Very Disappointed in RW- Need Help Getting My Number Ported Out

Good evening,

After about 3 years with RW, I decided to make the switch to Straight Talk. Lo and behold, they are unable to transfer my number! My number is coming up as a “landline”!

Uncool, RW. You advertise yourself as a “wireless carrier” when really you are a mostly VoIP service, which makes it extremely difficult for customers to move their numbers away once they’ve ported into your service.

And customer service is virtually nonexistent- awesome. I opened a ticket an hour ago and have not received a response in half an hour.

I would have never signed up for RW in the first place if I’d known they’d take my number and taint it so it would be nearly impossible to leave. Gross business practices. I hope you get sued into oblivion for falsely advertising your services.

Angry rant aside, can anyone help me figure out how to solve this issue? My rep is saying to find a carrier who WILL take my number— how can I tell if a carrier will take my number or not?

Edit: I’m already simultaneously paying for RW and ST. And RW’s idea of “customer support” is to suggest I pay for a THIRD service and send me on my merry way! Great! /s

Hi @stephanies.p6tf4h ,

Welcome to our Member Community. I’m sorry to see your first post here is as you are leaving us. Is there something specific that is causing you to leave?

Our Help Tickets are triaged, assigned, and worked according to urgency. A question about transferring a number away, which is an automated process that our Help Team cannot assist with, would not have the same urgency as a question about a phone that’s not working. Nonetheless, your ticket had a reply within 13 minutes of your submitting it.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing Republic can do to change the policies of the carrier you are moving your number to. We do nothing to prevent them from taking the number. We don’t lock your number. We don’t refuse the transfer. They have a policy in place that they will not accept numbers identified by the FCC as landline numbers, even though most services do transfer both wireless and landline number. Perhaps you might want to ask your new carrier why they refuse to transfer landline numbers?

Since there is nothing Republic can do to change your new carrier’s policies, our agents have suggested a way around that policy, moving first to a cellular carrier that does accept landline numbers. This is the only way we know of to get your new carrier to accept your number. They have also provided a link to a very helpful wiki article by one of our Community members that outlines, step-by-step, how to go about this process.

This is the first I’ve heard of Straight Talk refusing to take our numbers, and we appreciate your bringing it to our attention.

Again, if there is something specific that is causing you to leave that perhaps we could address, we’d be glad to see what we can do.

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Thanks for responding, southpaw.

First of all, yes, I got a response in 13 minutes. Then I responded. And it’s been crickets for going on 2 hours or so.

I feel misled by Republic Wireless and how you market your service. Other carriers clearly identify themselves as a VoIP service. With RW, I thought I was getting a WIRELESS carrier, considering the word is in your company name.

Do your customers know and understand that if they port their numbers in, they will face a good deal of difficulty getting them transferred to another carrier? I know I didn’t. I didn’t know once I started using RW as my cell provider, my number would be labelled a landline number. Knowing this ahead of time certainly would have altered my decision-making process.

Being labelled a landline number has also prevented me from using cash apps. For example, I was slow to hop on the Venmo bandwagon. I downloaded the app yesterday— I was unable to use it to transfer $10 to my SIL in South Dakota because Venmo thinks I am trying to use a landline number. I thought it was their mistake— now I understand why it didn’t work.

And do your customers know that if they submit a ticket for help, the CSR will not even assist them in figuring out which carriers WILL take their numbers? They will just shrug their shoulders and send them on their way?

Also, I have seen other RW reps here try to pull in the FCC, as if this is their fault. I’m sorry but I think that is a copout on the part of RW and an intentionally obfuscating way of framing the issue. This is not an FCC issue.

The problem is that a good deal of your customer base thinks you are a pure mobile carrier and they will have no problem porting out their numbers if they choose to do so. Then when they try to leave RW, they run up against this big problem for which RW still has no solution or workaround.

Knowing that your customers would face this issue if they were to leave, why is this drawback to your service not more clearly communicated PRIOR to customers signing up with RW?

There is no technical reason or anything else inherent about a VoIP number (indeed classified by the FCC as a landline) that prevents Venmo or anyone else from allowing its use to register with their service. It’s a policy decision on their part. For example, Square’s Cash app (a Venmo competitor) has no issue allowing Republic customers using their Republic number for registration. I fully appreciate if one wants to use Venmo that isn’t directly helpful but it does demonstrate Venmo could make a different policy choice if they chose to do so.

Candidly, it would be unrealistic for Republic to maintain a definitive list of suggested alternate service providers willing to accept VoIP numbers as other providers might change their policy without notice. Your post is the first I’ve seen of Straight Talk refusing to transfer a VoIP number. Previously, to the best of my knowledge, the only cellular providers refusing to transfer VoIP or other landline numbers numbers are Altice Mobile, Cricket Wireless and Hello Mobile. As far as I know, any other cellular provider will do so. I am the author of the wiki article to which I believe you were pointed. In that article, I suggest using Ting as an intermediary. Ting is also a fine provider in its own right. For what it’s worth, the wiki article is linked here:

Number classification is absolutely the domain of the FCC. According to the FCC, there are two types of numbers wireless and landline (wireline is the more correct telecom industry term for landline). According to the FCC, VoIP numbers are classified as wirelines. In and of itself, there’s nothing about a wireline number (VoIP or otherwise) preventing any cellular provider from accepting it. The vast majority of cellular providers do so every day. Those that refuse to do so are making a choice. It’s not a matter of being unable, they are unwilling. No service provider including Republic can overrule the FCC’s determination that VoIP numbers are classified as wirelines despite the fact VoIP numbers unlike other wirelines do not require a wire of any kind.

Generally, a current Republic customer who wishes to port their number elsewhere will have no problem doing so. Only those choosing to do business with a provider who has made a policy decision to refuse wireline numbers will. Short of changing its WiFi first business model, Republic cannot provide a solution for the FCC’s number classification or for some cellular providers choosing as a matter of their policy to refuse wireline numbers. The current workaround is what’s outlined in the aforementioned wiki article. If you have questions regarding the process outlined in the wiki article, I’m happy to do my best to help.

All of the above said, I’d like to return to the fact I’ve not previously heard of Straight Talk refusing wireline numbers. You might consider asking someone else at Straight Talk (perhaps a supervisor or porting specialist) to confirm that is indeed their policy. Given Straight Talk does (or at least did) offer a landline service replacement, it would be odd if their policy is indeed to refuse porting wireline numbers. If it is not Straight Talk’s policy to refuse wireline numbers, I suspect someone else at Straight Talk would be able to get it done.

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Although long and thorough, your response failed to acknowledge the most important thing I wrote: I DIDN’T KNOW ONCE I SIGNED UP WITH RW AND PORTED OVER MY NUMBER, IT WOULD BE LABELLED A LANDLINE NUMBER.

This is the source of all my issues yesterday. You can try to muddy the issue by blaming the FCC for their practices, blaming certain providers for not taking the number, or even blaming other vendors for not taking the number but this is not the real issue.

Not sure if you work for RW but if you do, if you and I were sitting across from one another in a room, could you honestly look me in the eyes and make the claim that RW is 100% forthcoming about their business model?

Could you in good conscience say to me that you are NOT relying on less tech-savvy folks such as myself and my elderly parents to not understand the drawbacks of choosing a VoIP cell provider over a “true” wireless provider?

Because, as you can probably tell by my posts, I don’t feel that way. I am under the impression your company is trying to obscure the fact that you are a VoIP provider so others will come to the conclusion I did— that you’re a CELL provider like T-mobile or Verizon and you offer the same apples-to-apples service for a lower price.

Good morning, @stephanies.p6tf4h,

A Help Ticket is not meant to be a real-time conversation. As I explained originally, tickets are prioritized according to urgency. Your initial question was quickly and accurately answered. The follow-up questions or comments do not appear to be of an urgent nature compared to helping a member who is in a situation where his phone is not operating correctly. Our Help Team works very hard to make sure our members get the help they need, and I was addressing your comment that the help is virtually non-existent, so that someone in need of help using our service is not led to believe no one will help them.

You ask why we don’t give a list of all the carriers that do accept our numbers, and @rolandh is exactly right that there’s not a way we can know and maintain a list based on other carriers’ policies. However, I will point out that the help article you were given lists those carriers we are aware of who do not accept our numbers, so we expect carriers not on that list to be willing to transfer our numbers. If we need to add Straight Talk to that list, we will do so. I hope you’ll look into that further with Straight Talk as Roland suggested.

I appreciate your feedback and suggestion that additional information about moving a number to Republic would be of value if presented to our potential members.

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I am not and Republic’s Community Ambassadors are not Republic employees. Therefore, I left your commentary regarding being unaware Republic’s numbers are classified as wireline to someone in a better position than I to address.

I simply wished to provide an explanation regarding the facts as they are and offer insight that might very well get your number to Straight Talk as you desire.

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Thank you for the guide. I will update this thread with the results of attempting to port through an intermediary service. I have chosen Ting and just sent them the porting request. I am upset that this extra step and cost was not more clearly disclosed prior to joining RW.

There is nothing wrong with being a VoIP provider but RW is dishonest about it in their marketing and does not disclose the potential drawbacks of a VoIP number, which is gross. You are not a true cell provider and should clearly state this fact.

As of the writing of this post, I just got an email back from Ting saying there is a problem with my port request. I am now on Day 2 of trying to complete an exercise that should have only taken a couple hours.

Updates to follow.

Did they specify what the issue is? I’m wondering if this is actually the issue with Straight Talk, rather than the classification of the phone number.

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I just got off the phone with Ting.

The port request was kicked back because there was still a live request with Straight Talk. I then called Straight Talk and cancelled the request. That took about half an hour.

I called Ting back and they resubmitted the request. This time, the request was not immediately rejected. They are quoting 5 business days, depending on whether the information I provided them for my RW account matches everything in your system and how quickly RW releases my number to them.

Edit: To expand a bit on my interactions with Straight Talk, I spoke with two different technicians yesterday and spent a good deal of time with both late into the night. Both said they couldn’t port the number.

Did they specifically state this was because it was a wireline number? There are numbers carriers can’t port because they don’t have presence in that area. That won’t change based on what carrier it is coming from. I think this may be what you’re running in to as Straightalk’s FAQ ( Transfer Number to Straight Talk [Transfer Number] - Straight Talk Wireless) talks about porting in landlines, how long it takes and other such things. It appears, as has been out experience, that they have no issue porting in landlines.

Specifically: “LNP allows you to transfer your wireless and landline telephone numbers when switching carriers. You will be able to transfer your numbers between wireless carriers and to and from landline carriers.” and “The transfer process could take as long as 2 business days, but in most cases it only takes a few hours. Transfers for landline phone numbers may take longer.”

Hi there,

Yes. They cited it coming up as a “landline” number as the issue for not being able to port the number. My spouse has been with Straight Talk for years with minimal issues so I doubt coverage is the problem.

Again, if I had known coming up against porting issues, in exchange for saving a little money, was a potential drawback of Republic Wireless’s service, I would likely have never decided to port over my number and my parents’ numbers in the first place.

Now our numbers, once perfectly fine when we were with Ting (and Verizon before them), are no longer recognized as “wireless” numbers. I now have to endure this extra time, expense, and overall headache to switch to another service between work meetings and caring for my two young kids.

Hi @stephanies.p6tf4h,

It is not my intent to beat a dead horse here, however, I do have some concerns.

This is to be expected in the sense that Ting (or another provider) cannot initiate a port with a port to another provider pending. What concerns and is confusing to me is that there was a pending port to Straight Talk that needed to be cancelled. In theory; if Straight Talk’s policy is they are unable to port landline numbers, why would Straight Talk place a port request for a number that by policy they aren’t willing to port?

Is it possible, the Straight Talk technicians you are working with might think the number won’t port because it’s not happening within minutes to hours? Landline ports can take longer. The timeline given to you by Ting of days (though from personal experience porting a Republic number to Ting myself I don’t think it will be the 5 business days they quoted you) is more realistic.

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Coverage has nothing to do with it. Every phone number is tied to a phone company central office by it’s area code and 1st 3 digits. The company accepting the number must have presence in that central office to accept the number. It has nothing to do with cellular coverage.

Just as an additional data point, I just got off the phone with Straightalk, and I check all 3 numbers I have on Republic and they told me all three could be transferred. This matches with their documentation, which I quoted above. You may want to try a 3rd time to get the reason that they can’t port the number because it makes no sense that all their documents say they can take landlines and that my Republic numbers would port, but that somehow your number is different.

We get you want to blame Republic but if the number indeed can not be ported because of its wireline designation it is nothing but a policy choice on the side of the new carrier. Nothing more. It’s a but tough to be angry at Republic for a consumer unfriendly policy choice by the new company you’re choosing to do business with.

Hi Roland and Louis, I have abandoned my original plan to move to ST (goodbye $40 and hours of my free time). I would rather jam a pen in my eye than spend anymore time talking to them. The new plan is to wait out the port request to Ting and go with them. I sincerely hope you’re right and it doesn’t take 5 days. I imagine I’ve caught RW’s attention by now and they’re just as eager to be rid of me as I of them as my cell provider.

We get you want to blame Republic but if the number indeed can not be ported because of its wireline designation it is nothing but a policy choice on the side of the new carrier. Nothing more. It’s a but tough to be angry at Republic for a consumer unfriendly policy choice by the new company you’re choosing to do business with.

Yes, Louis, I get to be upset. You’re skirting my real issue just like when someone brings up the FCC. Unbeknownst to me, my number was designated a wireline number when I moved it to Republic Wireless because at the time, I was under the very strong impression that they are a traditional cell service provider.

My argument is that RW is at least somewhat culpable for not adequately disclosing what their infrastructure and business model are all about in comparison to traditional cell service providers. Now I suspect they acquire at least some of their business by tricking their less tech-savvy customer base into thinking they offer the same kind of low-cost cell service as Ting or Cricket or a whole host of other companies who are “true” cell service providers.

I understand you think Republic Wireless is blameless and they don’t need to change a thing about how they communicate and market their service. I tend to think otherwise for the reasons I’ve stated in previous posts.

Is there anything really left to say at this point? I will update again once I get an update from Ting.

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No, there isn’t and Ting is, in my experience, an excellent provider. A household member who wanted an iPhone uses Ting. I helped them move their Republic number to Ting. As I recall, it took roughly 24 hours for the port to complete. I believe Ting’s 5 business day estimate is a worst case scenario and hope that’s your experience also.

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Not at all, @stephanies.p6tf4h,

We value our members’ feedback and perspective and appreciate that you would take the time to encourage us to change, rather than simply slipping quietly away to a new carrier.

I’m still also interested to know if there’s a specific issue that is causing you to leave us. And if your needs ever change in the future, I hope you’ll consider us again at that time.

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Hi Roland,

Thank you. I appreciate that you responded to me in such a way as to de-escalate this exchange.

I was royally pissed off when I first wrote here late last night and was further incensed when I felt like the responses I was getting were lame attempts to obfuscate and shift blame.

I am not happy with RW but now I am more relieved than upset because it appears there is a solution to my problem.

Hi southpaw. Three issues:

  1. My SIM card started doing a weird thing in my old phone where it would slip slightly from the holder and my normal number stopped working. People I was communicating with complained that my texts and calls were coming from a weird number. I have since replaced my phone, which fixed the slipping issue. But that was when it first came to light that I was using cell service over VoIP. I was very unhappy to learn this in this way. Until I understood what was happening, I was panicked that this was a phishing attack and some weird attempt to bypass 2FA on my accounts. You can go back and read that ticket if you wish. The CSR was not helpful in this case— it was my spouse who eventually figured out what the problem was.

  2. Call volume. I now have a nice Moto g stylus phone and no one can hear me. I have gotten many complaints from different contacts that unless I almost yell right into my phone mic, I come across very quietly. I know the culprit could be my hardware but I thought I would at least try another service for a month or so to see if that fixed the problem.

  3. Personal preference I’ve developed over time— the lack of more live, responsive customer service is irritating to me. The times I’ve needed assistance have been rare. But when they occurred, I was really frustrated that I couldn’t get a live person on the phone. From my perspective, the issues I contacted RW about could have been resolved much more quickly if I could speak to the CSR instead of writing back and forth.

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Please note it was never my intent to escalate your frustration. My initial response in this thread was intended only to lay out the reality of the circumstances surrounding porting out a Republic number.

I intentionally did not address your frustration regarding lack of disclosure regarding Republic’s numbers being VoIP and, therefore, classified as wirelines. I did so because as a non-employee I didn’t feel I was best equipped to do so.

For me, Republic’s service works well. That said, I recognize there are perfectly legitimate reasons for others to make a different choice. I also recognize Republic’s numbers being VoIP present a challenge in some circumstances. It’s precisely for that reason, I authored the wiki article explaining how to work around it. Republic never asked me to do so nor am I holding up the method as being ideal. Given that I do not control Republic’s technology, FCC regulations or alternate cellular provider’s policy choices, it’s the best I’m able to offer.

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Just fyi, mint transferred my wife’s phone number from RW to itself within 30 minutes. No questions no comments no nothing simply a straight transfer and it works great both on Wi-Fi and on cellular thank you. By the way the same amount of money I was spending at rw, $15 plus tax to get one half gig of data is providing 4 gig of data at mint and the service is at least as good if not better.
if anyone is looking for Price performance and data try mint mobile it works.

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