What Is Google Project Fi, and Do You Need It?

June 28, 2018 • Shannon Flynn


Google Project Fi

If you know anything about phone plans, you’ve probably heard of Google Project Fi. It’s Google’s venture into telecommunications and aims to provide people with excellent cellular coverage that may be substantially better than what competitors in their areas offer.

Move Between Networks as You Talk and Browse

One thing that sets Google Project Fi apart from other telephone company options is that Google has partnerships with Sprint, U.S. Cellular and T-Mobile. Plus, it uses technology that moves you to the best network — whether its 4G LTE, 3G, or 2G.

Then, in the event of a complete loss of coverage, Google Project Fi automatically shifts to a better network. If you get spotty coverage in the middle of a call, you can expect a seamless transition instead of getting disconnected and having to redial the person’s number to resume the conversation. The same goes for using mobile data to access the internet on your phone.

A Flat Rate for Calls and Texts

Signing up gives you unlimited domestic calls and texts for $20 per month. Moreover, you can cancel at any time. It’s also possible to add up to five people to your plan for $15 per month each and let them share your data.

One of the newest offerings of Google’s carrier is the ability to add kids under 13 to your phone plan. First, set up a Family Link account, then use it to control how much time your youngsters can spend on their phones.

Take Advantage of the Bill Protection Feature

Have you ever received your cellphone bill and almost fainted from the shock of unexpected charges? That’s a typical experience among people who own mobile gadgets, but one Google wants to eliminate.

It offers a Bill Protection feature for mobile data that stops you from racking up charges by going over your limit. The specifics vary depending on how many people use the plan in your household, but the concept is that you pay a set price for your data allotment. Then, if you go over it, the data for the rest of the month is free.

For example, if you’re the only person using Google’s phone plan for data, each gigabyte costs $10 until you use six gigabytes. After that, your data doesn’t cost anything until the next month starts.

Google also makes it easy to use your data on other devices, such as a tablet for the same rate. You can simply request a data-only SIM card.

Use Your Phone Abroad Without Hassles

You might also decide it’s time to switch your phone plan to Google’s option if you travel to other countries frequently. When away from home, you can text people for free and use data at the same rate as in the U.S. when you’re in more than 170 other countries. Calls cost 20 cents per minute.

What’s the Catch?

You might be asking yourself, “How soon can I sign up?” — especially considering how most phone companies charge substantially higher prices for their service and may not offer such broad international coverage.

However, there’s a downside you need to know about, and it’s that you can’t use all phones with this service. Instead, you have to have a Pixel, Android One Moto X4, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X or Nexus 6.

When signing up, you can buy one of those compatible phones. If you already own one, purchase a SIM card by itself and insert it into the device.

It’s worth noting that you’ll soon be able to use some LG and Motorola phones, too. If any of the compatible phones have upfront costs that are too expensive, it’s possible to pay for them with a monthly financing plan. There are also periodic offers that allow getting a Google-exclusive price on one of the devices, along with a service credit.

Be aware as well that companies will pay your early termination fees (ETFs) incurred for getting out of your current phone contract, but Google isn’t one of them. When considering whether you want to make the switch, research whether an ETF applies to you. If it does, calculate that expense into your phone-related budget.

Is It Worth It?

You have many pros and cons to weigh when learning about phone provider possibilities. However, if you’re someone who likes the idea of paying a set rate for service and appreciate the data billing limitations that prevent extraordinary charges, it’s worth investigating more about this provider.

The fact that you seamlessly switch between networks is an advantage too, especially if you find that the current coverage provided by one company in your area isn’t as thorough as you’d like.