Why I don't rely on my RW service

rw_service_review
#1

I have been with RW since the Motorola Defy XT beta days. I knew what I was getting. There would ups and downs and I was completely fine with that. Over time, the service for me went pretty well. I just needed to be proactive about making sure my phone and router were always optimized with the ideal settings, clearing cache/programs not needed, and having an updated RW app. The past year has been the toughest for me to deal with though.

Last year, I went with the Moto G3 with the RW 2.0 plan and that seemed to be okay at the start but service was spotty over time. One incident really opened my eyes about the service. I went to a concert and couldn’t make calls or send/receive any texts even after rebooting the phone. Considering there were thousands of people using their phone at the same time it made sense. Until I was in the concert. The people in front of me were FaceBook live streaming and my friends were even texting and even sending pics to each other. Me? Nothing. Couldn’t send one text or make a call. I was trying to meet up with friends and just turned to my girlfriend, who doesn’t have RW, and asked her to text a message. She had no problems. I also mentioned that it’s the phone and my cousin said it’s not the phone because he had the exact same phone, but with a different carrier. His phone had no issues. I started to consider other carriers.

Then the promotion for the Huawei Ascend 5W was announced. I thought it might be a good way to see if service would improve if I got one. I was fortunate to be one who was able to purchase one with the 6 month free promotion. The next 6 months would be a good test whether service improved. Another big event I needed my phone and it failed. I was at the Indianapolis 500 and once again. so many of my friends were texting and sending pics amongst our group. Me? Once again, my phone was useless. My friends don’t even bother texting me for events. They all know. They just text my girlfriend.

My free 6 months is up and I am at a crossroads. I have starting carrying another phone with another carrier and it has come in handy when I really needed it. I don’t rely on RW since it’s hit or miss with service. I am in a metropolitan area (Indianapolis), so I am not in the fringes, unless RW’s coverage in Indianapolis is just spotty. I doubt it. Many of my friends have T-Mobile and have no issues.

I just don’t rely on my RW phone to be a reliable communication device. The pricing is great, but is it really worth if I can’t even use it? I do like what RW is doing and what it represents, but now that they are on their own, I feel they need to step up service. So far, in the last 6 months I haven’t experienced it.

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#2

Cell service is spotty. RW uses Sprint and T-Mobile (and WiFi) to carry their calls. From what you describe I suspect they are serving you with T-Mobile which, in many areas, has poorer building penetration than Sprint.

Take a look at the T-Mobile and Sprint coverage maps. Your Defy XT was served by Sprint but your Ascend is service by T-Mobile. Then run the coverage check on your ZIP and see if some phones are excluded. If some are, Sprint is the best carrier for you area and the excluded phones don’t work with Sprint.

#3

Thanks for your input, but It’s not a coverage issue. I have checked the coverage maps and live in a metropolitan area that is highly populated. When I first was looking into the Ascend 5W, I was excited to go to GSM and getting away from Sprint’s CDMA. Many friends have T-Mobile and Sprint with no issues.

#4

It is possible your experience with GSM is coupled with not having any roaming data. That is the main difference between a Republic Wireless GSM subscriber and a T-Mobile GSM subscriber.

#5

Everything I have referenced is about calling and texting. Data is another issue that I have faced, but I expect that. There are times I get bursts of data (emails popping up all at once even though they have time stamps that are wide apart), but I need a phone to be a phone first. Data is secondary for me. If not having roaming data has an impact on basic call/SMS service, then it is an issue.

#6

I only mentioned data because you mentioned Facebook streaming. Data is also necessary for email. Calling and texting, however, should be the same for T-Mobile and RW GSM subscribers. I’ve got no idea how RW would limit that beyond being connected to a WiFi service that blocks calls. I have encountered that.

#7

Hi @erwin,

Thanks for bringing the issues you’ve experienced to our attention. I’ve just reviewed your ticket history and am not seeing that you’ve opened a ticket about being unable to use the phone at events. It would be a little tricky to troubleshoot, since you wouldn’t be able to return to the same environment to test, but if it happens again and you could get some screenshots showing the faiure of texts to send and your cell connectivity, and provide some failed call and text examples for our technicians to research in our logs, we’d like a chance to look into what’s going on.

Since you describe it as something that happens regularly at events, I’m thinking of two possibilities. One is tower load. Any time that many people are in the same place and on their cellphones, the local tower can reach capacity. Our service is not supposed to be secondary for access to towers, so that may be something our engineers would want to look into and explore further with the carrier, if they could identify that as a possible cause.

The other thing I’m wondering is whether the event venue has Wi-Fi. If so there are three ideas I’d like to explore.

  1. Your phone is trying to connect but needs to you “verify” or agree to the terms and conditions for the network. Without this step, the phone cannot use the Wi-Fi network, even though it looks connected.
  2. Your phone is connected but the network is locked down to allow only http traffic.
  3. Your phone is not connected, but would work great if it were.

If there’s anything further we can do to troubleshoot, we’d love the opportunity to do so.

4 Likes
#8

Hi, southpaw. Thanks for your reply. Yes, I did not open a ticket in either situation because I knew the environment could not be replicated. Both times, I know I was connected to cell and not wi-fi since I knew I had a better chance of sending a SMS text over cell. It would be interesting to find out if RW traffic is secondary to the primary carrier, but that’s a test your engineers would need to figure out over time. As for connecting to wi-fi, I have experienced many wi-fi networks I connect to only have port 80 open for traffic, so I don’t even connect to those networks anymore. Thanks again.

#9

Was in downtown Nashville, TN earlier and needed to change restaurant reservations and I could not make an outbound call (cellular). Started to open a ticket, but only option available on phone was “Chat Now!” Needed to get on a phone and get this reservation change done since what is going to be done by RW at that time? Didn’t have time to chat. Ended up making the call on another phone. Just pure frustrating dealing with not being able to use the phone to do something as basic as outbound cell calls when needed.

#10

Hi @erwin,

I just duplicated your experience of trying to open a ticket from the phone and getting the Chat Now option. When I refreshed the page it rendered correctly. I’ll see if we can look into that further during the workweek.

It would be interesting to see a screenshot showing the state your phone was in at that time. Sometimes a nearby open Wi-Fi network can convince the phone it is on Wi-Fi, when there’s not a usable signal available. Or it’s possible rebooting the phone might have given it a fresh connection to the nearest cellular tower. Were you indoors? I checked a random downtown Nashville address on our carrier partner’s coverage map and it says, “Fair: Cell reception outdoors and occasionally indoors.”

I’m wondering if most of your issues may be coverage-related. It would be worth opening a support ticket and providing the support team with some addresses where you typically need to use the phone, but cannot, and see what they may be able to do to improve things for you.

#11

erwin,

This may be well worth your while. RW updated the coverage check since you purchased the Ascend. With the new check my zip said GSM wasn’t supported. After opening a ticket Support offered to swap my Ascend for a CDMA compatible B-stock G4. I was able to use the G4 for the remainder of the 6 month free service promotion. Very generous of RW and shows me they do go above and beyond.

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#12

Hi southpaw,

I was trying to open a ticket on the phone (Ascend 5w) in Google Chrome and tried it again today. Only the Chat Now option is available. Pretty sure the browser on my phone needs to be updated, so that may be the problem. I will update it when I am connected to Wi-Fi.

When I tried making the call, I was outside on the corner of 6th Ave S and Demonbreun St., across the street from the Nashville Music City Center. I checked to see if I was connected to Wi-Fi and I was not.

I really don’t think it’s a coverage issue. I am using the phone in highly populated areas, as you can see in my posts.

Not sure what can be done at this point. I am just frustrated.

#13

Hi @erwin,
Highly populated doesn’t always equate to sound coverage. I’m not familiar with Nashville, but if the location you mentioned is “urban canyon” then the connectivity outdoors in a fair coverage area can be just as “occasional” as the carrier describes it for indoors.

If you don’t have a computer you can use to open a support ticket, I can open one on your behalf, just let me know. We don’t want you to remain frustrated, we want to help.

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#14

Hi southpaw,

Sure. Open a ticket. Thank you. not sure what will come of it since I am not there now so I can’t try again.

Thanks again.

#15

[quote=“erwin, post:14, topic:10098”]
I am not there now so I can’t try again.
[/quote]In my case Support asked for several locations where I use/used the phone. You don’t need to be presently located there to report it.

#16

Forum “helper” sent me a chat link. Chat person (Shasta) did some troubleshooting with me making the entries, then she finally opened a ticket. My issue is my dialer isn’t working when I’m logged in to my home WiFi, and I don’t have a cell signal @ my backwoods location. Awaiting RW troubleshooting…

#17

Do you have the Ascend 5W? If so, this is a known issue waiting for a fix from Huawei. You can get around it by using an alternative dialer. I’ve successfully used: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.approids.marshmallowdialer

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#18

Based on this post; Case for Huawei Ascend 5W, I’d say @runtherace does indeed have a Huawei Ascend 5W. If one is seeing this when connected to WiFi and in the absence of cell signal on their Huawei Ascend 5W…

…no amount of troubleshooting from Republic will fix it. To reiterate @louisdi’s point, a fix requires an operating system update from Huawei. To date, that update has not been forthcoming.

Anyone with an Ascend can duplicate this scenario by engaging Airplane mode, then manually toggling WiFi back on.

4 Likes
#19

When I am outside I almost always have to turn off wifi to have a reliable phone. If I leave wifi on, it is constantly interfering with my connectivity—even though I have turned off the option to access nearby wifi. I only use wifi on known networks; pretty much anywhere else is cell-only for reliability. (As reliable as sprint is, anyway.) I also keep roaming data turned on though it’s hardly/never used, in case it is needed during an emergency.

#20

I am lucky in that I get tix for concerts/events all the time. I have several friends who have other carriers and still have issues because too many people are trying at once. I know this has become a technical issue with the Huawei Ascend 5W.
Electronic devices can easily be a normal issue with large events no matter.
Personally, I wish cell phones were banned at concerts and other events. I rarely use mine save a very quck text or absolute necessity. If I have problems I try later and succeed. If not, no big deal. I’m there to see the show and not play with my phone. That is my opinion and not a criticism.
Muse, Willie Nelso and more artists are now making announcements asking people not to use their cell phones during the show. All the screens ruin the aesthetics. They impede on another person’s enjoyment of said show. I am not alone as more and more people are complaining of so many others being on Facebook and the like, during an event.
Again, I’m not criticizing. This is what is happening. It actually works to my advantage. The screens hurt my eyes so the venues put me in the front row, or comparable, and close to the front. I’m really not criticizing.
We have a huge music festival in Milwaukee called Summerfest. It goes 12 days. It can draw over a million people. Even with this update-you’d still have problems with getting your phone to do what you want when you want. Our state fair draws over a million people. Few of us have issues because not everyone is doing pretty much the same thing at the same time on their phones.
I don’t think it’s RW having second rate service. I think it’s supply and demand.
Lollapalooza causes problems for my friends with other carriers.
I’m sorry you are having issues. I hope they update your phone quickly so you can do as you please.

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