Have you heard the term Google Fi but you have no idea what it means? In this blog post, I will explain what is Google Fi and how does it work.
What Is Google Fi?
Google Fi (formerly known as Project Fi) is a cell phone carrier that is owned and operated by Google.
What Networks Does Google Fi Use?
Google Fi gives you data services on three different mobile networks which include:
- U.S. Cellular
The service is set up in a way that gives your phone the ability to seamlessly and intelligently switch between these mobile networks.
Whenever Wi-Fi is available your phone will use it to send text messages and make phone calls.
There Are No Hidden Fees Or Overages With Google Fi:
The Google Fi billing system is extremely simple. It’s $20 per month for unlimited texting and talking, and an additional $10 per gigabyte of data that’s used after that until you get to 6GB, $60 per month.
If you exceed 6GB of data in any given month you will get to a level called “Bill Protection”. This is essentially Google Fi’s unlimited plan.
If you end up using 6GB of data in a month, the data charge will be capped at $60 for the remainder of the month.
However, you will continue to get data service. You will be able to use as much data as you want for the remainder of the month without exceeding $80.
That’s $20 for the basic plan and $60 data. However, when you get to 15GB of total data usage in any given month.
Your data speeds will slow down, it will be throttled to 256kbps. But when you get to 15GB you have the option of paying $10 per GB again for high-speed data if you would like to.
Google Fi Bill Protection Is Great:
The great thing about this plan is that you don’t have to pay for an unlimited plan every month.
However, it’s there for you if you ever exceed 6GB of data. With this service, all the months that you use less than 6GB of data your bill will be below $80, depending on your usage.
But the bill protection applies not only to home usage but also to international data usage as well. This is great for people who travel frequently.
Google Fi Group Plan:
With Google Fi, you also have the ability to set up a Group Plan with as many as six people who can share the same account.
The Group Plan offers the same features as the individual plan, but you will save $5 per month per person on the price of the base plan.
Google Fi normally charges the owner of the group for everyone’s bill so all the charges will appear on one bill.
However, the account can also be set up so each member receives their bill separately.
People who are part of a group plan can come and go as they wish because there’s no contract.
How Does Google Fi Work?
Google Fi works with the Google Fi SIM card in conjunction with a software application on the phone.
The software application can authenticate you on Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular and switch between these services whenever it’s necessary.
On the Google Pixel 2, 2 XL, 3, and 3 XL there is an integrated eSIM which gives you the ability to use Google Fi without a physical SIM card.
If you do this, your SIM card slot will not be used and you can use it for another carrier if you would like to do so.
What Makes Google Fi A Viable Option?
With the Google Fi service, you will get coverage from three carriers as well as Wi-Fi on one SIM card for a reasonable price.
Besides the three carriers, Google Fi heavily relies on Wi-Fi whenever it’s available, whether or not you’re close to a known network.
When you’re moving around, your phone will use the Wi-Fi assistant to constantly search for Wi-Fi networks and connect to them.
Google Fi uses a database of good networks that are known to provide a strong connection.
Google Fi VPN:
With this service, when your phone connects to a Wi-Fi network, the connection will always be routed through a VPN to protect your privacy.
You will not notice anything different when the connection has been made but you will not be paying for mobile data after the connection has been made.
All text messages and phone calls will work exactly the same way they do when you are on mobile data.
So if you’re having a conversation on the phone, you can continue your conversation while the phone seamlessly switches between the three carriers.
Additional Google Fi Features:
With the Google Fi service, you will get a few of the same features that have made Google Voice popular for many years. These features will give you the ability to:
- Send text messages and make calls with your Google Fi number from any device that uses the Google Hangouts app or website.
- Forward in-coming phone calls to your Fi number to any phone you would like to.
- View your voicemail.
Google Fi International Usage:
Google Fi works in over 170 countries around the globe and what’s great about this is there are no additional charges for data use or texting while you’re in a foreign country.
This is one of the main things that sets Google Fi apart from other carriers.
When you’re abroad there’s a flat rate of $0.20 per minute for making phone calls to any number while you’re on the cellular network.
However, if you’re connected to Wi-Fi then your rates will be much lower. When you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network you can make calls to the U.S. for free.
When you use data internationally, it’s handled in exactly the same way as it is when you’re home. It goes into the same $10 per gigabyte usage, and the bill protection will still apply.
Depending on what country you’re in the data speeds will vary. This is understandable because some countries have more advanced technology than others.
Phones That Can Be Used On Google Fi:
When Project Fi launched back in 2015 the service was exclusive to one phone, the Nexus 6.
Shortly thereafter, Project Fi started to support roughly a dozen phones from Google, LG, and Motorola.
Project Fi eventually transitioned to Google Fi, that’s when the service became available to all unlocked phones.
Get The Best User Experience On Google Fi With Google Phones:
To get the absolute best user experience with this service you should get one of the latest Google Pixel phones such as the Pixel 3, 3 XL, Pixel 2, and 2XL.
These phones come equipped with an eSIM inside that was pre-programmed to work with Google Fi.
So you can set up your account and connect to the Google Fi network without putting in a SIM card.
There are also some other phones that have been designed to work with Google Fi. Phones such as the Moto G6, Moto G7, LG V35, LG G7, and Android One Moto X4.
These phones will provide a similar user experience to one of the Google Pixel phones I mentioned above.
However, these phones do have an eSIM, so you will have to buy a Sim card separately.
All of the phones I mentioned above have network switching capabilities.
This means that they can seamlessly switch between Google’s network partners which are Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular.
They also have the ability to make smooth transitions between mobile networks and Wi-Fi hotspots via the Google VPN.
Any Unlocked Phone Will Work With Google Fi:
In the last quarter of 2018, some changes were made to the service which makes it possible to use the service with any unlocked phone.
However, there are some limitations. Unlocked phones do not have network switching capabilities on the network.
So anyone who uses Google Fi with an unlocked phone will primarily be using T-Mobile’s network.
The internet connection on Unlocked phones will not be routed through a VPN so it’s less secure as a result of this.
Those are the major differences, with an unlocked phone you will get the same international roaming as well as all of the other features.
The list of unlocked phones that are compatible with Google Fi isn’t limited to Android phones.
Unlocked iPhones are also supported, likewise, iMessage is also supported via your Google Fi number.
Some Additional Reasons Why You Should Consider Google Fi:
Google Fi isn’t expensive, the prices are reasonable for the service that it provides and there are lots of cool features that will appeal to the masses of smartphone users.
Bill protection which caps your charges every month, simplified billing, and international data and calling are a few great reasons why you should consider this plan.
Network coverage is good on the service due to the use of three carriers and Wi-Fi networks.
Now You Know More About Google Fi:
If you have any comments or questions about any of this information. Please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.