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Google Fi vs T-Mobile: Which is right for you?

If you can't decide between Google and the Un-Carrier, we're here to help.

Published onMay 9, 2024

T Mobile logo straight MWC 2022
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

We’ve already stacked Google Fi against two of the Big Three — Verizon and AT&T. Now; it’s time to see how the MVNO fares against its host network, T-Mobile. The two may share a network, but there’s far more that sets them apart. We’ll dig into all of the most important categories to help you decide on a new mobile carrier. Ready to learn more in our Google Fi vs T-Mobile comparison? Let’s get to it.

We’ve compared the prices, coverage, and even the phones you can bring to both networks. Curious how Google Fi stacks against the others? We have a guide comparing Fi against Verizon and AT&T.

Google Fi vs T-Mobile — Pricing

T Mobile logo angled MWC 2022
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

T-Mobile and Google Fi tend to find themselves remarkably close in terms of pricing, at least if you have a plan with only a few lines. As you reach three and four-line plans, the Uncarrier becomes the more affordable option. However, it can’t compete with the convenience of the Flexible plan. Before we get too into the details, check out the comparison table to get a sense of where we’re going:

Google Fi costsT-Mobile costs
Entry-level unlimited
Google Fi costs
Simply Unlimited
$65 for one line
$25 per line for 4
T-Mobile costs
Essentials Saver
$50 per line
$25 per line for 4
Mid-level unlimited
Google Fi costs
Unlimited Plus
$65 for one line
$40 per line for 4
T-Mobile costs
Go5G Plus
$90 per line
$46.25 per line for 4
High-end unlimited
Google Fi costs
T-Mobile costs
Go5G Next
$100 per line
$56.29 per line for 4
Other plans
Google Fi costs
Flexible Plan
$20 for one line
$16.25 per line for 4
Plus $10 per GB of data used
T-Mobile costs
Go 5G
$75 per line
$38.50 per line for 4

As you can see, the T-Mobile Essentials plan is almost identical to Google’s new Simply Unlimited option, though Essentials is a bit cheaper, starting at $50 for one line.  If you have three lines you’ll pay the same, but otherwise, T-Mobile is at least $5 cheaper per line.

If you want to spend a little more money on some extra features, the Unlimited Plus plan matches up pretty well with Go5G or Go5G Plus. T-Mobile also offers a higher-end Go5G Next which includes a bunch of extras like better phone discounts, early upgrades, 50GB hotspot data, and more.

After the unlimited plans are all said and done, Google Fi still has its Flexible card to play. It offers all the talk and text you could need, and you’ll pay based on your data usage. After a certain point, even the data used becomes free to keep your bill from climbing too high.

If these prices put you off, it might be time to check out a cheaper MVNO instead. Check out our guide to the best prepaid plans for more details.

Google Fi vs T-Mobile — Coverage

The Google Fi packaging.

Comparing the network coverage of T-Mobile and Google Fi is something like looking in a mirror. Both carriers rely on the magenta network for most of their 4G LTE and 5G coverage. That means you should have a pretty solid blanket of service throughout the United States.

However, Google Fi has another trick up its sleeve that puts it slightly ahead of T-Mobile’s coverage, it adds US Cellular coverage during times of roaming. It used to be you could choose which network it would default to, but these days the US Cellular coverage is only for when you are roaming and have no T-Mobile coverage. Still, if you travel in rural areas, this could be a real boon.  You won’t find US Cellular’s 5G network outside of the Midwest, but it’s still a great backup to have available.

T-Mobile’s map does a solid job of showing where the carrier claims to offer 5G coverage. Of course, much of this is the longer-distance 600Mhz coverage, although there are plenty of spots where you can get 5G Ultra-Capacity, T-Mobile’s name for its fastest, most reliable connections. You can check out the entire map right here. Google Fi’s map looks slightly different, even though it relies primarily on the same towers. Check out the specifics of your local zipcode here.

Google Fi vs T-Mobile — Perks and promotions

amazon fire 7 2022 netflix
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

So we’ve pretty much established that you’ll pay about the same amount, depending on the plan and your needs.

At the mid-range level or higher, T-Mobile might come out on top. This is especially true when it comes to perks. You’ll typically get Netflix and Apple TV+ with ads included.

On the lowest end, you might spend more with Fi but it’s important to note that the base Fi plan is significantly better than the Essentials Saver. It will get higher call priority and has more premium data and features.

Over on Google Fi, you’ll have to jump to the premium Unlimited Plus plan for any added excitement. You won’t get a streaming perk of any kind, but you will get a Google One membership. It’s helpful if you’re looking for discounts on Google products or a little extra cloud storage. However, the Simply Unlimited and Flexible users are pretty much out in the cold as far as perks go.

As for discounts, T-Mobile is probably still your winner. It offers various BOGO deals and hefty discounts on the latest from Apple, Samsung, and more. In fact, you can get a free 5G-ready phone just for making the switch to the Uncarrier. Google Fi might be your best bet if you want a flagship device right now.

For more great deals, check out our guide to the best T-Mobile deals.

Google Fi vs T-Mobile — Phone selections

Pixel 7 Pro vs Galaxy S22 Ultra cameras
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

It’s not surprising to hear that Google Fi won’t sell you an iPhone. However, you might be surprised to learn that the carrier does support them. You’ll just have to bring one for yourself. Google Fi will instead try to steer you towards an Android device, especially one that’s specifically designed for the carrier. You can buy the latest Pixels, Galaxy devices, and even Motorola’s Moto G series straight from Fi or bring a phone from the extensive list of options. Visit Google’s site for a full list of options.

On the other hand, T-Mobile will sell you just about any one of the latest smartphones. It carries everything from Apple to Samsung and even OnePlus. That means you can dip into the iPhone 15 series, Google’s Pixel 8, or any of Samsung’s Galaxy S24 devices. You can bring even more devices, just as long as they support the right mix of GSM bands.

Which carrier is right for you?

Finally, the answer you’ve been waiting for — which carrier should you choose? In the T-Mobile vs Google Fi showdown, it’s not nearly so simple. Ultimately, you have to choose based on your needs. The two carriers share a great network, plenty of phones, and some of the best prices around. Google Fi brings US Cellular into the picture, and it’s the perfect mate for a Pixel device. However, you won’t get a full slate of features on an iPhone, and there are just three plans to choose from.

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