Project Fi is the newest wireless network put together by Google and the latest of the increasingly popular MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) cell providers. Here’s why it rocks…
In the US, we have the big four providers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile). Each of those companies has some sort of “virtual” network available. For example, AT&T owns Cricket Wireless, Sprint owns Boost Mobile, and T-Mobile owns Metro PCS. These virtual networks use the same wireless spectrum as the big four, just at a lower priority when there’s network congestion. Additionally, most virtual networks are pre-paid at the beginning of the billing cycle versus the end so a credit check is never required.
Project Fi is different in the sense that it uses TWO of the big four networks: Sprint and T-Mobile. If you use a Project Fi sim card, your phone will switch between the two carriers to get the strongest connection and the fastest data speeds. This greatly increases the coverage of your phone, especially if you live in rural areas.
My Apple iPhone 6S Plus uses the Cricket Wireless network and turns in an average of 8 Mbps download speed while my Nexus 6P on the Project Fi network gets a healthy 14 Mbps. You won’t be able to tell which of the two networks you’re currently connected to by default, but apps do exist which will tell you what network type (CDMA is Sprint, GSM is T-Mobile) you’re currently using.
The second genius feature of Project Fi is how they handle billing and unused data. Remember, you pre-pay for everything upfront with Fi. It’s $20 for unlimited talk & text, plus $1 per 100 megabytes you use (which is pretty standard across the big four). The difference being, Verizon makes you pay $100 for 10 gigabytes of data even if you don’t use everything. There’s no data rollover; Fi only charges for exactly what you use.
Let’s say you pre-purchase 3 gigabytes of data for $30 and only use 2.8 GB. Google will give you a statement credit of $2 for your unused data. But suppose you used 3.2 GB, going over your pre-purchased limit? Again, you’ll only be charged $2 for that extra data used.
Customer service is available 24/7 and it’s FAST. I haven’t waited more than 30 seconds after clicking the “CHAT“ button on the Project Fi site. The Fi service is only available with the Google Nexus Phones currently (Nexus 6, 6P, and 5X) but should be expanded to other phones in the future. Additionally, the sim card itself can support up to 10 different carriers, so if AT&T and Verizon hop on board… well, the sky’s the limit.