Google has unleashed a monster that challenges even the most competitive wireless carriers in the USA. It goes by the name of Project Fi, and it proves once again that Google is committed to changing the way we see technology, communications and information. Our expectations were not only met (for the most part), they were obliterated.
When we first heard rumors that Google was going to join the carrier wars, we knew something good was coming. We can now say that was an understatement; this is insane! All the rumors turned out to be true, and Google even packaged some extra goodies to further sweeten the deal. Let’s stop geeking out and show you what Google’s Project Fi is all about.
How Project Fi works
For all intents and purposes, Project Fi is not exactly a carrier – they are an MVNO. The differentiator is that they are an MVNO partnered with more than one carrier. Google has created partnerships with both T-Mobile and Sprint (not that the second one will help much). This ensures that your device gets better service in more places, as it uses a system that allows you to seamlessly switch to whatever offers the best coverage where you are.
Here’s how it works: so Project Fi works much like Republic Wireless. It harnesses the power of WiFi to lower costs. The phone will connect to “one of millions” of WiFi networks they consider suitable, as well as your trusted networks. The device will then route all calls, messages and (of course) data through this internet connection. Walk away from WiFi range and you will be transferred over to either T-Mobile’s or Sprint’s LTE network.
Yes, it is seamless…
… or so they claim, but let’s believe them for now. The point is that Google promises a continuous service with no interruptions. If you start a call within a WiFi network and walk away, the network will switch over to T-Mobile or Sprint without interrupting your call.
You can even use your service with other platforms
The cool thing about living in the cloud is that it opens doors we didn’t even know existed. For example, Project Fi subscribers will be able to access their services using computers, tablets and other supported smart devices. Of course, given that they have their own internet connection.
So we understand the concept of Project Fi, right? In it of itself, it’s nothing ground-breaking, but here is where Gogole really hooks you by the wallet. Prices are amazing.
There is really only one plan available. It’s super simple. You get your “basic” service for $20, which includes unlimited talk and text. Data costs only $10 per GB. No contracts, no tricks. And guess what – if you sign up for, say, 3 GB and you only use 2.5 GB, you get your $5 back. Refunds in unused data go right down to the cents!
Oh, and yes, it includes tethering.
INTERNATIONAL DATA AND TEXT INCLUDED!
Now, this is the part that really has me going. Yes, Project Fi is giving you free roaming and international services. Not everything is free, but what isn’t free is pretty damn affordable.
So you get international services in 120+ countries (pretty much thanks to T-Mobile, we assume). Subscribers will get unlimited text messaging to (and within) these 120+ countries. Meanwhile, international data costs $10 per GB… so the same as what it costs in the USA! The only trick is that you are limited to 3G speeds (256kbps), but that is better than being raped with roaming fees by other carriers!
The only tricky part is really voice calls. Calls over international cellular networks will cost 20 cents per minute (only outgoing, incoming calls are free). If you are on WiFi, the price will depend on the country you are calling (likely cheaper). Meanwhile, calling internationally, from the USA, will also cost you, but the pricing depends on the country you are calling (here are the rates for calling other countries from the USA).
The one downside (if you can call it that)
There is one issue many of you will not be fond of. So far, only the Nexus 6 is supported. You have to understand this type of complex service and network switching technology won’t exactly play well with all devices. Phones have to be optimized for it.
The good news is that Google claims to have hardware partnerships to bring more devices on board. At least at first you will be stuck with the Nexus 6 if you want to jump on board, though. Don’t get me wrong, the Nexus 6 is one hell of a device. The only issue is that it’s 6-inch screen and gargantuan size are not for everyone.
How the hell do I sign up?
Pretty insane, right? I have already requested my invite. Not only is it a hell of a deal, but I was completely sold when I learnt about those international features. Yet this is a great service even for those who don’t need international support, so we are sure many of you want to sign up.
You can request your invite at the Project Fi website. There will probably be a long line, so be sure to do it soon. I signed up and Google claims I should get my invite in the “coming weeks”.
Let it be known this is the service that finally has me switching from all-powerful Verizon. I can’t wait. Hell, even T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere is excited. Who else is signing up?!