Can Google Convince You to Ditch Your Cell Phone Plan?
Google's newest project is finally out of the invitational period, meaning you can get your hands on it. What is it exactly? Meet Project Fi, the company's own wireless network meant to remove all the pain and hassle from traditional wireless companies.
It works pretty simply: You sign up for the service and pick one of the three phones available — the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Nexus 6. You'll then have to wait for the phone and SIM card to be mailed to you. Not to worry, you won't be charged for any service until you activate the SIM card. The basic package for Project Fi costs just $20 for unlimited domestic talk and text, unlimited international texting, and WiFi tethering. Ahead, you'll find other details about the service and our review.
You Get to Choose Your Data Plan
During the setup process, you get to choose how many GB of data you want to use.
- It's $10 per GB, so if you add 4 GB, you'll be paying an additional $40.
- If you end up not using most of your data during the billing cycle, Project Fi will then credit you back the amount of money you're owed. Any data you use on a public WiFi connection is also secured through encryption.
- The same idea applies to the basic talk and text package. If for some reason you end up using your phone for only half the month and then cancel the service, you'll only be charged for the amount you used.
Google's Convinced You're Going to Love Project Fi
Google hopes you'll choose Project Fi over all the other wireless providers for several reasons.
- Firstly, the company boasts it has the best wireless connection around. It tries to find you the fastest network by bouncing back and forth between US Cellular, Sprint, T-Mobile, and WiFi networks. The idea is if you're moving around and suddenly T-Mobile has a faster connection, you'll seamlessly be transferred over to that network. This also means you can start a call on a WiFi network, walk outside, and still keep talking without any issues.
- You can also use the phone internationally and not pay anything extra for data. Yes, you read that right. Project Fi will still only charge you $10 per GB, so even if you hop over to London for vacation, you don't need to worry about any roaming data charges. This perk is available in 120 countries.
- You can easily add more data to your plan on the Project Fi app or the website.
- It also only takes three steps to pause your service and only a few more to completely cancel it.
- If you need any help at all, Project Fi does have 24/7 customer support via chat, phone, or email. The calls are answered in about 20 seconds.
We're Going to Keep Our Old Cell Phone Plan . . . For Now
We were given the chance to try out Project Fi with the Nexus 6P and were left slightly impressed.
- If you're converting from iOS to Android, there will be an adjustment period getting used to it. However, the phone is relatively easy to understand, and the fingerprint reader on the back of the phone is actually more useful than the home button reader on the iPhone.
- As for Project Fi itself, don't expect a totally seamless connection constantly. Several times my texts weren't sent due to a poor or no connection — even in dense, open areas. You might even get connected to a 3G network.
- Despite the cons, I'm staying optimistic on Project Fi — mostly for the ability to pay for only the data I use. I'm one of those remaining few lucky users who still has unlimited data, so I never think about it. With Project Fi, I still don't have to. As it turns out, I don't consume as much data as I think I do, and having the ability to check my data usage on the Project Fi app is a relatively anxiety-free way to see how I'm doing. I have nine days remaining in my plan, and I think I'll actually get credit back. It's almost like a treat from Project Fi.
So yes, I will keep waiting to see whether Project Fi completely improves and does not drop any phone calls or texts. Then, maybe I'll consider switching over. Though to be honest, the service, while meant for millennials, is a good option for parents and grandparents who don't need that much data and can manage it easily if they do.
Check out photos of the phone, app, and setup process ahead. Maybe it'll convince you to try out Project Fi.
The Nexus 6P with the Fi Network.
Here's what the app looks like on your phone.
You can see just how much data you're using.
Both on the phone and website, you can adjust how much data you want.
You'll also see if you get any credits back in your bill.
The customer service support is even on the app itself.
Here's an example of an actual user's bill.
As you can see, it fluctuates based on what data plans you choose month-to-month.
This is a user's example of what the contents of their bill looks like.
You really will get an amount credited back to your account down to the very cent.