Google Project Fi: How to get your service from Google Google has a lot of dishes in its hands, and depending on which phone you use, you might not know that the search company has also been running its own wireless service since 2015.
Google’s Project Fi Mobile virtual network is owned by Sprint, T-Mobile, and the U.S. Works on the back of Cellular’s LTE networks.
What is Project Fi?
Project Fi is the name of Google’s network that offers consumers direct mobile data, as is every other carrier available to choose between.
Here’s the skinny on its pricing structure: Google is charging a flat $20 per month for talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering, and international coverage in 135+ countries, with each gigabyte of data costing $10 on top of the bill. Is.
To illustrate, a plan with 3GB of data costs $50 (plus tax) per month. However, if you don’t use all that data, Google will only charge you for what you’ve used. So if you’ve only used 1.4 of your 3GB, Google says, you’ll pay $16 less than you originally planned. The same is true if you use more than you expect.
Adding people to your plan is easy and affordable. In fact, you save quite a bit of money per head you add. Instead of $20 flat, it’s $15 plus $10 per GB.
An unlimited plan is also available on ProjectFi. You can read all about it here.
Being a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) means that Google essentially licenses network infrastructure from other carriers. There are other companies that do this, like StreetTalk, which explored in depth. StreetTalk offers phone plans to customers that work off the networks of other carriers.
Google is doing the same here with Project Fi, positioning itself as a middleman between consumers and carriers. So even if your phone is on T-Mobile, Sprint and the U.S. Cellular LTE will bounce between services, but you’ll only have to deal with Google when it comes to supporting and billing.
The company says your device will automatically switch between available networks and Wi-Fi hotspots depending on whether the connection is optimal. Google counts more than a million free, open (and growing) Wi-Fi hotspots in the US as part of its network.
When you connect to Wi-Fi networks, Google encryption keeps you safe, the company says. And you’ll seamlessly transition between Wi-Fi and LTE, even in the middle of a call.
Google’s Project Fi is only in the US right now, though Google could theoretically launch it anywhere carriers are willing to partner with it.
Although it started out as an invite-only affair, Project Fi has officially opened its doors to anyone with a compatible device under its broad blanket of coverage.
But it seems that availability is pretty wide, and there’s no reason why Sprint, T-Mobile, and/or the U.S. can’t do it anywhere. Fi should not work where cellular service is available.
More recently, Google announced that it has partnered with Three in the UK to provide Project Fi users with 4G LTE when traveling abroad. Previously limited to 2G speeds, this could be the first step in bringing Fi to a wider audience.
Which devices will support it?
Google’s Project Fi service is currently available on the Google Pixel 2, Google Pixel 2 XL, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Moto X4, as well as older Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, or Nexus 6P flagship devices.
The latest phones to join the party are the Moto G6, LG G7 ThinQ, and LG V35 ThinQ.
While the service works on all of the aforementioned phones, it’s worth noting that Google no longer sells the Nexus and original Pixel lineup of devices. You must purchase through eBay, Amazon, or another third-party service.
Moving on, why is Project Fi only available on these devices, you ask?
According to Project Fi’s FAQ, this is because a Fi SIM card works well with a specially tuned cellular radio, not just between supported networks in the US, but around the world. Can also be bounced with. The tech isn’t available, or at least not being leveraged, yet in other phones made by third-party Android manufacturers, namely outside of Motorola and LG.
So, for those of you with recent Pixel and Nexus devices and have another phone or tablet that you want to set up on the network, all you need to do is make sure you do the same. What is sign in? Google Hangouts account on each to receive calls.
If you want to do more with your other devices, like go online in Chrome or your social media networks, you’ll want to order a data-only SIM from Google. They’re free and you can add as many as you want to your account (of course, there’s a limit, but we haven’t set it to four yet).
Project Fi app
While Project Fi deals with T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular towers, you only deal with Google. More specifically, after a simple online setup process, all you need to do is refer to the Project Fi app to proceed.
If your smartphone or tablet is updated, you’ll find the Project Fi app embedded in your app drawer. Within it, you can manage your account information and take a look at the amount of data you’ve used within the month.
Additionally, there’s a widget you can add to your main screen that shows how much data you’ve used in your cycle.
What does this mean for carriers?
Google had to partner with traditional wireless carriers for the service, but it could give those companies a run for their money by being more affordable, flexible, and user-friendly than services offered individually.
That’s often been Google’s M.O., and while it hasn’t always been successful, the company has a reputation for disrupting these traditional spaces. One need only look at the positive buzz surrounding Google Fiber, a service that is only available in a handful of US cities.
Project Fi looks like it can thanks to versatile service, easy payments, and more flexibility than any other wireless service offers.
This wouldn’t be the first time the wireless industry has been forced to step up its game to combat a new threat — just look at the positive changes T-Mobile’s “Un-carrier” campaign has made — but This could prove to be a major shakeup with Google.