What makes a phone compatible with RW


I have a Moto G Play. My brother gave me a Galaxy S8+ but it is not compatible with RW. I’m so disappointed. My old phone compared to this new one is like a Prius compared to a Corvette Stingray.

I’m curious what makes a phone compatible. I understand this question could get very technical or into proprietary information, but any insight is appreciated.

Is it hardware related? Is it because this phone is previously from Verizon (edit: woops, I found out it was on Sprint) and has incompatible software? What if I completely wipe it out and install a different operating system?

I’m basically asking if there’s any hope whatsoever of using this phone on the RW network. I really want to!



As far as I know…

Carrier variant phones, the ones from Verizon, ATT etc, the software on the phone is modified for that carrier.

Only the Factory Unlocked (Stock unmodified) models of those phone models will work on Republic.
Republic is not like a traditional carrier.
RW uses a special Hybrid Coverage/Bonded Calling technology that requires certain Android APIs in their stock, unmodified forum.

Republic also can only test and approve the certain models of phones they deam fully compatible.

No, you can not wipe and install a “custom OS”. Republic does not support custom roms.
There are already several other threads on here discussing that in detail.


Generally phones available from Republic are…

  • Factory Unlocked
  • Have been tested to work with Republic’s network.
  • Meet a market need that current phones do not.
  • Have the Republic app available on the phones rom.


as both @SpeedingCheetah and @Burusutazu stated it has to be Factory unlock but it also needs to be the US Regional (North American)
this eliminates the Carrier version (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-mobile, US Cellular, and their MVNOs) and International version (Asian, European, Latin American, even Canadian when they don’t share a North American model)


the Republic app does not need to be part of the ROM (It’s not on my Moto Z2 Play, I downloaded from the Play store and it does not appear when running in safe mode) it just needs to be the North American (US Regional) Factory Unlock Model on the Republic list of the supported phones (


Hi @aeromac!

Well, technically, if you flash it to the North American Unlocked firmware (this is NOT the same as a custom ROM), it should work with Republic. It’s not going to be the easiest thing you ever did and there’s a chance you could brick your phone in the process. Additionally, Republic may not provide support for any issue that you have. Aside from that, it’s not currently supported by Republic as it’s not the unlocked model. Hope that helps.


This is not necessarily accurate. If it were the folks selling frankenphones on eBay with flashed factory unlocked firmware wouldn’t issue disclaimers about these now supposedly factory unlocked phones working only on GSM and not CDMA.


It’s possible the phones have been barred from one network or the other because they have an unpaid balance or something like that. From my research, the phones have the same bands. They are just disabled by the firmware. If the phone is unlocked and you flash the firmware, it should have access to all the bands. I haven’t used one (a flashed phone) on Sprint (so it may not work), but I have on T-Mobile and it worked. Either way, it will still work on Republic’s GSM partner (T-Mobile).


I believe Sprint will refuse to activated a Verizon phone as they have no way of knowing if the IMEI is a unlocked phone or a Sprint phone)


There are a variety of reasons why flashing the factory unlocked firmware might or might not work. Note, the network you reference as having used is GSM not CDMA. Generally, I don’t offer advice unless I’m confident something will work. Should isn’t good enough for me but to each their own.


If the flash is done correctly, it will work on TMobile. Thus, it will work with Republic. Maybe not the CDMA partner, but GSM.


Republic’s WiFi/cell service is unique in that it blends the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) network of its former corporate parent Bandwidth.com with the network of one of two cellular network partners. VoIP is the technology powering the WiFi portion of Republic’s blended service.

To date, Republic has determined to support only the carrier agnostic factory unlocked phones listed here: Republic Wireless Phones – Republic Help. Carrier branded phones (locked or unlocked) do not work with Republic’s blended service. As others have mentioned, it’s theoretically possible to flash factory unlocked firmware to a carrier branded equivalent phone. There are, however, significant risks to doing so up to and including permanently disabling an expensive phone. I’ll leave it to you to decide if the risk is worth it.


If GSM coverage in a particular area is lousy, that’s as good as not working with Republic.


I think this as really bad advice, particularly if considering a frankenphone from eBay. These devices may have unpaid balances, or may have been reported lost or stolen, or something else. Sometimes they’re overseas versions that have had domestic ROMs forced on them and don’t even have all the LTE bands necessary.

In addition, the phone won’t be supported by Republic.

There are plenty of legitimate used choices out there, no need to recommend that someone deal with all the possible negative consequences of flashing an unsupported phone or buying one that has been flashed in this manner.


It’s true that there are risks involved, and I have pointed some on those out above. As Roland said, it’s up to you whether or not it’s worth it or not :slight_smile: . It’s absolutely better to buy a compatible one if you have the money and/or option to do so, but it’s an alternative if you don’t.


Thank you all for your responses. Sorry for the late reply. I understand the risks of custom roms. I also understand the philosophy of RW. I wouldn’t mind tinkering with this phone. The screen is horribly cracked (that’s why my bro gave it to me :slight_smile: ) . I would consider replacing the digitizer, if there was a chance it would work on the RW network. This got me thinking about the specific reasons why RW chooses some phones to support over others. Thanks to your responses, I get it (factory branding, regions, CDMA vs GSM, etc.). Bottom line. It’s complicated.

Nonetheless, it would be a fun project to flash it and replace the digitizer. But, I’m not going to do that if there is zero chance of it working on RW.