According to Pew Research Center, 90% of Americans own cell phones and 64% have smartphones. With so many options available from the various wireless providers, it can be difficult to figure out where the best deals are, but things are changing. Wireless contracts are being thrown out the window and providers are being forced to be more transparent to make it easier for consumers. Let’s take a look at what’s new in wireless, Project Fi by Google.
This April Google launched its very own wireless phone service, Project Fi. It was initially only for owners of last year’s Nexus 6 phone, but Google announced on September 29th that Project Fi service will also be offered for its two new Nexus devices, the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. This is great news for anyone that wants to take advantage of Project Fi’s very competitively priced plans but aren’t necessarily a fan of last year’s Nexus 6. Project Fi is still only available by invite only in areas where service is available, but they have made it really easy for you to get that invite. Just go to https://fi.google.com/signup to confirm they have coverage in your area and request the invite. Once you are confirmed, you can sign up for the service. Google has also made it easy to afford those new Nexus devices by offering a monthly payment plan with zero interest to qualified applicants.
So, what is it about Project Fi that is different from everything else that is out there? Well, Project Fi uses the Sprint and T-Mobile networks as well as Wi-Fi they have deemed fast, free and safe to provide users with seamless connection to Wi-Fi or 4G LTE networks as you move around. Many have legitimate concerns about the safety of their data when using public Wi-Fi, which is why Project Fi will encrypt all of your data while using these networks. Which network will your phone be connected to at any given point? Whichever is fastest where you are whether that be Sprint or T-Mobile’s network or Wi-Fi. Based on Project Fi’s coverage map (shown to the left) it looks like we should have pretty solid 4G LTE coverage here in Florida.
Now, what does Project Fi cost? Probably one of the best things about Project Fi is how straight forward they have made their plans and costs. It starts with the “Fi Basics” for $20/month. This includes unlimited domestic talk and text, unlimited international texts, Wi-Fi tethering to use your phone as a hotspot and access to cellular coverage in 120+ countries. Then, you can add Data for $10 per GB. So, a plan with unlimited talk and text and 1 GB of data costs $30, a plan with 2 GB of data costs $40 and so on. It is prepaid service with no contract and if you use less data than you signed up for, Project Fi will credit the unused amount to your next bill. According to Project Fi’s website it works like this: “If your data usage at the end of the month is less than your data budget, you’ll get a credit for approximately one cent per MB. For example, if your data budget is 2GB and you use 1.265GB, you’ll get a $7.35 credit.” Project Fi will alert you if you get close to exceeding your allotted data and if you go over, you are only charged for what you use.
For those who might be interested in signing up for Project Fi and do not already have a Nexus 6 or newer Nexus on preorder, there are a few options. Last year’s Nexus 6 are on sale for quite a discount now (you will need a carrier unlocked Nexus 6). Also, Google is offering interest free payment plans for the new Nexus 5x and 6P. (See chart to the left.) Hopefully Google will add other devices to their service so that fans of other devices can take advantage of Project Fi too.
For more information about Project Fi visit their FAQ page at: https://fi.google.com/about/faq/
Screencaptures are from Google Project Fi page.