With many complaints about expensive cell phone company data plans and roaming prices, Google’s new wireless plan may be worth a look. And it’s not just a wireless plan. Project Fi‘s innovative program uses a network of the biggest wireless carriers combined with WiFi in your home and locations all over the world to give you the best available cell signal wherever you are in world.
The Project, open by invitation only in 2015, is now in full swing and available in the US on the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6 phones. This summer, it expanded its coverage to over 135 countries and locations all over the world. With rumored new features from Google Nougat coming in the fall, now might be the best time to explore Google’s new option.
Here are 5 reasons to keep your eye on Fi:
1. Google pays you back
Plans start at only $20 per month for unlimited voice and text. Flexible data plans allow you to use only the data you need for a flat $10 per gigabyte of data. Google even refunds money into your account for unused data at the end of every billing cycle.
2. More networks and world coverage
While traditional services limit customers to one carrier, Google brings a network of networks to the table. Project Fi’s plans work with both WiFi and 4G LTE coverage from 3 major US networks: Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular. And in July they added the European carrier Three. Unlimited texting is included in 135+ countries. International cell calls are 20 cents per minute in-network. And the data price is still $10 whether you’re in Shanghai on business or running with the bulls in Spain.
2. Seamless switching
Unlike other major brands, Fi won’t charge you for WiFi used in your own home or at public hot-spots. And its SIM card automatically switches from WiFi to cell coverage. So, for example, if you’re working in a concrete bunker or lunching in the basement Tapas bar and want to keep the conversation going on the way to your next meeting, you can talk without interruption.
4. No penalty for high data usage
Wireless Carriers that offer unlimited streaming have a reputation for throttling down speed after reaching data thresholds. With Fi, you continue to get the fastest service available wherever you are – whether that’s 4G LTE, 3G, or 2G.
5. The Nougat release is coming
Google’s newest version of Android (7.0) is now available as an update for some Google devices. Nicknamed Nougat, it’s forecasted to provide more seamless updates without popups along with a host of other features such as multi-window support, VR, direct reply notifications, quick settings menu, and doze mode.
ADDENDUM: Project Fi may have a hot contender in Republic Wireless. Republic is also offering seamless switching between 4G LTE and WiFi. Although it only uses the T-Mobile network, it’s available on a wider selection of phones and uses a hybrid of cell and WiFi data to fill in the gaps for a smoother connection.