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Google’s Approach To Cellular – Project Fi
A few months back, Google announced their new “Project Fi” which is their attempt at showing mobile carriers how cell provision can be done in an easy, inexpensive fashion. Of course, if you are on one of the few remaining options that gives unlimited data, you are going to be better off (as long as you use it!), but for those who pay for their data in their package by amount, the new Project Fi may provide a better option.
I am not sure how they have been going through the requests for the Google Fi program. To get an invite, you have to sign up and one of the fields on the application is for the zip code. I am not sure if they are going by zip code or what because people that applied before me have still not received their invite while mine was just delivered. I had actually signed up for two (different people/accounts) and the other one is not going to be ready for a while still.
My Package Has Arrived – Cheaper Global Data For Me!
Flexible Data Usage
The process goes like this – you sign-up to receive an invite, wait (a long time!), receive the invitation to sign-up, then you can sign-up and receive the package. The Project Fi SIM card costs nothing to receive. The plan (which starts at $20 per month for unlimited minutes and texts) does not start charging you until you activate the SIM. There is no contract – it is a prepaid program. To purchase data, you pay $10 per 1GB. Whatever you do not end up using in data is given as a (money) credit towards your next months bill. For example, if you purchase the basic plan ($20) plus 3GB of data ($30), you will pay $50 for that month (plus any taxes). If you only use 1GB, you will receive a credit of $20 towards your next bill. Pretty nice!
No Roaming Fees On Data In 120 Countries
The part that I am really excited about is the ability to use this plan globally. There are 120 countries that are included in the roaming free for data program. That means if you are traveling in any of those 120 countries, you will still just pay $10 per 1GB with no roaming costs. Granted, this will not be the speed you will be used to in the US but 3G speed. Just something to note about that – Google says it will be capped at 256kbps/3G for international roaming. I am not sure if the phone actually limits it to that speed or if it will only use 3G networks. I am not sure why this is, but in some countries on “3G” networks, my speeds have been significantly higher that 256kbps. Granted, I am not an expert at data and cellular systems, but I am interested to see if my experiences with the Project Fi plan mimic what I have found with local SIMs.
Unlimited Texting When Traveling In 120 Countries
Another cool thing about the Project Fi for international use is that texts are free when traveling in those 120 countries as well. That is pretty standard for many local plans – free incoming texts, that is. To get outgoing texts for free too is great. Of course, voice calls are not free but will cost $.20 per minute in those countries. But, the 3G speeds should be enough to give you the ability to make voice calls over data so you wouldn’t really need that anyway.
The big negative? You have to have a Google Nexus 6 phone. That is not a cheap phone (currently $500 new) and it is a big phone. I already have an iPhone 6 Plus so having a second big phone may be a bit much. But, I have been working on different price cutters (eBay gift cards, eBay bonus bucks, etc) to get a significant discount on the phone so I am going to give it a try. Besides, I am a tech lover so it will be nice to have an Android phone again!
The bad part for me is that I am not currently in the US so I have not been able to use it yet. I should be getting it before too long and will update then with some reports of performance in the countries I am visiting over the next month.
Have you already received your Project Fi SIM? How is your experience with the program and performance?
Editorial Note - Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
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