Google’s Project Fi is a cell phone service with some unique differences from other cell phone providers.
- GoogleFi /ProjectFI is Google’s new cell phone service
- GoogleFi works on both T-Mobile & Sprints Network
- GoogleFi uses WiFi calling and auto connects to a list of open networks
- You can call & text via your web browser without the phone
Google has become an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) which means they are buying access from both Sprint & T-Mobile while at the same time using the power of WiFi networks to offer a very unique type of cellphone service. The phone will simply choose whichever signal provides the best service for your phone & data needs. It then switches seamlessly between them, without dropping the call. I really like this feature because I have WiFi most every where I go. I have had no issues starting calls while on a WiFi network or moving off of the network onto cellular, as well as no audible change during the call when switching between networks.
Pricing for this service is very reasonable and straight forward. Due to the way the service favors public WiFi networks by auto connecting to them (there is an option to over ride this on the phone), Google saves money by not using the cellular towers or having to pay fees to the carriers.
GoogleFi is $20 for unlimited texting and calling within the USA (they offer reasonable rates for calling outside the US). Data is billed at $10 per gigabyte, that’s it! You will only be charged for what you use. Any overage charges simply put you into the next tier of $10 more dollars per gig. You can choose the amount of data that you think you need and Google will charge you based on your actual usage. They do not take any money for data you do not use and credit will even your account for the next billing cycle (sorry, but you don’t get cash back).
So since there is no physical store to stop in if you have phone issues, GoogleFi offers fast and timely support via voice, chat or email. I contacted support just to test how fast they would respond and I was not disappointed. I had used the chat system but they do offer phone and email support as well.
I was with Verizon with the same phone number since 1999. Switching cellphone services made me feel like I was leaving an old (but expensive) friend behind, even though I have not been the biggest fan of Verizon at times. I was able to do the entire process online. When I signed up for the ProjectFI, Google offered to get me a new number or port my existing one. I chose to keep the same number I have had for all these years. The only information Google needed was my Verizon Account and PIN. Since it would be a few weeks for the phone to arrive, they had the switch pre-planned to happen with the activation of the phone once I received it. The next process went surprisingly easy. I received the phone, inserted the SIM they provide and said yes to finish porting over my number and it was done. It took less than 10 minutes for my phone to start receiving calls.
Due to the technology that is needed for the phone to operate on the GoogleFi network, as of the time of creating this blog, the only support phones are the Nexus 5x, Nexus 6 & Nexus 6P. I purchased the new Nexus 6P and I am loving the phone. I am hoping as this service catches on that other phone manufacturers with get on board and make phones that support this service. I have a mini review here of my Nexus 6P.
Web Interface Calls and Text
Another great bonus with the GoogleFi is that you can make and receive calls from via a web browser at https://hangouts.google.com/.
There is also a plugin for Chrome that has a pop out that makes it easy to just keep a small window open for calls and messaging.
I have only had GoogleFI for a week and I have not had any issues so far. I have read a few reviews where some people have had issues with poor carrier signal in some areas, but so far I have not had any issues here in the Detroit area. I will revisit this topic if I do run into any issues with the service, but I have a lot of faith in Google to keep delivering a top notch product. I also hope other phone manufactures get on board with making device compatible with the service, although I have no complaint so far with my Nexus 6P, it’s a great phone.