I have been a Google Fi user for the last few months and, while not that fast abroad, having a US phone number and unlimited texts (plus cheap data) anyplace in the world has been very useful for me. The biggest drawback has been that, until this past October, you were restricted to only being able to use a single cellphone with the plan. Since Google has expanded their lineup, that number is now at 3. But, you are still required to use a Google phone for this service. For Apple users, that has not been the most convenient of options (though you can tether it but that still requires you to carry two smartphones).
Google Brings Cheap International Data To iPads, Android Tablets, & Smartphones!
Until now! Google announced this week that they are now allowing current Google Fi customers to add (up to 9) data-only SIMs that will work in Apple iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 4 models (among other Android tablets)! The best part is that this is available at the same low price of $10 per 1GB with no other cost (other than taxes) on it. That means that if you use 500MB of data on your tablet in a month, you will only pay $5+ taxes! That is fantastic!
This new data-only SIM card will work on the T-Mobile network when in the US (and carry with it regular higher-speed data rates) and then will roam on multiple carriers in over 120 countries around the world. When traveling abroad, you will be restricted to slower data speeds but it will still be fantastic to have data coverage on your tablet anywhere at a very cheap price.
This works perfect for people that want to have access to their e-mail, upload some work, do messaging – anything that makes connectivity a part of your regular life. Granted, you won’t be streaming Netflix or uploading large photos, but that is what the WiFi at your hotel is for! 🙂 Since you will not be paying the base amount of $20 per month (like on the Google Fi plan now) for the data-only SIM, you will not have things like text messaging. That is not really a problem, though, as you can load one of many messaging apps on your device and still stay in touch with people via messaging.
The New Data-Only SIM For Google Fi
Each Google Fi customer can order up to 9 data-only SIM cards. They are free to order and they ship for free. I have already ordered a couple of them and am really looking forward to trying them out. While Google lists devices that it will definitely work with, the data-only SIMs may work on other devices as well. It has this to say about it:
Data-only SIMs may work with devices that aren’t on our list. Devices need to be unlocked and work with T-Mobile (GSM radio). You can order a data-only SIM and test it out. However, we may not be able to help activate or troubleshoot these other devices.
Note on phones: If you set up a data-only SIM with a phone, you will have access to data, but you won’t be able to make calls and texts across the cellular network.
That last part is great as I want to try it in my iPhone to see how well it works with that. If it works well, that will be the perfect fit for me and I can stop carrying the Google Nexus 6 around on trips as all I need is iMessage and FaceTime to stay in touch.
Order The Data-Only SIM
To order it yourself, you will need to be a current Google Fi customer. If you are not, go here to request an invite. If you are, follow the instructions below:
- Open the Project Fi website.
- In the Account tab, go to Your Plan.
- Select Add data-only SIM.
- Follow the instructions to order your SIM.
It will default to 3-5 business day shipping. That is free but if you want it in 2 business days, you will need to pay $11.99 for the shipping and 1 business day will kick that up to $15.99.
- Must be a current Google Fi customer
- The data-only SIM plan will be $10 per 1GB per month (or any portion thereof)
- Slower data speeds abroad
- Will work in 120+ countries
- Guaranteed to work with the following devices:
- Nexus 7 – K009 (US LTE)
- Nexus 9 – 0P82300 (US LTE)
- iPad Air 2 – Model A1567
- iPad mini 4 – Model A1550
- Galaxy Tab S – Model SM-T807V
- Should work with other devices, including smartphones, but will not have access to phone or texting service
- Tethering with this SIM is not supported
- You can use the same SIM in multiple devices
- Read the details here
For someone that travels, this is the perfect component for that person! For me, this is great as I was really hoping I would be able to use my iPhone with this service at some point. Now it appears I can as a data device! It is important to remember that while this service only costs $10 per 1GB, you will need to still have Google Fi service. That will cost $20 for the base service but you will not need to pay for data on that if you only plan to use data on your other device. In this way, it would be about the same price as if you used data on the Google Nexus phone.
To get cheap international data, even if it is slower, for only $10 per 1GB and have it available on your devices is a great step forward! I look forward to testing it out and will report back with how well it has (or has not) worked for me!