VoIP Problems Making Me Hesitate

I’m not a customer yet because I read about some problems with the service due to it being VoIP. One big problem I saw was folks not being able to sign into Social Security because the number does not register as a mobile device for 2 factor authentication. I also saw some messages about connection and audio problems. The information about how to keep your number on a new phone and the time factor of waiting for it to be approved seems a lot more of a hassle than with T-Mobile that I’m with now. So I just added some more minutes to my prepaid flip phone for the time being. I really wanted to switch to your service because I need a smartphone to be able to install an app I need for 2 factor authentication with an encrypted email service, but I need a reliable phone with reliable service. I have no connection or audio problems here in Southeast Florida, and I would want a new phone that operates similarly. I also need to be able to use it to sign into Social Security, my bank, email, and anything else that offers 2 factor authentication. Why hasn’t somebody come up with a way to make VoIP phones look like mobile devices for 2 factor authentication?

Hi @xyinfl and welcome to the Community! Please know the majority of us answering here (myself included) are fellow Republic customers not staff. Therefore, we don’t speak for the company per se.

Candidly, this unfortunate circumstance does impact a significant number of Republic customers. It does not, however, impact all Republic customers. I and others are able to use their Republic numbers to satisfy SSA’s 2-factor authentication requirement. SSA also offers two-factor authentication via email as opposed to text message. Admittedly, switching from one to the other requires one first complete a snail mail verification process.

I’ve also seen similar complaints on traditional cellular service. Such complaints don’t impact most customers using traditional cellular service nor do I believe that’s the case for Republic’s blended WiFi/cell service, which does indeed use VoIP to power the WiFi component of its blended service. For what it’s worth, VoIP also powers the overwhelming majority of business fixed line communications.

I’m uncertain what you’re referring to here? Is it the length of time to transfer a number into Republic or away from Republic should one decide to leave in the future? If the former, it does take Republic on average 24-48 hours but one is not without service in that interim. One’s old service continues to work until a transfer to Republic is complete. The same would be true of any eventual transfer out. One’s Republic service would continue to work until a transfer out was complete. The length of time that takes is largely the responsibility of the provider to whom a Republic number is being transferred. Bluntly, it need not take as long as many other service providers seem to think.

Likewise, I’m in Southeast Florida and, for me, Republic’s blended service has been nothing but reliable.

I’ll grant, this is more of an issue due to Republic’s numbers being VoIP. That said, it depends entirely on the specific services involved. As previously mentioned, my Republic number works perfectly fine with SSA. The same is true of any other service requiring two-factor authorization I care about. In fact, I much prefer services that send two-factor codes using an app such as Authy or Google Authenticator. Text messaging is not and was never designed to be a secure communications method.

It’s simply not possible. The carrier for a given phone number is something that may be queried in publicly available databases. VoIP numbers even when used exclusively on mobile devices are deemed by regulatory authorities to be landlines (wireline is the more correct industry term) rather than wireless (a/k/a “real” mobile numbers).

Why not turn it around and ask why more service providers choose not to be more enlightened? There is nothing a “real” mobile number is capable of doing my Republic number is incapable of. It’s unfortunate, some service providers choose not to see it that way but it is a choice on their part not something required of them.

For what it’s worth, Republic does offer a 14-day money back guarantee. Giving Republic a try to see if it meets your needs or not would be relatively risk free.

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Thanks for your reply. I’m kind of sorry I just got some more minutes for my flip phone now. When they get low, I guess I’ll try Republic Wireless.

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Hi @xyinfl,

Please don’t feel the need to apologize. It’s perfectly reasonable to do one’s due diligence before doing something potentially disruptive like switching one’s phone service provider.

Neither Republic or the Community is going anywhere. When you’re ready, we’ll be happy to welcome you as a fellow member (Republic likes to call customers members). Meanwhile, you’re already a Community member. If you have further questions or concerns, please let us know.

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Having a VOIP number can be an issue and has caused some issues for some.
Like, my mother, can no longer log into her US Bank Mobile app to view account or deposit checks, it require a “real mobile number”.
I also have a friend, who can not create a Twitter account with a RW or GV number, as it seems they quickly de-activate new accounts that do no use real mobile number. (he contacted Twitter and they confirmed this)

It really depends on what services u use. Venmo, is one popular service u can not use with VOIP. This policy is set by that company, and there is nothing RW can do about that.

Thanks for that info. I wonder if there’s a problem with Citibank.

Something else I just thought about is I’m wondering if ExpressVPN would work all right with a phone I get from Republic Wireless and its service.

There are currently two banks I’m aware of that refuse to text message verification codes to VoIP numbers (US Bank and Wells Fargo). Wells Fargo, to their credit, does offer alternative verification methods including use of a phone call (go figure they don’t refuse VoIP numbers for that) in lieu of a text message. US Bank, to its shame offers its customers no alternatives I’m aware of.

In any event, we’ve not yet seen complaints regarding Citibank.

I’ve not used ExpressVPN but have used other VPN services and found them to work with Republic. Generally, the added latency of the VPN will force one’s calls to use the cellular portion of Republic’s blended service rather than WiFi. This is not necessarily bad nor is there any added cost from Republic involved.

Here’s something else you might consider. You mention currently being with T-Mobile. If planning on eventually purchasing a phone from Republic to use with its service, that phone would be factory unlocked and would also work with your current T-Mobile service. You might consider signing up for the services you envision needing two-factor authentication while your number is still with T-Mobile. Generally, once established using your “real” T-Mobile number, those arrangements would continue to work after transferring the number to Republic even though it would then be VoIP.

For example, I have a household member using Venmo with their Republic number. They had already signed up with Venmo while using Ting and were able to continue doing so using the same number when it was brought to Republic.

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If the VPN “will force one’s calls to use the cellular portion of Republic’s blended service rather than WiFi,” doesn’t that mean I would be using my paid data and there would be an “added cost from Republic?”

The only service so far that doesn’t have my number is the encrypted email service I need the smartphone app for to get 2 factor authentication. So hopefully everybody else will just keep sending me texts to verify without a problem.

I’m wondering if anybody here has used the 2 step verification with Citibank online with a Republic Wireless account/phone?

I guess I should probably check with Social Security, the bank, and anybody else I remember to see if I can set up email as any alternative to phone texts in case there’s a problem so I don’t have to wait 2 weeks for snail mail from Social Security if there is.

If I’m on what I think you folks call the “My Choice” plan, which I think is $15 a month + $5 GB data, does Republic Wireless require a credit check or can I just pay for a year or two with my card online? I’m asking because I put a security freeze on the credit bureaus after the Equifax data breach.

Are you folks allowed to give phone recommendations in this forum?

Neither phone calls or text messaging use cell data one pays for. A VPN typically will not interfere with using WiFi for Internet data.

While not a guarantee, my experience is this is generally the case.

Republic is a prepaid no-contract service. It neither checks one’s credit or reports to any credit reporting agencies. Republic does offer an annual prepay option, however, requires first activating on a monthly plan. Republic wants you to be certain it’s a good fit for you before making that commitment. Plan details are linked here: Cell Phone Plans – Republic Wireless.

Yes, the only restriction is no buying and selling of previously used phones in public areas of the Community. My current favorite for overall best value among Republic compatible phones is Google’s Pixel 3a. If budget is not a limitation, Samsung’s Galaxy S series and Google’s Pixel 4s are worthy of consideration. If none of those fit your budget, one of Samsung’s A series or Motorola’s Moto G series would be a good choice.

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Thanks, I hope all this info is saved for future reference. I see on that page linked “Save even more when you choose the annual payment option.” I didn’t see that saving itemized though or if one year is the most that can be paid.

You’re posting in Republic’s online Community. The entire conversation is in the thread you started here: VoIP Problems Making Me Hesitate.

Annual prepay is 12 months for the price of 10, so the base cost is whatever monthly plan option is chosen times 10. For example, if choosing talk, text and 1 GB of cell data at $20/month, annual prepay would be $200. Please note, neither monthly cost or corresponding annual prepay estimate includes taxes and regulatory recovery fees. Those typically add from $2-$5 per month but vary depending upon location. Since you mention being in Southeast Florida as I am, I’ll mention I pay $3.91 per month in taxes and regulatory recovery fees for the talk and text portion of my plan. Florida like most states does not tax cell data. Currently, one-year is the longest annual prepay term available.

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Thanks, you’ve got me curious enough that I might just get a new phone with a new number to try it out until my flip phone minutes almost run out, and then hopefully I’ll be able to switch my old number to the new phone. Folks have been thinking it’s strange that I’ve never gotten around to getting a smartphone, but maybe it’s finally time because the thing that was keeping me from doing it was the monthly cost of service, especially considering I don’t use a phone much. Maybe if I get one now with Republic Wireless, it will be affordable, and I will use it more. Now I’ll just have to figure out how to use it.

One more thing I’m wondering about is a possible recommendation for the best antivirus protection for the phone.

Hi @xyinfl,

Candidly, so long as one acquires apps from reputable sources like Google’s Play Store, there is no need for an anti-malware app on Android phones. They tend to be more hindrance than help.

Also, all new lines of service activate with a new Republic number. You may transfer your T-Mobile number any time you wish, so long as it remains active there.

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Thanks again for all your help.

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Hi @xyinfl,

I’d like to add if you’re considering the annual payment option to save even more money - it’s a great deal, but please keep in mind it is non-refundable. You’re committing to staying with us for a year, we’re thanking you with 2 months free.

Thank you for doing such thorough homework before making a decision!!

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Thank you.

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Hi @xyinfl,

You change to the yearly pay anytime.

:flight_departure:

Thanks

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