Are you ready to dump those big carriers, with all their contracts, hidden charges, and unreasonable fees? There are some great options in the market, but many argue Google’s Project Fi is among the best. It is affordable, simple, and transparent.
Why is Project Fi so good? Because it is affordable, simple and transparent.
You will get no surprises with Project Fi. Google is very clear about its prices. The equation is rather simple. You are charged a base price for basic services and what you pay will mostly be affected by the amount of data you use.
Those looking to switch to Google Project Fi have come to the right place. In this post we will give you all the details you need, as well as info on how much you will be shelling out for a Google Project Fi plan. Shall we dig right in?
How does Google Project Fi work?
Project Fi is Google’s first real attempt at entering the carrier market and it’s taking a slightly different approach. In essence, it’s a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) with a twist. In the U.S., Project Fi piggybacks off three other networks: Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular.
Project Fi uses whichever network has the strongest signal available.
It uses whichever network has the strongest signal available. This ensures you have the best signal possible at all times. Normally this would be a nightmare when the time to pay royalties comes, but Google has a trick up its sleeve. When connected to Wi-Fi, Project Fi will route all calls, messages, and (of course) data through your internet connection. This should reduce their bills plenty, as many of us spend the majority of our days near a Wi-Fi connection.
It’s a very nifty and unconventional system, which also means you need nifty and unconventional software to handle things.
Because this is not a traditional carrier, you will need more than just an unlocked phone with a SIM card slot. The cell phone needs to decide which of the three networks is better at all times and switch between them. In addition, it needs to know when to throw everything to a Wi-Fi connection.
Most manufacturers are not about to go through this hassle, so you are left with a limited selection of devices, mostly from Google. Thankfully, they’re all great smartphones. Buy them straight from Project Fi or simply get a SIM card if you already have a compatible unit. Here is the list of supported phones:
- Google Nexus 5X
- Google Nexus 6P
- Google Pixel
- Google Pixel XL
- Google Pixel 2
- Google Pixel 2 XL
- Moto X4
- Android One Moto X4
You get all the perks!
Project Fi users get all the perks of a large carrier with none of the downsides.
What makes Project Fi so awesome is it gives users all the perks of a large carrier with none of the downsides.
For starters, you can opt to buy a phone with installments, which is always a nice option if you don’t have hundreds of dollars to spare on the spot. Hotspot data sharing is included for free. You can also trade handsets in for credit towards your next phone (or towards your account if the price of the trade-in exceeds the value of the new phone).
Another great perk you get with Project Fi is international coverage. You can roam within more than 170 countries without paying extra charges for data and texting. Texting is still unlimited and data costs the same as in the United States. Making and receiving cellular calls will simply cost you $0.20 per minute when using Project Fi in one of the 170+ listed countries (cellular rates outside those countries will vary). Cellular and Wi-Fi calling rates to international numbers vary (check international rates here), but receiving calls over Wi-Fi is free.
Let’s talk money
So, how much do Project Fi plans cost? The equation is rather simple, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, there’s really no set Project Fi plans, as you basically tailor the experience to your needs.
- Unlimited calls and texts: $20
- Data: $10 per GB
- Extra lines: $15 per line (up to five extra lines, six in total)
Bill Protection (aka unlimited data)
Google also offers a complimentary service called Bill Protection. With Bill Protection, you are no longer charged for extra data once you reach a certain amount of gigabytes. In essence, it’s their way of offering unlimited data, but only when you need it.
In essence, Bill Protection is Google's way of offering unlimited data, but only when you need it.
The amount of GB used before Bill Protection kicks in will depend on the number of lines you have. After reaching this cap, you will no longer be charged for extra data.
- 1 line: 6GB
- 2 lines: 10GB
- 3 lines: 12GB
- 4 lines: 14GB
- 5 lines: 16GB
- 6 lines: 18GB
You will be throttled after using 15GB, but all other carriers do the same sort of thing with their unlimited data plans. They just keep the details hidden in small print, somewhere in a 20-page document. If you really don’t want to be slowed down after 15GB, you can simply pay the usual $10/GB for data use past 15GB in a given cycle.
Extra fees to look out for?
The great thing about using a Project Fi plan is that surprise fees are rare — unless you start making long voice calls internationally.
Data and text messages cost the same in any of the over 170 supported markets. When you’re outside the U.S. in one of those supported countries, you’ll simply pay $0.20 per minute to make or receive cellular calls. Outgoing calls only incur extra fees when roaming or calling countries outside the United States and Canada with no Wi-Fi (check international rates here).
We are fans of Google Project Fi’s simplicity. You know what you are paying for and no weird surprises pop up. Google ensures you only pay for what you use — heck, you don’t even get charged for a full GB if you don’t use it all — and Google voluntarily offered Bill Protection for free when it could have easily made it a premium unlimited option.
It seems insane you could be paying under $30 for your phone plan. Not only that, but you get included Wi-Fi hotspots, international coverage, and much more. Since Project Fi uses three big U.S. networks, you rarely have a weak signal either. It’s easy for any one network to mess up, but three going down at once is unheard of. When all is said and done, Project Fi offers the best of all possible worlds.
Anyone signing up for a Project Fi plan? Do we have any Project Fi users around here? Hit the comments and tell us what you think of the service.