sudofox's journal

Austin Burk's journal, where I share little snippets of my writing, code, and dreams.

Reflections on, and things to consider about, Republic Wireless

I got my first cell phone the day I graduated from high school, in June of 2014. It was a 1st-gen Motorola Moto G with Republic Wireless. At first it started out alright, but it quickly slowed down. This model didn't have 4G, either.

Memory management on 1st gen Moto G

At first, all was well. I was enjoying my new cell phone. However, it that enjoyment didn't last long. For one, that particular model has a terrible kernel bug in which Android's memory management doesn't work properly, leading to apps dying and being closed while you try to work. The keyboard being killed, and apps being killed while using the file upload handler, are two of the most annoying ones.  Sometimes the phone will entirely stop responding for seconds at a time. This issue is not specific to Republic Wireless.

Missed calls, voicemails, and failure to send outbound SMS

Nowadays, I'm often missing calls. My phone simply does not ring. Sometimes a few minutes later I get a missed call notification; or a voicemail, and am baffled as to how I missed the call.

Text messages
Sending outbound SMS has issues sometimes. From my experience, if you end up switching between wifi and cellular, SMS messages will oftentimes stall and hold up the line. A reboot will sometimes solve this. This issue is not specific to the Moto G.

Republic Wireless app

The Republic Wireless app is a pain. It does not allow you to disable cellular data. It is constantly restarting on my phone (due to the memory management bug), and is set up to enable WiFi when it starts, so I can't disable WiFi. Oftentimes when I am in a place with poor WiFi reception, I will try to switch to cellular, but it will oftentimes reconnect me to WiFi against my wishes. It's a pain and causes dropped calls and interrupts my SSH connections and other network connections.


Republic Wireless used to be pretty cheap, and I am currently running on a grandfathered plan. They used to claim 'unlimited' data which meant 5GB, after which you are throttled, although the first time it happens you were granted 5GB more for that month and this was for $25/month, on 3G. For phones that had 4G, it was $45/month.

They've entirely dumped those plans now. For the same price, you get 1 GB of data. I'm actually on a 2-year contract with Verizon for a Mifi because I don't have access to WiFi at home. I cannot recall what the cost of overage data is.


Republic has the Republic Community, which is a large forum that is well-used. They do not have phone or livechat support, but do have a ticketing system for support inquiries. On the one occasion that I did end up speaking to them on the phone, they were quite helpful, properly evaluated my technical skill level, and gave me information in accordance with what someone at that skill level should understand, which I greatly appreciated.


Last time I checked, VoIP goes over an unencrypted connection.

In defense of price changes

Although I am unhappy with how bad things have become, I do admit that my phone is outdated, and that as Republic's popularity increases, the scalability of low-cost, high-quality plans, along with employees to manage the growing demand from the growing customer base, becomes a matter of ever-increasing strain on budget - the question is whether to expand quickly at higher cost, or grow at the slower pace. As I am not an expert in how financial and corporate pecuniary interests work on any scale, I'm just guessing that things were starting to get hard to run at the pricing model that they had.

In summary

You can get some pretty cheap plans at Republic Wireless, but they seem to have dumped the things I liked about them. I'm going to be sticking with them for now and see if things get better afterward, but I no longer recommend them as much. In my opinion, their primary merit is now the wifi/cellular handover ability, and the ability to get service wherever you have Internet, no matter where on the globe.