Perhaps the best way to describe Google Fi is to say it is a common sense approach to cellular. Use Wifi when you can, leverage the infrastructure already in place, and be ready to adapt and grow as new opportunities arrive.
Launched as Project Fi in 2015, it started as an invitation only beta for the Nexus 6 . The idea was not to create a new service with it’s own cell towers and cabling, but to leverage what was already there. Contracting with Sprint and T-Mobile originally, the Nexus 6 would switch seamless from one provider to another picking the strongest of the two signals.
But cellular data is really its second choice. The phone is always looking for wifi services it can connect to and will encourage you do so when it can. But wait, I don’t want to be typing in login credentials and passwords all day long. Why is this a benefit?
The phone learns your behaviors by being with you most of the time. That is to say when it discovers a new wifi service it will prompt you to connect. The first time will require login credentials and a password but upon success, your phone will prompt you to save this information for the next time. Over time wifi connections in the area you travel most will either become seamless or reduced to a single click. It’s not uncommon for me to use less than a gigabyte of cellular data in any given month.
Today, Project Fi is known as Google Fi and has expanded services.
- Service by US Cellular in addition to Sprint and T-Mobile
- A family plan
- Data billing capped at 6GB
- No roaming in 170+ countries
- More Fi phones
- Pixel 3 & Pixel 3 XL
- Pixel 2 XL
- Moto G6
- LG V35 ThinQ
- LG G7 ThinQ
- Android One Moto X⁴
- Other phones
If you live or work in an area serviced by wifi hotspots Google Fi is a good choice. The billing is straight forward at $20 / line and $10 / Gig of data used. Although not unlimited the data billing is capped at 6 GB. Throttling does not kick in until 15 GB.