I want it to work more like a cell phone



For my son, the device works great. But if you wanted it to be more marketable to a wider age range, having the ability to make and receive calls and save voice messages would open up the age range.

Without holding a degree in communications, programming, or networking I’ll try my best to illustrate what the device would be able to do:

-Have it’s own dedicated phone number
-On a PC or smartphone app you can change settings for each Relay device, block phone numbers, delete voice messages, set ringtones (for contacts, unknown numbers, and numbers not in contacts), set colors (for when a contact or a non-contact calls on silent mode), add contacts and edit the Relay’s device name.
-Call others by long pressing the center button twice, on the second press a chime prompts the user to speak a name on the contacts list or speak a phone number, then the device places the call
-Long hold the center button till a chime and your voice messages will play from a voice box.
-press the button once to end a call (Have a call work like a phone and not like a walkie talkie)
-Receive calls by hearing a ringtone and clicking the center button once to answer the call or if volume is down the center button lights will glow.

If you could implement this and still retain the 8$ monthly subscription I would ditch my smartphone and it’s carrier. Thanks for reading!


If they could do that, one might think they’d reduce the cost of monthly service with Republic itself. Somehow, I doubt it’s feasible for Republic. I don’t believe it’s the absence or presence of a screen that makes talk and text cost $15 on Republic’s smartphones.


We have two smartphones operating on Republic’s original plan of 10$ a month (so it is do-able). Once those phones die they have to upgrade to a new phone and a higher priced monthly plan (Checked a year ago and it was 20-25$ month and not 15$). That’s why I left the service. I probably use maybe 300 minutes of talk a month and now with the Relay app I actually need data. If Republic had a way of disconnecting service once a set maximum amount of talk time was reached and a way to track minutes used so the consumer could keep tabs I could see them implementing it for Relay.


Respectfully, how does $10/month prove that $8/month is possible? It might prove $10/month is possible. And, you want some cell data for that $8/month also? I’ll grant limiting minutes might be a way to minimize voice costs. On the other hand, allowing Relay to make and receive conventional phone calls would make 911 (and the associated costs for that) mandatory.

I’m uncertain where you looked a year ago but talk, text and no cell data is $15/month plus taxes and regulatory recovery fees with Republic: https://republicwireless.com/cell-phone-plans/. For me, that works out to $18.50/month. The old $10 plan (still have one household phone using it) doesn’t include taxes and fees, so its cost, for me, is about $13.50/month.

Then, there’s the reality that Republic’s pricing is dependent on blended WiFi/cell service requiring a smartphone app. Therefore, attempting to replicate some form of blended service on Relay would seem to require developing something akin to the Republic app for Relay. Is that doable, probably. Could those development costs be absorbed at your preferred price point? In my opinion, doubtful.


Another thing to keep in mind is that relay was created as a cell phone alternative. So it was created outside of the regulations that mandate cell phone use such as the requirement for it to be able to call 911. IMO I see any steps going in recommended direction would require a lot of work to meet phone regulations that the relay system has not had to meet as a non phone.


I like the idea of a screen less phone. Voice assistants are probably good enough now to make that work. I don’t think market demand would be enough to support such a product however.

As for the relay itself I hope remains as a great phone alternative for parents to give to their children. The monthly fee is already at a great price point and hopefully enough demand will help lower the hardware cost a bit.

I wish the relay would’ve been around when I got my son his first phone.