Republic Wireless announces a limited-participant iPhone Beta

:tada: Republic Wireless is pleased to announce our iPhone BETA!

Be one of the first to activate an iPhone at Republic Wireless!

If you have a compatible iPhone and would like to participate, we encourage you to sign up quickly! A limited number of spots are available.

Beta participants will enjoy a special price of $40 a month (plus taxes and telecom fees) for unlimited Talk and Text with 8GB of data. This price is guaranteed to our Beta participants for that service line for one year.

Beta participants are encouraged to write about their iPhone experience in our Member Community, and will be expected to fill out a few short feedback surveys during Beta project.

Help us bring iPhone to Republic Wireless! Apply to participate in our iPhone Beta today!

apply


What to expect with iPhone BETA

Not all Republic features will be supported on the iPhone, and not all iPhone features will be supported on Republic. :face_with_monocle:

Feature Notes
Calls, texts, and 4G data Nationwide calling, texting, and 8 GB of 4G LTE data. Coverage not available in all areas, please check our coverage map before signing up.
Voicemail No voicemail notification. This feature is currently being worked on and will be one of the first updates we roll out to our BETA users. In the meantime, you can check for voicemail by dialing 1.
Text messaging to non-iPhone users Settings will need to be updated during activation for text messaging to work properly. iMessage will function normally.
Apple Watch Calling and messaging on Apple Watch is not supported.
WiFi calling WiFi calling will be unavailable; calls will always route over cell.
FaceTime over cellular FaceTime over cellular is not supported.
Personal hotspot Using your iPhone as a personal hotspot is not available.

Questions, thoughts, comments? Reply below!

16 Likes

My initial thought is that’s a pretty big list of not supported and not available for $40/month. What is the project plan target date for getting all of these things operational?

1 Like

Hi @cbwahlstrom,

There are seven items on the list. Coverage is with our GSM SIM card, that’s not likely to change.
While there’s no target date to share, the voicemail notification is a top priority for our developers. The third item on the list is just to alert users that they will need to update some settings, it’s not really an issue of something being unsupported.

That leaves us with four items that are not supported and that do not currently have a projected date for support. This is something we want to be clear about as people consider signing up, rather than stringing people along with a promise of better things to come. Feedback and information we collect during BETA may help drive those items to be checked off the list.

Which ones specifically are dealbreakers for you?

2 Likes

iPhones have been a popular requested feature as phones people do still like them. However, this brings up what it means to be with Republic Wireless and what the service was founded on.

Republic Wireless from the beginning was a wifi first company as I can remember and the savings we have are because we know we can use wifi for everything from calling, messages, to data.

The biggest limitation of iPhones has been the inability to use Republic ideas and technology for wifi calling, the seamless handover, etc.

So what does that leave us with? No wifi optimizations and a high ish data limit, feels like a traditional phone plan / MVNO. Although calls and text messages are now cheap, one thing from the past, we knew that it unlimited and high data plans are sustainable because low use members offset high use members. From personal experiences too, if you offer data, people will think it is theirs to use (which may be true) and mobile data usage goes up which also brings up costs.

It moves away from the roots of Republic Wireless and the idea that we can be wifi users.

4 Likes

Hi @happywillow0,

Thanks for your feedback! We love to see our members hold true to our Wi-Fi-first roots and the application of that philosophy toward lowering the cost of cell phone service and saving everyone more money.

As we’ve said from the very beginning of our service, we hold out hope of being able to one day bring the Republic Wireless experience, just as you’ve described it, to iPhone users. That day still requires collaboration with other parties. We remain optimistic we’ll celebrate that day in the future.

This offer is a limited BETA. Think of it as a start. We’ll always look for ways to improve. In this case, a small number of interested participants will help us determine the demand for iPhone products on our service, the features they require, how much data an iPhone user needs, and other factors that can help us offer Republic Wireless savings to more people.

6 Likes

I’m too cheap to be an Apple customer, but my friends and coworkers use FaceTime over cellular. Several coworkers use Apple Watch messaging.

3 Likes

I share concerns over limited feature support. Nevertheless, as I have access to an iPhone and based on the theory one needs to start somewhere, I’ve asked into the beta.

For me, it’s the lack of WiFi calling and to a lesser degree hotspot use that are the most concerning. If I had an Apple Watch (I don’t), I would be more concerned with full functionality there.

Interestingly, there’s a wide variety of service providers offering differing levels of iPhone feature support. Apple documents that here:

2 Likes

I’m not sure they keep that document up to date. I see some service providers offering higher levels of service than are listed in the support document.

I can’t authenticate the degree of accuracy but Apple says toward the end of the document:

Published Date: June 24, 2019

A lot of people have asked for iPhone support for a long time, and it seems many users thought the day would never come. The fact that Republic is trying to support the iPhone in any capacity is encouraging.

That said, I use less than 0.5 GB per month, so this plan would not be a good fit for me. I’m hoping that eventually Republic will offer an iPhone plan for light data users and find a way to include WiFi calling.

6 Likes

As a new iPhone adopter, I’m exciting that iPhone support is getting closer. I hope some of these limitations
will improve over time. My two cents, in order of priority…

  • Like AUser.Resau, I don’t need 8 GB of data. I typically use 1, so lesser options would be nice.
  • Voicemail notification would be a must for me. One of my favorite features of iOS 13 is the ability to automatically send calls from not in your contacts to voicemail. But I’m not going to keep calling to check to see if there are new messages.
  • WiFi calling is important to me. If cell signal is week or I’m out of the country, I really count on this.
  • On my android phone, I recently switched from the GSM provider to CDMA provider for better coverage on my daily commute. I’m not sure I want to go back to GSM again.

I’ll keep an eye on the progress here and hope to eventually sign up for iPhone service on RW.

5 Likes

So… even if we call our original provider to get the phone unlocked OR if we jailbreak the phone, it is not applicable for this program?

… as most people don’t purchase factory unlocked phones due to significant price increases. And, an old iPhone6 sitting around isn’t doing anything.

Thanks for any replies.

Hi @brianh.qnnh4q,

What is said for your iPhone 6’s model number as described by Republic in this Help Center article:

2 Likes

I’m frankly surprised that participation in beta costs anything at all. That said, there are “no contract” plans available from other providers, and not limited to wifi for internet access (as my current plan is) for the same cost, and these plans aren’t beta.

Frankly, I feel that Republic users would be better off NOT focusing on launching a iPhone. I understand that it would open Republic to the demand from the “iPhone or die” crowd. But I fear that this will further delay the launch of a better selection of Androids which seem slow to launch already.

Hey @southpaw is this still going on? I’m probably going to need to get a new phone soon and am wanting to know a) if I got a correct model iPhone if I could give this a spin and/or b) if this will be in wide-release soon (before June?).

Just my two cents on the program anyways:

  • I currently only use about 3GB of data per year, and those are just my a la carte 1GB purchases in random months where I need them. My actual usage is probably less than that. So I’d love to see a similar plan where we can opt out of any recurring data purchase and buy it a la carte.
  • I love the buy per year and get 2 months free option that I’ve currently got.
  • Wi-Fi calling is great, so however your developers can make that work would be awesome.

Thanks for working on this!

Hi @calebg,

Obviously, I’m not southpaw but I am a participant in Republic’s iPhone beta. To date, the beta is invitation only and currently full. Republic may add additional testers as time goes by. You may ask to be added to the wait list here: https://landing.republicwireless.com/iphone-beta. There has been no indication given regarding general availability other than that’s, of course, the goal.

Right now, there is the single beta plan outlined in southpaw’s original post. I’d like to see that change as well, however, we don’t know that will happen.

Agreed, but not yet an option.

For now, at least, iPhone on Republic is cellular only and only with Republic’s GSM network partner (T-Mobile).

2 Likes

I personally greatly prefer iphone, but still want my limited cell/data usage to be affordable. So even with incompatibilities, I hope to see the adoption of iphone on the cell/text plan with wifi exchange in the normal $20-30 price range. Also due to new iPhones exorbatant prices, I would hope for iphone to be a part of the byop program so I could use an older model.

Doesn’t seem like that’s going to be a problem: (iPhone BETA) List of Compatible iPhones on Republic Wireless – Republic Help

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