Google’s wireless service could charge you for only the exact amount of data you use



While it’s been confirmed that Google is looking into offering wireless service through some new network aggregation technologies in conjunction with Sprint and T-Mobile, we haven’t gotten many details on what, exactly, they were looking to do differently. A new leak may have shone a whole beacon of light on some of the details, though.

According to details uncovered by Android Police thanks to a leaked app that will be used to support the service, Google’s wireless network — referred to as Nova in many previous rumors, but also now known as Project Fi — could charge you only for the exact amount of data you use. That is to say, there won’t be any unlimited data (as much as we would all hope from an internet-strong company like Google), but instead a “pay-as-you-go” approach.

The thinking is that there will be a set per-gigabyte price and you buy however much you need by the gigabyte, but if you don’t use up your full gigabyte Google will credit you for the remainder. We’d hope such a plan would come with some very low rates instead of the outrageous per-gigabyte prices set forth by the country’s four major carriers. As for talk and text, you’ll have a flat rate and allowance for those much like any carrier offers these days.

Other interesting aspects of the service include a way to seamlessly switch your service to a different phone using an app, the ability to share buckets of data across however many lines you want, data-only plans for tablets, and even a way to opt out of sharing your cellular usage data with Google (yes, folks, your current carrier keeps an alarming amount of information about the calls you make).

Google would be a very new player in this arena, though if their approach to entering the broadband internet game is anything to judge by they could help shake up the wireless industry in a big way.

Take Google Fiber, for instance — it might not be as widespread as we would like just yet, but Google’s ability to offer gigabit speeds for the cost of typical internet service in the United States has already sparked major competition. Cable companies left and right rush to upgrade speeds and lower prices whenever Google’s pipes roll into town, and it helps bring a breath of fresh air into the industry that only genuine competition is able to provide.

We all know the wireless industry desperately needs much of the same (kudos to T-Mobile for getting the ball rolling) and Google’s arrival could be the turning point we’ve all been waiting for.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Why do I have a feeling that this will be a start to something really really really bad for the consumer?

    1. More speed. Less price. Better a la carte options. No contracts. Only pay for what you use. Where is the downside in what we know so far?

      1. Google has *even MORE* information on us… ._.

        They already know what color my soul aura is from everything they have on me. What more do they want? =.P

        1. The 2024 Great Google Leak is upon us. The history books will write that this wireless service was one of the turning points.

  2. Is there an estimation yet guys? If it’s anywhere from 9.99 for 1GB I’m in. Home I use WiFi and school and I barely go anywhere else.

    1. did you lose your mind? $9.99 for 1GB that’s F***g insane

      1. Is that too much or … , I have limited knowledge sorry

        1. Haha it’s way to much :) I am not happy with the current plans anyways. All phone companies just like to F*** us every chance they get. What worries me is that they will charge per mb and that can get expensive very quickly. They said “could charge you only for the exact amount of data you use” the question not is how much per mb. See what I mean. They win we lose in the long run.

          1. Either way I’m in. I was thinking way over which is good. I have a 25$ plan with metro and I feel like I can get the best buck for my money with Google and It’s Google man.

          2. I really hope they have good coverage. Haha

      2. It isn’t. I average maybe 300 MB/month. I would gladly switch to a carrier providing me service for only $3/month. And even if one month I use 5GB it’s still only $50.

        1. As someone who averages 35GB a month I wholeheartedly disagree.

    2. For $20 you can get unlimited data on Tmo. $10 a GB is nonsense my friend. I’m seeing me spend $30-$50 on data online. LoL!!

      Let’s try a lower amount, shall we? =.P

  3. How about $1 for 1 GB.

    1. I was thinking the same thing. If you only use 3 GB per month… $3 would be a steal. The people who use more… Like those on grandfathered unlimited plans that use crazy amounts like 100 GB per month would pay $100. Sounds fair.

      1. Don’t get me wrong I would pay little more as long as the carriers get the point that people are using more and more data. No one really cares about texting and minutes any more. I know some people text and talk a lot but there are many options for VOIP for texting and talking. personally I use about 20 to 40 GB but I am usually watching ESPN live anywhere I choose to watch it. Even at home I don’t usually switch to WiFi because t mobile is faster at home.

  4. Sounds kind of like Ting

  5. I think $5 per GB is reasonable for consumer and provider. I don’t think the carriers would agree to $1/GB for Google as an MVNO.

    1. I don’t think the carriers should have a say on what Google charges. It may be worthwhile for Google to subsidize it (operate it on breaking even or at a loss) just to increase ad revenue.

      1. Correct. As long as Google is able to pay their fees to the carrier, that should be it.

        1. Of course the carriers should have a say… I mean I wish it weren’t so but from their perspective, if you agree to allow another company to piggyback on your network, you should have the right to dictate some terms in a contract.

          1. I would assume they would dictate how much data they can use at once or something, but as far as how much they are to charge for their service? No. I can’t see that. It falls back to what I stated earlier, as long as the carriers get their money, they can care less on how much they charge for their service.

            They can charge $1 a GB, and Google would use their other revenue to pay for what that $1GB isn’t paying for. This is what I’m assuming will happen. The service will be cheap because Google has more revenue from other places that can cover the cost that they may(or will) have to pay to the carriers.

          2. They can dictate what Google is allowed to charge end-users as well. That can be a term in the contract just as easily, there’s nothing illegal about it. They probably wouldn’t want Google to undercut their own non-virtual network by too much.

  6. Where do I sign up?

  7. Have people been seeing online that this Google push – like with the Google Fiber – is causing crappy cable providers to up their speed, cut their prices, offer better internet service wherever Google Fiber goes. Suddenly, they found the incentive & technology to do so. Well, this will have the same chilling effect on cell providers and I love it. Shake up the status quo and show the big guys how it “can” and “should” be done. I love it.

    1. Exactly. ATT and TWC or Comcast didn’t really want to give people the faster speeds until; they were forced in a competitive environment.

      1. They be BS’ing. My friend was in Nebraska and they told him that he couldn’t get fast speeds because of his location. He uses a VPN and places his “location” in Texas and suddenly he’s getting over 3x speeds.

        In a perfect world, using a VPN should slow your internet speeds. Smh… I’m glad Google is doing this.

    2. Of course I’ve seen this. We *suddenly* have our 15Mbps speed after having about 5Mbps at our house. I know my mom didn’t change the plan. So where did those speeds come from?

      And *suddenly* our bandwidth has increased. So now when my brother is online, my League doesn’t lag anymore. Odd that after Google Fiber came out and moved closer to Houston, AT&T seemed to give us more quality in our internet.

      It’s too bad, though. The moment Google Fiber comes to Houston, I’m going to inform my parents to migrate… instantly. I will even help pay termination fees and startup fees.

  8. Depending on how they price it I suppose. I’d hate to pay $5 per GB if I used over 30 in a month. Which frequently happens.

    1. That seems to be the rate for data. Would be nice if it was a sliding scale. $5 per GB for first 2 and then $2 for each additional after that or some other threshold. Probably won’t be that cheap.

      1. What you suggest sounds better. I hope they’d price better than that considering how cheap Fiber is. Once they announce it I’ll give it a look-see and see if it would be beneficial to leave TMo for them or not. A couple of months ago we went without WiFi for over a month because of issues with moving and getting the cable company out, and I clocked in nearly 220 GB during that time, it’s nice to have a flat rate for unlimited in cases like those.

  9. I’ll put my tablet on this and see if it’s worth the switch.

    EDIT: Oh wait, wasn’t it just Nexus 6 devices at first? *sadness*
    Hopefully they add support for the Nexus 7 (2013).

  10. I have unlimited data for a set price, how is Google’s pay for what you use better?

  11. 1.99 please

  12. … And just like that this project is dead before it starts. Good luck with that, Google.

  13. I will keep riding this Grandfathered Unlimited Data with Verizon till the cows come home. Everything else can’t compete.

    1. They’ve changed the terms so that you can’t do jack to that phone or line though, except for an insurance replacement. My understanding is that even a bring your own replacement of that phone will hose you.

      1. Not true bro, I have been buying my phones either outright or through Swappa.com. All I do is tell them I have a new phone and that’s it. If you upgrade through them then yes your hosed.

        1. How recent was your last swap?

          1. Just did this with a phone within the last 2 months.

      2. Do you have a link to some place that fully describes this? Not doubting, just haven’t checked in recently and might be interested in upgrading my phone, but no desire to lose unlimited.

    2. Averaging 42 + gigs a month Verizon unlimited user here

      1. That’s great! In Japan, where there’s even LESS competition, Docomo, the biggest provider, limits daily use to 1 gigabyte, and monthly use to 7 gigabytes. This is for their, ahem, “unlimited” service (with no other way or option given by them to upgrade). Going over any of their limits means Docomo throttles you so much, that not even emails work at times).

  14. December

  15. Or you just pay for what you actually use after the fact, just like on your power or water or gas bills. Really, it isn’t that hard of a concept to grasp, people. What the hell is the point of guessing how much data you might use when they can just keep track (like everyone already does) and bill you for it at the end of the month. It’s like you can’t see outside the confines of phone billing.

  16. i wonder how many of the people who made negative comments even own a NEXUS-6?

    if it has the same quality as google voice, BRING IT, i’ve been using google voice since early 2009.

    just tell me where to go to get my sim card.

  17. “a way to opt out of sharing your cellular usage data with Google” Bahaha, not like their other billion+ Android devices in the world that have Google Play Services tracking our every action. I hope Google does well, but as an MVNO I don’t see this as strong as their independent Fiber movement, hope I’m wrong.

    1. You know that you CAN disable Google Play Services on any android device running 4.0 or higher, right?

      1. Yes I CAN… but then I’ll lose functionality on my phone and Wear device. So I’d actually prefer controlling individual features.

        1. I haven’t lost any functionality on mine. What functions would you lose?

          1. From what I’ve been reading is that there are a few apps that tap into this app in order to function. Not starting from scratch may leave me with a few non functional apps in the process.

            And from everything I’ve read it’s pre Wear and Lollipop, so who knows how it’ll go down now.

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