05 Aug Republic Wireless leans on Wi-Fi in battle against Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile – Carrier Wrap 32
The mobile virtual network operator business has been through numerous highs and lows over the past decade as various entities – both big and small – have attempted to compete against established operators piggybacking on established networks.
More recently, MVNOs have turned towards Wi-Fi in an attempt to differentiate themselves in the market as well as to lower costs associated with having to purchase access to the cellular networks they are also trying to compete against.
One of the more advanced members of this move is Republic Wireless, which initially launched in 2011, tapping into cellular services from Sprint when a Wi-Fi signal was unavailable. The company has since increased its research and development efforts into bolstering the capabilities of its Wi-Fi service.
Republic Wireless in April unveiled a “bonded calling” technology it says can combine cellular and Wi-Fi signals in real time to improve service quality. The carrier said the technology, which is part of its Adaptive Coverage technology platform, can patch in cellular connectivity when it detects “sub-optimal” Wi-Fi network conditions, resulting in “higher quality conversation” and extending indoor coverage. Republic noted in testing the technology has resulted in a 52% increase in Wi-Fi call quality and 209% increase in service quality at the edge of a Wi-Fi network. The technology, which is baked into Republic’s platform and available to all customers, builds on its previous work in supporting the handoff of voice calls between a cellular and Wi-Fi connection.
Last month, Republic Wireless announced plans to add new smartphones to its device lineup and hinted at expanded cellular coverage from a GSM-based mobile carrier.
Republic said beginning in July, it plans to offer news devices from Samsung, Huawei, Motorola and LG, which will join its current offering limited to just a pair of Motorola devices. The new phones are set to include the Samsung Galaxy S6, S7, S7 Edge and Galaxy J3; Huawei Nexus P3; LG Nexus 5X; and Motorola X Pure Edition. The phones are available for outright purchase, ranging from $179 for the Galaxy J3 to $799 for the Galaxy S7 Edge, or through Republic’s recently launched device financing program. The MVNO said it plans to add more lower-priced devices compatible with its Wi-Fi-first technology in the coming weeks.
The new devices are said to be compatible with Republic’s soon-to-launch GSM-based roaming partner, as well as its Wi-Fi calling service. The firm last year said it planned to add a second cellular carrier by the end of 2015, which now looks to be nearly in place. Rumors suggest T-Mobile US will be the GSM-based carrier in question.
On this week’s Carrier Wrap, we spoke with Chris Chuang, co-founder and COO at Republic Wireless, to gain more insight into the company’s latest technology advances, how it views the competitive landscape and how the company has managed to thrive using a business model that had felled a number of larger players.
Thanks for watching this week’s show, and make sure to check us out again next week when we are scheduled to speak with Alion Science & Technology about spectrum challenges facing the mobile telecom space.