Google’s presence in the mobile carrier space is timely. Project Fi aims to offer what other national cellular providers can’t- flexible service and a unified, transparent subscription plan.
That being said, is it enough to compete with other major carriers?
One Plan, One Price
With Project Fi, users can say goodbye to lengthy contracts, family plans and termination fees. The service only offers one plan, under one price scheme. Subscription fees start at a reasonable $20 per month for essential mobile features: calls, text, Wi-Fi tethering and international support in 120+ participating countries. Cellular data goes for $10 per GB (both in the US and abroad). The data charges are pro-rated, which means you’ll receive full credit for any unused data at the end of the month.
Google does not set limits on Wi-Fi usage, allowing subscribers to make voice calls and send text messages over private and public hotspots. The company also promises seamless transitions between Wi-Fi and LTE for maximum signal flexibility when making calls. To get the most out of the built-in features offered on Project Fi, users should consider sticking to Google’s core communication apps- Hangouts and Google Voice.
A Bit of Help from T-Mobile and Sprint
In the official announcement on the company blog, Google briefly mentions the following about its approach to mobile carrier coverage:
“Project Fi aims to put you on the best network wherever you go. As you move around, the best network for you might be a Wi-Fi hotspot or a specific 4G LTE network. We developed new technology that gives you better coverage by intelligently connecting you to the fastest available network at your location whether it’s Wi-Fi or one of our two partner LTE networks.”
Individuals signed on with Project Fi will have access to both T-Mobile and Sprint networks. Switching between the two carriers and Wi-Fi is done automatically. It’s still too early to tell how effective the entire process is, or how it will affect one’s battery consumption. The only takeaway from this is that Google is working around the clock to keep its users well connected and happy.
Invites, Availability and Other Requirements
Getting onboard with Project Fi isn’t a simple process (for now at least). First things first, you need to have a Nexus 6. The network only works on that particular device, though Google does plan to change this policy in the future. If you don’t own a Nexus 6, you could order one during the sign up process.
The new service requires individuals who are interested to request for an invite to the Early Access Program. Entering your zip code in the system will confirm if Project Fi is available in your area. If it is, Google promises an invite to the exclusive network within 30 days.
In addition to the prerequisites above, you will also need a Google account. Google Apps accounts for work or business cannot be used with the robust service, so you’ll probably have to use your personal “@gmail.com” account.