Google unveils Project Fi, the cell phone plan you absolutely want
In the tech world, the word “disruptive” is badly overused. It’s a buzzword that everyone with a new product on the market would love to be able to slap on their promotional material.
Google, however, has earned that description several times with multiple products.
Now, the tech giant is turning its attention to the cell phone market with its new Project Fi. The new service is intended to improve wireless coverage, and dramatically lower cell phone bills. Basically, if it all works as promised, it will be the best cell phone option by far.
“As you go about your day, Project Fi automatically connects you to more than a million free, open Wi-Fi hotspots we’ve verified as fast and reliable,” the official Google page for the project states.
“Once you’re connected, we help secure your data through encryption. When you’re not on Wi-Fi, we move you between whichever of our partner networks is delivering the fastest speed, so you get 4G LTE in more places.”
One number, one service
Project Fi is able to differentiate between the Wi-Fi and 4G LTE networks, and more than that it can allow you to take your phone number from one device to another. Think about calling someone on your laptop and then jumping to your phone as you walk out the door, and you have an idea. Now imagine taking your phone around the world and not needing a new SIM card in each new country, because it isn’t necessarily using a cell tower.
There are still plenty of rounds of testing to go, but the possibilities are already threatening to disrupt the established phone industry – just like Google Fiber is threatening the broadband market and forcing competitors to change their models, even in cities Google hasn’t yet reached.
Google is currently working with Sprint and T-Mobile, and it is accepting a very small number of testers. You can sign up now, but the catch is that you have to be on a Google Nexus 6. If you are chosen, expect a notable drop in your bill.
A new way to bill
The Project Fi plan begins with a basic fee, which includes unlimited domestic talk and text, unlimited international texts, low-cost international calls, Wi-Fi tethering, and coverage in 120+ countries.
You get all of that for just $20.
Data is additional, but the cost is less than you’ll find elsewhere. Each GB of data costs $10, with 1 GB running just $10, and 10 GBs costing $100. You don’t need to choose a plan either, since you are only charged what you use. If you only use 1.4 GB of data, for example, you’ll only pay $34 for both the data and the basic features.
This is still all just in the testing phase. Google may reach out to more partners, and it may include more phone manufacturers beyond Motorola, the makers of the Nexus 6.
So basically, the Project Fi will give you better reception, more coverage, and it does it for significantly less money than most other smart phone plans.
That Nexus 6 phone is looking more and more attractive, huh?