Imagine paying just 15.00 per month for unlimited phone service, texts and data with the best possible call quality and coverage possible?
Enter Google’s Project Fi
Project Fi as it’s called, was started several years ago to provide low cost solution to cellular service and to help drive more traffic to Google’s products and services, mainly online search. Also as a perk for upcoming Google branded phones like the Nexus and Nexus 5x, right up into the latest Pixel generation 2 phones.
For 20.00 a month with no contract Project Fi offers unlimited calling and messaging with a set price of 10 per gb of data used when not on wifi. That data usage is also prorated, meaning it’s refunded or adjusted based on actual amount used, meaning it’s possible to have a bill of just 15.00 per line with an additional discount of 5.00 per line when added to a family plan. No contracts, no limits and no over charging.
Google for it’s part does what many other smaller companies does, buy time on other companies networks. In the US for instance the Project Fi network consists of Sprint, T-Mobile and Us Cellular which the phones seamlessly transition across as coverage changes to get the best quality network. It even provides an option for a data only sim with any plan to take your Ipad or other device on the go.
Unfortunately the major drawback is it works only on Google Nexus, Pixel and Android One devices now, which are among the best smartphones on the market regardless. Google claims other phones don’t have the fast switching network technology that allows seamless coverage, but others have managed to get it to work with varying degrees of success on Apples Iphones and other devices.
The latest round of Google Pixel phones utilize the new E-sim technology, meaning that it’s no longer necessary to insert a sim card into the phone at all, leaving the empty space ripe for a second sim while traveling abroad, switching between them takes a few seconds even.
However, one of the major selling points of Project Fi is that it works in most other countries for the same basic pricing. Data is always 10.00 per GB but calls to and from other countries are adjusted in price but still on the good side of cheap in comparison with many other companies.
My WiFi for instance is headed to KZ in January and is a member of Project Fi with a Pixel 2, so it’s possible she won’t even get a local sim card, instead relying on the same service through her whole trip, no hassles, 1 number and using Wifi calling where applicable – another great reason to use the service.
So why isn’t it perfect?
Well put simply, the same thing that makes it so cheap, prorated data – also makes it expensive for data heavy users. After one bill hit 130.00 for the month I was forced to switch back to Metro-PCS, who also uses T-Mobiles network but is unlimited data, talk and text for just 50.00 per month. One month I used 63gb of data and was still not throttled or charged extra. My two other family members however routinely use less than 1gb of data each meaning 50.00 per month for both of them (or less) with Project Fi.
Maybe if they go to 5.00 per GB or buy T-Mobile and do data prices closer to their actual cost (1c per GB these days or less) I will switch back as the service is unparalleled in the US and many other countries.