Republic Wireless Service:
As mentioned previously, Republic Wireless
relies on users to choose Wi-Fi whenever possible. But if Wi-Fi is not available you will be utilizing Sprint's nationwide network. Rather than discussing in detail my experience with Sprint's coverage since this is very regional, I will comment that for the most part their coverage map did prove to be accurate. So if you are considering service with Republic Wireless I highly recommend you check out the coverage map
on their website.
Wi-Fi: The Wi-Fi is always searching for networks for you to connect to. While I am sure this eats up some battery, I was still able to get a full day out of the phone. This is surprising because even when you are connected to Wi-Fi, it keeps the cell connection active. Data and text services were completely seamless. Call quality was quite good, but I found the hand over a little abrupt at times. By abrupt, I mean there was a clear transition in sound quality from Wi-Fi to cell. With that said, I never dropped a call. You do have the ability to make the handover manual but I didn't mess with this feature as the stock set up was acceptable.
Sprint: 3G data speeds are a little rough if you are used to 4G (LTE), averaging around 1-2Mbps down and around 1Mbps up. Occasionally I would see these areas drop to 0.6 or so down but I am not sure what was causing the temporary drop. Ironically, I found the 3G speeds to be better in areas just outside 4G zones than in 4G zones. Cell quality was pretty good. Again the coverage was pretty accurately represented by the coverage map.
Verizon roaming: The phone is also set up to automatically roam to Verizon. While I did see this happen, the phone will hold onto a weak Sprint tower for a bit too long. Often the phone would show a weak signal where I know Verizon is very strong. Calls in this area had poor sound quality where Verizon phones are very clear. So I suspect I was still using Sprint's network for voice. They also claim that you can roam onto Verizon's data network (100MB/mo.), which again I did see but often found the connection speeds were much slower. In one case the download speed was 0.08Mbps and upload was 0.23Mbps. Again, I know in this area the Verizon 3G service is better than that so I am not sure what is going on. The max observed while roaming was 0.34 & 0.46 respectively, but typically I saw about half that and slow ping speeds.