Today, Google announced that their phone service, previously called “Project Fi” is now out of project status and has been renamed to “Google Fi”. Even better, they now officially support many more phones than before, including modern iPhones and Samsung phones! This is particularly exciting to the travel community since Fi supports high speed data roaming around the world for no additional cost.
Background regarding Google Fi
In the US, Fi primarily uses the T-Mobile network, but with a Google Fi phone it is capable of actively switching among 3 networks to the one with the best service and speed in your current location. With non-Fi phones (such as iPhones), you’re stuck with T-Mobile only.
With Fi, there is no additional charge for high speed international roaming. You pay the same price regardless of whether you use the service within the US or abroad.
With Fi, there is no additional charge for additional data-only sims. This is an awesome feature! These can be placed into any unlocked phone or device that accepts sim cards and it enables high speed international roaming at no additional cost. Data used with data-only sims adds to your monthly data usage (and so can indirectly add cost if you wouldn’t reach your maximum otherwise).
Single person Fi pricing is as follows:
- Calls & Texts: $20 (there is an extra fee to make calls internationally – 20 cents per minute – but this is easily circumvented by placing calls through Google Hangouts)
- Data: $10 per GB (max $60 per billing cycle)
- Per month total: $20 to $80 (Depending upon how much data is used)
Google Fi now supports many different phones! You can check if your phone is compatible here: fi.google.com/compatibility
iPhone support is in beta
When checking the compatibility of a new-ish iPhone (5S or newer), Fi displays this:
I’ve been using Fi on my iPhone for the past month and initially had trouble with texts and voicemail as indicated above, but I installed the Hangouts app and set it to handle texts and voicemail. With those settings in place, I haven’t had any issues with those features.
Most Android phones, other than “Fi phones” (Pixel, Moto, LG), will work fine too, but also won’t be able to switch networks or get automatic Fi VPN.
My Experience with Fi so Far
I’ve written a few posts about my recent experience with Fi. For my most recent report, please see: Google’s Project Fi abroad. 6 surprises: 3 good and 3 bad.
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