In late November 2016, I ditched Sprint for Google’s Project Fi. I’ve now been using it for nearly two months with the Google Pixel. Was ditching Sprint worth it? In this video, I break down my experience with Project Fi. Get a $20 credit when signing up for Project Fi using this link: https://g.co/fi/r/X5U741 (I think we’ve maxed out the bonus credit but you can still try!)
At the highest level, Project Fi is a phone carrier operated by Google. It works by giving you mobile data service on three mobile networks, which your phone will intelligently switch between — it also uses Wi-Fi to make calls and send texts whenever available. Project Fi is a “prepaid” carrier, meaning you pay upfront for your service in the trailing month, which is the opposite of a traditional carrier (Verizon, AT&T, etc.) that bills you after you use the service.
It’s all about simplified billing with no hidden fees or overages.
Project Fi is focused on simplified billing. You pay $20 per month for unlimited talk and texting, and a flat rate of $10 per gigabyte of data used. At the start of each month you simply estimate how much data you’ll use (by the gigabyte) and pay for that amount — at the end of the month you’ll receive either a refund for data you didn’t use, or pay a little extra on the next bill for data overages. You’ll always pay at the same $10 per gigabyte rate either way. Bill Protection applies to international data usage the same as home usage.
The only time that doesn’t apply is when you hit a level called “Bill Protection” — effectively an unlimited plan tier for Fi. Once you’ve used 6GB ($60) of data in a given month, your bill is then capped at that point for the month but you continue to get data service. You can use as much data as you want for the month without paying over $80 total ($20 base + $60 data). The only caveat here is that once you hit 15GB of total data usage, your speeds are slowed to 256kbps — alternatively, at the 15GB point you can choose to start paying $10 per GB again for full-speed data if needed.
The huge benefit here is that you don’t have to pay for an “unlimited” plan every month — it’s simply there if you use beyond 6GB of data in a month. All other months when you use less than 6GB of data your bill will be less than $80.
You get the power of three mobile networks, plus Wi-Fi, in a single SIM
When you use Project Fi, you also get some of the same features that have made Google Voice popular over the years. You can forward phone calls to your Fi number to any phone you want, as well as view voicemail, make calls and send texts with that number from any device using the Hangouts app and website.
Project Fi also works internationally in 120 countries around the world with no additional cost for data use or texting. You can call at a flat rate to any number while on the cellular networks abroad, or pay much lower rates when calling on Wi-Fi. You can also call back home to the U.S. on Wi-Fi for free. Data used internationally just comes out of your standard $10 per gigabyte bucket, but speeds can vary depending on the country you’re in.
Why do I want it?
Well, this is really a personal question of whether you actually want to try Project Fi. Chances are if you’re reading Android Central you’re at least one step closer to being the target audience for the Google-powered carrier, but there are a few other boxes to check that make it the right choice for you.
You can sign up for Project Fi online in minutes, and you can either buy a Pixel phone at the same time or Google will send you a SIM card to put in your existing Pixel or Nexus. Once it arrives, you can start the typical porting process of bringing your current phone number to Fi, or can start fresh with a new number. You can use Project Fi for as long or short as you want, as there aren’t any contracts or commitments involved.