Google’s new Project Fi: A low-cost Cell Phone Service

As rumored for months, Google today announced its new cell phone service. At first glance, it looks good and is very low-priced compared to the major U.S. cell phone providers. However, a comparison shows that several of the low-cost cellular providers already offer better deals.

Google’s new cell phone service, called Project Fi, is not yet available to everyone. It is available only in an invitation-only basis. Next, it works only on Google’s (expensive) Nexus 6 Android phone. It will not work with any other cell phone. Service will be made available through both the Sprint and T-Mobile networks.

The big advantage of Project Fi is that it marries together normal cell phone networks and wi-fi networks. When you’re connected to wi-fi, for example, all of your voice and data activities will use that network. If you are not in range of a wi-fi network, the software in the cell phone automatically switches the call and data to Sprint’s and T-Mobile’s networks. The service costs $20 per month for unlimited voice minutes. If you want data, you will be charged an additional $10 per gigabyte that you use.

In other words, it works just like the cheaper cell phone service that Republic Wireless has offered for more than two years now.

Disclaimer: I have been using Republic Wireless’s cell phone service for about two years and love it. I usually pay $10 a month for the service but occasionally upgrade to $25/month for a week or two when traveling and expect to use the wireless data plan frequently. When I return home, I then “downgrade” to $10/month again.

There is one unique difference with Project Fi: your Project Fi phone number “lives in the cloud.” That allows you to use a phone, tablet or browser with Project Fi and have conversations regardless of the device you’re using. That sounds like Google Voice.

I often try out new products and services when announced but think I will pass on Google’s Project Fi. It is more expensive than the service I am already using and am pleased with.

If you already have a Nexus 6 handset and want to give Project Fi a try, you can request an invitation at http://fi.google.com.

You can learn more about Google’s Project Fi at http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2015/04/project-fi.html.

 

3 Comments

Ditto on Republic. I don’t pay $20 with the taxes! I thought they’d be more competitive, at least for the roll out. Then again Google has one of the most bloated extravagant headquarters in all of the corporate world. They have to pay for that somehow.

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I switched to Republic when you first wrote about it. My first phone couldn’t send or recieve pictures, a problem that was eliminated with the Moto X. I love the company and the phone, but find it interesting that when I brag about it, people are very hesitant to give up their “name brand” phone and service and want to continue to pay $100/month!

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Well, their call charges are much cheaper than other service providers and it is one of the most demanded phone service in area.

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