Google officially unveils Project Fi, a refreshing new wireless service [VIDEO]



Looks like the rumors were true, folks — this is Project Fi, Google’s wireless carrier. The Mountain View company laid all the details out on a brand new landing page today.

A lot of the details brought to surface by recent leaks seem to have been spot on. Here’s what to expect from each facet of Google’s new wireless service:

The Network

  • Automatically identify and connect to the fastest and most reliable network, whether that’s a public or private WiFi hotspot, or a network of a carrier partner (Sprint or T-Mobile)
  • All transmissions over WiFi networks are automatically and fully encrypted

The Plan

  • Start with a basic plan of $20 per month that includes unlimited domestic talk and text, unlimited international texts, low-cost international calls and WiFi tethering.
  • Add data by the gigabyte at a rate of $10 per 1GB.
  • Don’t use all the data you added in a billing period? $1 per 100 unused megabytes is refunded to you.
  • International data costs the same at home as it does in 120 other international destinations (though you may be limited to 2G and 3G when abroad).

The Experience

  • Calls and texts can be made over WiFi in case you don’t have cellular coverage.
  • Calls can be routed from WiFi to cellular networks and vice versa without interruption if you happen to drift away from a signal
  • You can also make calls and send texts using your phone number with any device that has Hangouts, including your tablet, a different phone or your computer.

Sound like something you want to be part of? You can head right here to request an invite to check it out ahead of its full launch.

There are a couple of caveats to note before you jump in head first. The first is that you’ll need to buy a Nexus 6 as it’s the only smartphone that supports the new technology Google is using to make this possible. The Nexus 6 you may already own from Motorola, Google Play or your carrier counts, or you can buy one when signing up for Fi service (Google will have an installment plan available if you can’t chalk up the full retail price at once).

You’ll also need to make sure Google’s carriers partners have sufficient service in your area, though this is no tall order as they’ll ask for your zip code before whisking you through the setup process. Google says you’ll hear from them within 30 days and that invites will be sent out in waves every week, so if you want in on Project Fi then that shouldn’t be an issue.

Those who ultimately decide to take the plunge will be able to port their existing phone number over if they so choose, though do note that this may come with a hefty early termination fee that Google is unsurprisingly unwilling to help you pay for.

So there’s only one question remaining — are you in? It all sounds very interesting, and if done right this move by Google could do a while lot to change the wireless industry as we know it. Let us know how you feel about Project Fi and whether you plan to give it a go by dropping a comment below!

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. I was right after all 9.99 for 1GB which is somewhat disappointing. So we don’t need a Nexus 6?

    1. Nexus 6 is in fact needed

    2. $10 per GB is not THAT bad. Besides..what you don’t use, you get credited back in cash….so that is pretty convenient. So I typically use 4-5 GB per month that just $60-$70 dollars…not bad for an MVNO..

      1. As great as this is it will not work for someone like me. I have a long commute to work and watch Netflix. I used over 20GB last month alone.

        1. If I was your carrier….I would disown you as a customer.

          JkJkJK :)

          1. Man you sound like Verizon now. LOL

          2. I AM Verizon!!! Buahahaa

          3. You think that’s bad? Lol j/k, and this screencap was taken before another 47GB was used by end of that cycle. 247GB in one month for $70-$80 is not bad. $10/gb is crazy at that point.

          4. O.o You people need to stop using data, like right now.

        2. I agree and I’m not kidding. Do you work in Mexico and drive there every day or what?

      2. I get what you’re saying but for me its pretty bad. I have cricket which gives me 20 GB for 60 bucks. I’d love to try this but I can’t give up 20 GB for 10 bucks per GB

    3. Agreed. We get 40gb to split for around $130 on AT&T, took advantage of their double data promotion. This is something we can’t let go of right now with 3 data munchers on the same plan.

  2. Could be a game changer if it gains momentum. And if Google can get more devices supported

    1. Data is pretty pricey for heavy users. Nexus 6 limit is during the invitation only pilot. They’ll likely have more phone options by the time they open up the service.

      Am on Sprint so wouldn’t mind Tmobile addition but am a heavy user (10GB+/month) so Sprint unlimited is a much better deal.

  3. I can’t see why Nexus 5 wouldn’t work beside Google not letting it.

  4. So I’m better off with Straight Talk since I don’t travel international? I get better coverage in the states. But doing stuff on wifi would definitely help. Not sure I want to pay the price for a Nexus 6 & hoping the 2nd gen Moto X will work

    1. I am also on StraightTalk with a Nexus 5 and will probably stay there, not interested in a Nexus 6 right now and the price & services are nearly identical except the refund for unused data & free international texting. Unless you’re seriously planning on getting a Nexus 6 it’s probably not worth switching for…

  5. No Google Apps support … F**k paying customers! :)

    1. Always seems to be the case. Sucks because it never seems like it should be that complicated to just add a switch, like they always do, to allow the admin to enable it.

  6. Just read just about the entire information website.. I am excited!!!! The pricing is on Par with tmobile’s offering…except for unlimited data… But the fact that you have a CDMA+GSM+WiFi network..the trifecta of networks…all at a reasonable price. Also includes roaming internationally… Now wishing I had bought a Nexus 6..

  7. The pricing is nothing special.

  8. I pay $50 a month for unlimited everything with Tmobile.

    I’d be interested in this if they could even begin to touch that value. This isn’t even close, though.

    1. Where is that at???

    2. But the value isn’t apples to apples. This is 3 networks with seamless switch over between them. That is something that is just amazing!

  9. I’m personally excited about this and wish I owned a Nexus 6. I use very little cellular data every month — I’m talking in the area of less than 200 megabytes — and spend a vast majority of my time on WiFi. (The perks of working from home!) This service would essentially allow me to pay just over $22 per month for unlimited talk and text and the bit of data I do use, compared to overpaying AT&T (Verizon in previous years) for a bunch of data that I no longer need. And if my travel ever does kick back up it’s easy to just add whatever I need. Sign me up!

    1. I just bought a Nexus 6 not only because its an awesome device, but because its already unlocked and I can jump ship from AT&T if need be especially since my contract is almost up. Project Fi came at the absolute right time

    2. I signed-up for the very reason you’re interested:not using a lot of data,only 2-3GB/mo.,WI-FI @ work & home has me covered most of the time.
      I hope by the time invites roll out,more devices are supported,diggin’ my Nexus6,but,not nearly enough to make it my one & only phone.

    3. Do you use a lot of voice minutes and texts? If you switch to using Hangouts for all your calls and texts, you could get Red Pocket GSMT sim from goredpocket.com and pay $10/month for 1GB. Or if you don’t use much in the way of voice you could save a bit more with gousmobile.com with 250MB data for about $8 including taxes.

  10. The pricing is not that enticing if you are on a SINGLE network with limited connection options. The fact that you are getting Optimization for Speeds, wider coverage, seamless pickup/dropoff from networks, and encrypted WI-FI …it that alone makes it somewhat of a bargain…

  11. I am pretty happy with T-Mobile, I get pretty good coverage at about the same price. I’ll wait and see what the next Nexus is and how people like this before I’d consider switching but I like the idea of it.

  12. Sounds great and all, even the Nexus 6 caveat is reasonable, but I don’t want to pay $150 bucks for data. My unlimited data plan on T-Mobile is more convenient for me for now.

  13. well glad I bought the Nexus 6….but on the next program….guess I got to wait until August to switch? now if i could get my wife to switch from her iphone, that might take a lot of work to make happen. Might be stuck with AT&T for like 20 years.

  14. Not that I have a Nexus 6 anyway, but they lost me when they said it starts with $20/month for voice and text. Currently I pay 0 for voice and text, because I use Hangouts instead. I pay $4.70/month for 100MB of data, because most of my traffic goes via wifi.

    1. ..well you my friend are part of that 1% who does all that. Lol

      1. More like 0.001% ;)

    2. I also use Hangouts/Google Voice for voice and text. Nearly all of my calls I make from a computer. I hardly use my “phone” as an actual phone.

      The $10 per 1GB seems unreasonably high to me. I understand the unused refund aspect, but the base amount seems way too pricey.

      But alas… the coverage and the Nexus 6 is a deal breaker for me as neither Sprint or Tmobile have good coverage in my area and I’ll pass on the N6.

      I love the idea nevertheless and will be watching as it unfolds.

      1. In the prepaid world, $10/GB seems to be close to the low end of what you can find, at least below 3GB… and that’s without refund.

        1. No kidding. A basic voice+text+2 GB plan would be $40/month on this. Can you find that price anywhere else?

          1. Um, yes. ptel has a plan exactly like that. Also Ultra Mobile has new plans: unlimited voice + 2.5GB for $44, or 1000 minutes and 2GB for $34. Both are T-Mobile-based MVNOs.

  15. Wow, as an existing Ting customer, this looks even better for my uses.

  16. using the two best networks (in my opinion), hope they expand it to the nexus 5 at some point since that is also capable of both sprint and t-mobile

  17. So does this mean, they are charging you to take advantage of free WiFi hotspots? Does it differentiate when you’re connected to a private WiFi network or does it treat all data the same?

    Note that it says you’re paying for data, mobile data or just LTE/GPRS/etc.

    1. Yes, it takes advantage of free WiFi spots and uses VPN. But there is no charge for data on WiFi.

    2. Keep in mind you’re still using a phone, and they’re giving you access to 3 types of networks to route your phone calls and texts worldwide.

  18. I’ve got a Nexus 6, I’m in the coverage area, and I signed up for an invite. One thing I’m still a bit unclear on after reading the FAQ: what level of integration — or not — will there be with Google Voice? I ported my number to GV a couple years ago when I dumped Verizon (good riddance!). I’ve been able to forward to my native cell number (which I can never remember), and even place and receive calls through Hangouts. This has worked ok, but I like the integration offered through Fi. Am I going to have to port my number from GV to Fi? Is Google going to use GV for Fi? I’ve seen rumors that go both ways, but the FAQ doesn’t help to confirm or deny.

    1. Which devices can I use to talk and text using my number?

      If you opt-in to this feature, You can use any device that supports Google Hangouts to send and receive calls and texts. This includes: Android smartphones and tablets, iOS devices such as iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, Chromebooks, Windows computers and Mac computers

      I presume this means that it will use your GV number as is.

      1. There’s a line that can be drawn between using Hangouts and using Hangouts with your Google Voice number. It’s very possible that the Fi project is using another internal service that can take advantage of Hangouts, but is not compatible with Google Voice.

  19. So I can either have T-Mobile’s unlimited plan for $80 per month that’s guaranteed not to increase or 6 gigs of data under Google’s wireless plan. Look’s like T-mobile it is.

    1. Totally agree. T Mobile is the best option for now. Unlimited for $70-80

      1. Yeah I’m sticking with Sprint for the unlimited as I use over 10GB/month. Google Fi might be OK if you consistently use under 5GB/month or sometimes less.

    2. If you’re usually using more than 6GB per month, obviously stick with T-Mo. If you’re often below 6GB, Google refunds your unused data so you’d be better off with them.

  20. “What types of Wi-Fi hotspots will Project Fi automatically connect me to?Project Fi connects you to free, open Wi-Fi networks that do not require any action to get connected (such as, enter a password, watch an ad, or check-in). We use a network quality database to help determine which networks are high quality and reliable.”

    How many Public Hotspots does this really include? Most that I’ve used at least filter you to their home page and make you agree to Terms and Conditions.

  21. The pricing is not very surprising. Sprint and Tmobile aren’t going to allow access if Google were going to undercut them. Typical MVNO’s usually leave something out when they charge less (e.g. no LTE data roaming).

  22. I’m not understanding those who are pessimistic below me…the pricing is nothing new. I get it. There are plans that are similar. But think about this: your getting TWO networks!!! No they are not the best INDIVIDUALLy, but when put together, they ARE stronger!! Almost like a Megazord!!( oh yes, I went there) so for those areas that T-Mobile does not cover…maybe…just maybe sprint does.and that ability.. Is a cool feature..and Add Automatic Encryption?!?!? That means I don’t have to enable it?!?!? Awesome!!!!

    1. Actually, 3 networks, you have the Wifi also.

      1. There you go..the more the better.

  23. Count me in! Even though I have Sprint Spark here in Las Vegas this will help out other users suffering from slow speeds. Only if Sprint would allow me to switch back to a tablet plan instead of this solo thing…

  24. Being that im on sprint and pay $60 for unlimited talk/text/data I will give this a try being that I can always go back because its a bring your own device plan and they services sucks

  25. I guess I still don’t understand why I’d have to pre-buy data. I don’t have to pre-purchase electricity, or water.

    1. You’re “pre-buying” data with your current carrier/plan, and you’re not getting a refund for your unused bytes.

    2. You don’t really, they state in the FAQ that if you go over they will bill you the same price for the overage on the next bill.

      Q: What happens if I go over my data budget?
      A: Project Fi will first alert you if you’re getting close to your data budget. If you go over, you’ll still get full-speed data and data is charged at the same $10 per GB rate. For example, if you go over your data budget by 350MB, $3.50 will be added to your next bill.


    3. I think you can go data less, but you don’t have access to anything outside of WiFi. Better to pay and get credited.

  26. It’s quite an awkward offer…having to buy, own a very expensive phone to get a very cheap plan . I cannot figure out who is their intended target/customers..I’m a T-Mobile $30 low minutes/high 4G plan user and Google’s offer doesn’t doanything for me…If you’re a heavy data user , again it doesn’t sound enticing…If you’re a low data user , and lots of minutes..then a large and expensive nexus 6 doesn’t quite fit the profile.

  27. Please come to Canada google fi

  28. Laughing at the US comments.. You guys have it good. In Canada the costs are much higher for less

  29. You know what? If they do a promotion for this around the next Nexus phone this fall, I’ll strongly consider it. (That also goes to the rumor of LG getting another go at the next Nexus phone too.) Think about it, Google again subsidizing their own phone for their *own* network(s). The ONLY problem I have with this is the $10/gb data. I would however be willing alter my data usage to save at least $50/mo compared to what I’m paying now. I can’t wait to see how this goes.

    1. Same here, the Nexus 6 is just too big, but if the next Nexus is 5-5.5″ inches and has a good battery life (my biggest issue with my N5), I might just take them up on this. The $10/gb seems a little steep, but the fact that they refund you for unused data mitigates that to an extent (nobody else does that).

  30. I would highly consider this, if they were to open it up beyond the Nexus 6.

  31. Unlimited and I am in. I used nearly 70 gigs last month watching movies and tv (grant it, Daredevil came out), I am a pretty heaving data user so not for a bit.

  32. Pricing not that good

  33. In a way, this is kind of like a T-Mobile/Sprint merger without having an actual merger. It’s a shame they couldn’t get Verizon and AT&T on board but I’m not surprised. If the next Nexus is one I want to buy, then I will probably get Fi as well. I really hope the next Nexus is an updated version of the Nexus 5. The N6 is just way too large.

  34. I’m not seeing anything game changing here… And will be sticking with republic wireless $10 plan.

    How about not counting data for Google provided services (maps, gmail, play music, play movies, photos, youtube, etc)? That would account for nearly all of my monthly usage… And would be a game changer. No idea how sprint and t-mobile benefit from that though.

    A bit disappointed Google didn’t bring more in the initial release.

    1. Most people would then scream net neutrality violation chants without fully understanding what net neutrality is.

    2. Yeah I’m not immediately convinced this is much better than my StraightTalk plan at $45 a month with Fi the same data would cost $50. My curiousity is piqued by the data flexibility and refund, with ST if I go over my limit (throttled data is near un-usable) I have to buy another ‘month’ of service early @ $45. Fi seems easier to get more data when needed and cheaper when it’s not.

  35. There’s an advantage if you don’t use that much data or don’t use data consistently but many of us are at a point where tmobiles unlimited without throttle is a better deal.

    1. Absolutely better…especially for the power-using-data-eating likes…like myself, who really likes Tmo’s Truly Unlimited without no throttling no matter how many GB’s you eat up a month! Best $80 I ever spent on my Nexus 5!!

      1. If you don’t mind me asking, how’s the battery life on your Nexus 5? (I’m assuming you’ve had it for a 1+ years or so.) I ask because I currently have a Moto X (1st Gen) and while I adore it, I’ve also been interested in possibly getting an N5 as a secondary device (esp. since they’re pretty cheap these days). Everywhere I read online, users say the N5’s battery isn’t that good. I’d rather hear some impressions from a REAL user, not a nitpicky tech writer (no offense, lol).

  36. This is a cool idea and I’ll keep my eye on how it develops, but the pricing is too high for the amount of data I use. It’s hard to beat the T-Mobile unlimited family plan I have when I use 10GB or more most months. I love the seamless handoff and automatically picking the best network to use though.

  37. There’s a very good reason why the Nexus 6 is required… the radio bands. The Nexus 6 has the widest available radio bands out of any phone other than the iPhone 6/6 plus. If it advertises full support for both T-Mobile and Sprint, you need all the band support for LTE. A Nexus 5 would not allow that as it doesn’t have enough of the WiFi bands required to fully take advantage of this. Plus the 802.11 b, g, n, ac capable chip in the Nexus 6 lets it fully take advantage of almost every WiFi standard as well. If you recall, the Nexus 6 is also fully VOIP capable as well. I couldn’t get full use out of my 6 out here with the military in Korea, so I sold it to a co-worker and the rest of my family is on Apple. Google Now support is terrible out here, and navigation is useless as well. As soon as I get back though… back to Google. There was nothing bad about the Nexus 6… I loved it! I only wish it was more like the Moto X I also had. Hopefully when the next one comes out it will finally have good battery life along with a good screen. Having an iPhone 6 plus, I don’t even play games, but I enjoy the good battery life. My Nexus 6 was on par except for the standby time, but I really want a smaller phone. I don’t know why you can’t get decent battery life, and reasonable size. 2K and 4K are not essential on a phone.

  38. I’m far more interested in the technology than the plan or having Google as a provider. Assuming Google can get OEMs on board and the Big Four don’t all insist on models with their own bands, this could be a boon to small, local carriers. It theoretically could double their potential roaming partners and give them leverage in negotiating rates.

    Right now a local CDMA provider can only deal with Verizon and/or Sprint in order to provide national coverage. A GSM provider can only deal with AT&T and/or T-Mobile. WIth this technology (assuming it’s as seemless as Google promises), they could use AT&T as leverage in negotiations with Verizon. Right now, they really can’t.

    I do see this taking a bit of time, however. Verizon and AT&T have fewer coverage gaps than Sprint and T-Mobile and are less likely to play ball.

    1. I don’t see how that’d be the case. From what I’ve read Sprint is offering up GSM airspace so the ‘tech’ is a seamless GSM WiFi bridge and not GSM CDMA as I’m thinking you understand it to be.

  39. I still want to know if they are including WiFi usage in your data allotment. They don’t specify that you are paying for mobile/cellular data.

    1. They do in the Project Fi FAQ. You are only charged for cellular data, all you can eat on your own WiFi. https://fi.google.com/about/faq/#plan-and-pricing-6

  40. I’ve been using Whitepages Caller ID & Block (previously named Whitepages Current Caller ID) for a while now. It works great. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.webascender.callerid

  41. Sounds awesome. Ting is about the closest thing to Google Project Fi at the moment. It’s is a T-Mobile/Sprint MVNO and includes Verizon voice/text roaming at no additional charge.

    At the end of each month, the usage from all devices on the account is totaled and placed in segments based on usage of talk, text, and data (independently). I use a Google voice number and the Hangouts app to text for free, as well as make/receive free calls when on WiFi.

    My bill with Ting is in the $20-25 per month range. Ting also offers phenomenal customer service, which is largely unheard of in the wireless industry.

    I love Ting, been a loyal customer for 3 years now. I’m excited to upgrade my phone to a T-Mobile GSM Galaxy s5. I’ve used a Sprint s3 and it’s been great.

    This referral link will earn you a $25 Ting credit: https://znenk91cm53.ting.com

    1. I just checked out Ting for my Nexus 4. It’s much more expensive than my current $30 T-Mobile Pre-Paid plan, which includes 5 GB of 4G data, unlimited texts and 100 minutes of voice (10 cents a minute afterwards). I use Google Hangouts with a Google Voice number for unlimited free calls over wi-fi and mobile data.

      Ting’s charge would be $6 for 1 device, $3 for just 1-100 texts, $3 for just 100 minutes of voice, and $29 for the XL level (2001+ mb) plus 1.5¢ for each additional megabyte. 500 megabytes extra = $7.50. So 5 GB of data on Ting would cost $74 a month. My total Ting price would be $86 a month. And Ting only offers 3G data for my Nexus 4.

  42. I’m a little sad they didn’t brand it GooFi.

  43. People who can afford, they are don’t care much about Project Fi or similar. but, there are plenty wireless users who can benefits from Google Fi service if it can bring good value(subsidized device or bring your own device + lower monthly cost + flexibility )

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