Posted by: wildflowerz | December 29, 2011

Republic Wireless Review

So, a while ago, Chris tells me about this new thing that’s coming out. It’s a new cell phone company.  It’s called Republic Wireless and you buy a smart phone (We paid $100ish, but I hear now it’s $199?) and you only pay $19 a month.  The phone is an LG Optimus S (evidently an Android 2.3 phone).  I learned that by Googling because nothing that came with it told me…but I’m not exactly up on phone technology.  Hm, maybe I should organize a bit better:

Before we started with Republic, we were with Verizon.  For connectivity, we had no problems whatsoever.  The price we were paying was about $75 a month for both mine and my husband’s phones.  We were still rocking cheapie Motorola flip phones that we’d gotten ages ago.  A couple of years ago, we got the iPhone bug, but couldn’t justify the price.  So we bought an iPod Touch for each of us.  Yes, it only works on wireless for internet stuffs, but that hasn’t been much of an inconvenience.  Yes, we still had to carry around both the phone and the Touch, but again, wasn’t that big of a deal.

So, when we heard of Republic, we decided to give it a shot.  We know it’s in Beta, so I can’t tell you what, if anything, is going to get better, but these are just my observations from having the phone for about 3 weeks now.

We first got the phone and I set it up immediately.  It’s cute and not too clunky.  I set up my voice mail and I already had 3 messages.  I check them and one’s from a collection agency and the other 2 are from an elementary school.  Obvs this is from someone else’s number.  This is where I learned that my phone number with Republic is somehow on top of a number that phone has with the Sprint network.  The number with Sprint is what was receiving the calls for someone else.  So, we contacted Republic and they very quickly mailed us out a new phone.  It has the same Republic phone number, but the Sprint number (evidently) is different.  We don’t know the Sprint number.  So, in responding to problems, they were quick and efficient.

Now, I have the phone.  Well, Republic isn’t able to port old phone numbers over yet.  I think they’re supposed to eventually be able to, but for now they can’t.  So the hubs ported our old mobile numbers to Google Voice.  Then he directed Google Voice to send those calls to our new Republic phones.  Now, when I get a call that goes to voice mail, it does a gazillion unnecessary things:  I get a voice mail on my phone’s vm system that’s always a recording of some random menu options.  I get an email, saying I have a new voice mail.  I get a message (like instant messaging) saying I have a new voice mail.  If it’s a good day, it will transcribe what it thinks they said into text.  Usually it doesn’t work.  And then I get the actual vm under Google Voice.  All of these leave little annoying icons on my screen that you have to clear out.  Now, can some of these be done away with through Google Voice?  Probably, but how much of it, I don’t know.

Now, for $19 a month I can put up with a lot.  All the above is some of that.  However, here’s where it really annoys me.  The hubs said it doesn’t happen with him, which I find hard to believe, but every single call I’ve had, there’s a delay from when I talk to when the person hears me.  I don’t know if it goes the other way too.  It means that the person you’re talking to ends up talking over you a lot.  Is this because of the Google Voice?  Is it because Republic is on top of Sprint?  Will it get better?  I really don’t know.

Another thing that happens is that quite a few times, it has a hard time making a call on our wireless.  Sometimes it just keeps trying and trying and won’t default over to the 3G network.  For the record, I’ve made calls using both and don’t see a difference.  But this could possibly be a problem with our wireless network at home.  I just don’t know.

So, right now, if I could go back, I so wouldn’t do this at all.  I hate it.  But the reality for me is that I don’t make a lot of phone calls.  So I can put up with it for a while and hope that it gets better.  However, I don’t think Republic has an ETA on when they’ll be able to port number or get off top of Sprint.  Possibly one or both of those would make it better.

Now for the actual phone:  It’s okay.  I didn’t really need a smart phone.  I still use my iPod when I’m in wireless range instead of the LG.  The length of time the phone rings is VERY short.  I almost never can get to the phone in time when it rings and that’s from across the room.  There are also only about 6 choices of ring tones.  I find it hard to believe that I can’t download one, but if there’s a way, I can’t figure it out.  The phone came with no instruction booklet except to point you to the Republic website pdf.  The battery that came with the phone is awful.  I barely use it and it’s dead within 24 hours.  The hubs found some on Amazon for cheap that said they would work with it, but they didn’t.  He finally found some that work, but now the phone’s twice as thick as when it came and it now maybe holds a charge for 48 hours.

So there you go.  If you were thinking of trying them now, don’t.  Wait and see if they clear any of this stuff up before you give it a shot.


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