Google’s Project Fi is the company’s long-rumored wireless carrier service for mobile devices. But far from a traditional plan, Google’s might be the most flexible out there—while also saving you a bundle of money.
Unlike Google’s other public infrastructure program Google Fiber, for which the company is physically putting fiber in the ground, Google isn’t actually building out a network of cell towers for Project Fi. Instead, it’s piggybacking on Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks. (This is also how providers like Republic Wireless work.) The plan offers 4G/LTE coverage, and wireless tethering, and Wi-Fi calling all included.
What makes Project Fi special and potentially more reliable than anything out there is that it dynamically switches between networks depending which of those is offering the best service in your area. Additionally, if there’s pre-vetted public Wi-Fi available, it’ll jump on board that network as well. The “network of networks” has a lot of potential to be more reliable. If one network has an outage, the others can serve as support.
The new plans costs $20 for starters, which gets you talk, text, and wireless tethering. Then it costs $10 per GB of data. So if like me, you’ve got 3GB per month, then you would pay $50 per month. The kicker is that if you don’t use all the data you pay for you’ll get paid back for what you don’t use. For now, Project Fi is only available for the Nexus 6 with a special SIM card, but hopefully that will change down the line.
It all sounds pretty sweet, if not exactly different from what Republic Wireless just started offering—though, in the long run, Google’s deep pockets will surely be an asset. Something about the Google name attached to Project Fi makes me both more trustful of it and more suspicious. Sure, Google implies reliability—but I also don’t know how much more control of my digital life I want to give Google.