Voice Roaming Verification?

#1

Is there a way to verify that you’re currently roaming on towers outside of the RW GSM network? Or a way to test and see if voice roaming is active on your phone?

I ask because when I initially activated my RW account and SIM, I was amazed to find that I had full LTE service. My amazement was because the provider I was coming from is an MVNO that also operates on the same GSM network as Republic and I would only receive 1 or 2 bars with them. I remembered @rolandh had mentioned that RW offers voice roaming, [quote=“rolandh, post:2, topic:10457”]
It may even be a bit better since Republic’s service offers voice roaming, which many MVNOs do not.
[/quote] so I figured that explained the boost in signal strength. However, after my number was ported from my old provider to Republic, the cell signal went back to the same old mediocre 1 or 2 bars I had been getting under the old provider. So I’m trying to understand if that first signal upon initial activation was some sort of a fluke or maybe the voice roaming is not working properly after the number port?

Anyone know more information about the ins and outs of RW’s voice roaming feature?

#2

Hi @evanwhat,

I can think of no reason why one’s coverage experience would be tied to porting their number. One’s phone number should have no impact.

There’s nothing proactive needed to enable voice roaming on one’s phone. Where Republic’s GSM partner has roaming agreements, it should just happen. Typically, roaming would only kick in in those areas where such agreements exist and Republic’s GSM partner believes its’ native coverage is inadequate. It’s the nature of roaming across all carriers that a phone will hold on to a relatively weak native signal rather than switch to a stronger roaming signal.

All of the above said, if you wish to see whose towers your phone is connected to at any given time, install this app:

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#3

[quote=“rolandh, post:2, topic:10936”]
It’s the nature of roaming across all carriers that a phone will hold on to a relatively weak native signal rather than switch to a stronger roaming signal.
[/quote]Is this an instance when cycling Airplane mode on/off//on may get phone to pickup a better roaming signal if it’s available?

#4

One can try that and/or simply restarting their phone. Either might result in picking up a stronger native signal. I doubt doing so would cause one’s phone to prefer a relatively stronger roaming signal over a relatively weaker native signal. All cellular carriers have economic reasons to prefer native over roaming signals.

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#5

Thanks for the input. I installed that app and it verified that I’m on the same GSM network as my previous provider. Just bummed that not getting that incredible signal at activation… Either way, that’s part of the reason why I made the switch to Republic, to take advantage of wifi calling since the cell signal isn’t the best here.

#6

I think I found out why the discrepancy was happening. This afternoon, i looked at my phone and boom full bars for signal strength again! Opened the SignalCheck app and turns out it was connected to HSPA, not LTE so I guess that’s how I got “full strength” during initial activation. One of the main differences in the report is that when I’m connected to LTE it shows the provider as “[GSM Partner] B4” vs under HSPA the provider is listed as just “[GSM Partner].”

is the B4 referring to Band 4 for the frequency being used? What’s “better,” 1 bar of LTE or full strength HSPA? It’s definitely more common for my phone to rely on the 1 bar of LTE.

#7

Phones these days will default to LTE when available. That’s even if the signal strength makes the LTE less useful. You’re frankly likely to get better performance from the weaker HSPA signal.

And yes, B4 indicates the LTE band.

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#8

Actually, I tested the bandwidth with the signal connected to LTE vs HSPA and turns out the 1 bar of LTE was much better.

1 bar LTE: 7 Mbps down, 17 Mbps up
Full bars HSPA: 1 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up

I guess the algorithms in the software are doing a good job picking the best signal format after all!

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