Project Fi - This is BIG!
A reader asks: “I've heard that Google just started their own mobile phone service, with rates that are surprisingly low. Is that true, and is it a better deal than Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile?” My answer is “Yes, sort of, and yes, maybe." Here's the scoop on Project Fi. Read on to find out if switching will save you money…
What is Project Fi?
Google has launched Project Fi, a new way to stay connected while on the move. Project Fi is a hybrid WiFi-cellular network similar to Republic Wireless, a company I’ve covered before. Whether it’s cheaper than Republic Wireless and other budget communication plans depends on how much data you use.
Only $20/month gets you unlimited U. S. talk and text, plus unlimited international texts. International voice rates are low and available in 120 countries. The deal also includes WiFi tethering, so you can share your phone's internet connection with a laptop, e-reader, etc. Project Fi does not offer group or family plans at the moment.
Project Fi’s opening salvo is certainly bigger than any hybrid startups. Google has recruited T-Mobile and Sprint to be its cellular fallbacks when WiFi is not available. That gives Project Fi a nationwide 4G LTE footprint right off the bat.
Data costs $10 per gigabyte used per month. Significantly, Google prorates its data fee: if you go 0.3 GB over your selected data allowance, you pay 0.3 times $10 extra, or $3. Compare to plans that sock you hard for every MEGAbyte over your plan’s allowance. Also, unused data rolls over to the following month’s allowance. That's a really nice perk. Oh, and there's no annual contract required. So you're not locked in by the threat of an "early termination fee."
The geeks at Android Police have done the math for you; if you use 5 GB of data per month or less, Google Fi is cheaper than the discount plans of T-mobile, AT&T, and Verizon.
If you're a typical user who consumes about 2GB per month, you'll save $35-$40 per month as compared to Verizon or AT&T. With credit for unused data, the savings could go higher.
Is There a Catch?
Every phone plan has a catch. But Project Fi doesn’t. You won’t be throttled when you exceed your data allowance. Your service won’t be canceled because you “abused” what you pay for.
Well, there is one catch: Right now, Project Fi works only on Google’s Nexus 6 phone. If you don't have one already, that'll cost you $649. That's a big chunk of change, but you can spread the payments over 24 months, and pay $27.04/month. That's not so bad, if you're saving $40/month on your phone bill. Remember that Project Fi is one of Google’s grand experiments, and there's no guarantee it'll be around in two years. So buying a Nexus 6 for Project Fi alone is a tradeoff you'll have to consider.
Project Fi is perhaps not intended to out-compete other networks. Its goal is to demonstrate to the incumbent carriers that simple, honest pricing and policies are what consumers want. We shall see if that’s the case.
What's your opinion? Does Project Fi seem like something you'd like to try? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 27 Apr 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Project Fi - This is BIG! (Posted: 27 Apr 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved