A New Cell Phone Player & What That Means
I switched to T-Mobile last year because they were the first to launch free international data. To be honest I have been meaning to write a review for the longest time, because I have used it in about a dozen counties and everything has worked flawlessly.
Just a few weeks ago Sprint also decided to launch free international data (limited though), but it is only half of the speed of T-Mobile’s which is already slow. Now a third player is coming into the mix and they are not only giving free international data, their hybrid service looks to be spectacular.
Google’s Project Fi
Today Google announced their new Project Fi cell phone service. Here is how it works. Each phone pays $20 a month for the Fi Basics service. This service comes with:
- Unlimited domestic talk and text
- Unlimited international texts
- Low-cost international calls
- Wi-Fi tethering
- Coverage in 120+ countries
Then you add in your data. Google is going to charge $10 per GB of data used. So if you use 3GB of data in a month, you would pay $30 plus the $20 basic fee. Sounds pretty great right? But wait there’s more.
What if you don’t use all of your data? Here is what Google says:
[quote_center]It’s hard to predict your data usage when it changes month to month. One month you’re streaming live sports, the next you’re mostly just checking email. At the end of each month, you’ll get your unused data credited in dollars and cents, so you only pay for what you use.[/quote_center]
So if you don’t use all of your data, they will refund you $1 per 100 MB unused. Here is a monthly price example on Google’s site:
- Current data plan 2GB: $20
- The Fi Basics: $20
- Monthly Plan Cost: $40
- Credit for .8 GB Unused Data: $8
- Total actual cost: $32
How Will International Data Work?
[quote_center]In 120+ countries, data usage costs the same $10 per GB as it does in the US (data speed is limited to 256kbps/3G). Check email, get directions, and keep in touch with friends and family when on your trip. Also, call around the world for 20c per minute and send unlimited international texts.[/quote_center]
So basically international data comes from your paid allotment which is fine. The big thing here is that it is twice the speed that T-Mobile gives you and 4x the speed of Sprint.
In the United States Project Fi is partnering with both Sprint and T-Mobile. This means that they have coverage in just about every area of the country. Additionally, your phone can use WiFi for a better quality signal.
Things You Should Know
Project Fi is currently available by invite only. You can request an invite here. Also, Project Fi is only working with Google’s Nexus 6 smartphone as of this time. You can purchase one when signing up.
If you have another question I haven’t answered, chances are it is answered in the very detailed FAQ.
I am really excited about this. Having decent international service along with service at home that is based on data usage is big for me. I personally use about 2.5GB of data a month, but my wife and son use no more than 1GB each.
Right now we pay $100 a month, so this wouldn’t be a big difference money wise, but the double speed on international data plus cheaper international calls would make a difference for me.
Hopefully they will open up this service to other phones relatively soon, because the Nexus 6 is pricey and I am happy with my current phone. I can’t wait to see how this evolves and if it puts pressure on AT&T and Verizon to add some sort of complimentary international data package to their plans.