our standards for quality and reliability. Because of these findings, we can’t provide this feature to our members in good conscience and will not be offering it moving…


New: Republic verified WiFi hotspots
Verified WiFi Hotspot
Lost Republic Wireless Verified Hotspots
#2

I like the feature and am having no problems with it.
Can it be left in with a warning that YMMV and use at your own risk?
Or put it under an Experimental tab?
Some way to keep it for those users that would like to continue to use it?


#3

Pure speculation on my part, however, I’d guess continuing a partnership enabled by 9% of one’s customers and that is otherwise problematical wouldn’t make business sense.


#4

Very sorry to see this feature disappear. I’ve been amazed that my phone was suddenly working on Wi-fi without intervention in several airports, a hospital, and at restaurant chains–a true Wi-Fi-First innovation.


#5

Popwifi from Devicescape may be an alternative for some who liked this feature. I found it to be an annoying little app, but it did automatically connect to Devicescape’s curated Wi-Fi spots. It was annoying enough that I no longer use it, however.


#6

@cbwahlstrom out of curiosity what was the annoying app the app?


#7

It’s been a couple years since I used it, but when you would connect, it would throw a notification with ads, a message board, etc… letting you know about the place you connected to. It may act differently now.

There’s even a Republic Help article for Popwifi for the old Defy XT:


#8

I also really liked the Republic verified WIFI feature and have had good results with it. Hopefully another provider can be found that provides quality service. If so, why not make using the service the default to ensure a high level of usage?


#9

Unfortunately we’re shutting off access entirely in the next week or so - meaning access to the Republic verified WiFi Hotspots will cease when you’re out and about. Our recommendation is to update your Republic Wireless app when prompted by the Google Play Store.


#10

This is a shame. Its been working quite well for me and my mother. Greatly saves u using data while sopping around as we never take the time to manually search and connect to a stores wifi hotspot.


#11

If only 9% enabled the service obviously a lower % were actually using it due to limited availability. It seems like a small number of members to base the quick decision on.

:flight_departure:


#12

Any way of at least extending it to a 6 month trial period and see how it goes?


#13

I noticed that this feature was auto connecting me to wifi hotspots around my apartment complex, including a guest wifi I did not know existed that my building has in certain public areas that does not show up as a open network. Only because of this feature can I connect to them and it auto authenticates. So, I have been able to enjoy wifi connectivity throughout my entire complex. When I disable the R.W setting, I get nothing and am stuck on low cell signal. The Google version of this does not do anything. R.W’s feature was far more useful.


#14

My experience with this feature is mixed. Locations that didn’t require a sign in worked fine. Locations, such as Starbucks that now requires a sign in, I couldn’t connect to. The page to sign in would disappear before I could complete it, so I had to use data to use their app. Since this feature is now discontinued I can sign into Starbucks.

Thanks for trying and thanks for discontinuing this feature.


#15

Did anybody do a study of the problems and see how they compared by phone model? Perhaps some phones are more or less problematic.


#16

I took my Google phone…Pixel XL…to several places. Starbucks included. Never had any issues with this feature.

Though, many of the other issues I read on this forum seem to be the most prevalent with Moto phones, such as the phone sleeping and causing people issue with no call/texts etc. Having a pure Google phone with no OEM meddling with the Android software I see a benefit to everywhere I go it seems. It just works. The only issues I have had with R.W. has been raw service related and was a valid tech issue on their end, not with my phone, to which they did eventually correct. Even with my phone now on Android 9 §, havnt had any issue with R.W., or the verified hotspot feature. I use it every work day now.


#17

My experience was exactly the same at Starbucks. I also faced the same issue at some other public wifi hotspots as well (Applebee’s comes to mind). The wifi would connect and disconnect quickly in a never ending loop, and it was super annoying to say the least. After disabling the auto connect feature in the RW app settings, I would have no problems in manually connecting to the public wifi hotspot. I got fed up to the point that I just turned off the feature in the RW app settings permanently.

When the RW app got updated to the latest version on my phone, I noticed the feature was no longer an option in the app settings. I thought I was losing my mind until I saw this blog post which helped reaffirm my sanity.

I do empathize with the users for whom this feature worked well and as intended. It’s never fun to lose a working functionality that you actually like or even depend on. However, I also understand why RW made the difficult decision that they did. From a customer service and PR perspective, it’s simply bad practice to deploy a new feature with an inconsistent success record. I know I’m not the only one who couldn’t get it to work

This is the workaround that I use (that works well for me):
Android OS > Settings > Type “wifi” in the Search box > Tap on “Wi-Fi preferences” in the Search results > “Open network notification” > Toggle ON

What this setting does is it gives you a notification banner anytime your phone detects an open wifi hotspot when you’re out and about in public. You can then manually connect to the hotspot if interested. Yes it’s one extra step to manually connect, instead of a seamless auto-connect, but you still get the benefit of not having to manually scan for open hotspots. I find it quite useful to be auto notified of an open hotspot, which then allows me to manually connect to it in all of 2 seconds tops (unless you’re required to enter a junk email address - but this has been rare in my case). Of course, ymmv.

Phone: Pixel 2 (non-XL) by Google
OS: Android 9 Pie (although I had the same issue with Android 8 Oreo)


#18

I have a OG Pixel XL…and both on 8.1 and 9, I havn’t had any issues with this feature. And I took the extra time(and gas) to drive to several popular places, Starbucks, Caribou…several random places downtown, and a few others of the marked hotspots on the coverage maps. All but a few locations triggered the R.W auto connect feature, and it worked fine. The ones that did not trigger it, was just that, nothing happened, though I could manually connect fine. Or, Google’s own feature activated at other locations, like at iHop.

I gave it my best shot, but I can not reproduce this issue.


#19

Well, now that Google has implemented a limit to wifi scanning…making all wifi scanning and diagnostic apps useless now. Because u are only allowed to scan 4 times within 2 minutes if app is in foreground, and 1 scan per 30min if background app. Makes these open hotspot detect apps/services not effective at all.


#20

Count me in, among the users who found that this added great value to my service. I am not happy to see it go. I hope there are other alternatives to increase automatic wi-fi availability.