Travel Tech

Google Fi Sets a Limit on Data-Only SIM Cards

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Written by Charlie

Google Fi is hoping to have customers move to more family plans or solo plans as they have now put a limit on data-only SIM cards. Will this affect you?

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If you have spent anytime around here, you know I am a huge Google Fi fan and have been a customer for many years – back in the early beta stages, as a matter of fact. They have made some remarkable improvements to the service (even though their customer service department is still trying to catch up to the popularity of the service) and they have become my number one communications recommendation for travelers.

Google Fi Sets a Limit on Data-Only SIM Cards

Before you could get Google Fi on pretty much any smartphone (including iPhones!) with a Google-recognized process, many of us use to use data-only SIM cards for those devices. They would enable us to have all the perks of a regular Google Fi line but only with data services. That meant that we would not be supported for regular phone calls through our dialer but would have to use other dialer services for phone calls.

At that time, Google allowed up to 9 data-only SIM cards per account! In my eyes, that was really quite generous as it allowed main account holders to get additional data-only SIM cards (at no cost), name the cards by who was using them, and easily track the amount of data that was being used. There were no additional line charges – just the regular $10 per 1GB anywhere in the world.

However, effective yesterday, Google Fi has now set a limit on the number of data-only SIM cards that an account can have. The new Google Fi limit on data-only SIM cards per account is 4. This was presumably put in place to encourage people to either open their own Google Fi accounts or to setup family accounts.

faq google fi

I received an e-mail from Google Fi as I am one of those people with 9 data-only SIM cards. 🙂 Here is the text of the e-mail:

We wanted to let you know that we’re updating our policy around data-only SIMs. Starting today, Fi customers can have a maximum of 4 active data-only SIMs each.

You’re one of the few Fi customers who have more than 4 active data-only SIMs and we’re happy to let you know that you can continue using them all.
If you want to activate an additional data-only SIM in the future, you’ll first need to deactivate one of your existing ones. For more information on Fi data-only SIMs, visit the related help center article.
Thanks for being a part of Google Fi!
— Google Fi team”

So, I can keep the cards I have on my account but if I want a new card, I will have to deactivate one of the cards already on my account. For anyone that is not up to the limit yet, you will not be able to order and activate more than 4.

Who Will This Google Fi Change Affect?

This shouldn’t put a strain on too many people. For example, I have one for my iPad, one for my wife’s phone, and a couple more that I have for friends and family. I am not actually using all 9. I would imagine this will affect some users who may be sub-renting out lines on their Google Fi plans to others, especially since the limit that one would pay for a single voice line is $60 for data (6 GB).

After that, all the data is free (but may be throttled over 15GB). So, a customer could have a single voice SIM and 9 data cards and using 50GB per month but only paying the $60 for the data. I would imagine this is the real target group that Google is hoping to move to separate plans.

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

2 Comments

    • No, you still get the unlimited data but over 15gb (for an actual single line – meaning voice/text) it is throttled. If you want it unthrottled, you need to pay the $10 per 1GB again. So, you could just pay $60 per months and still use 40, 50gb or more.

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