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In April, Google unveiled Project Fi — a new wireless service the company claims will deliver faster speeds 4 Tips To Increase Smartphone Charging Speeds 4 Tips To Increase Smartphone Charging Speeds Faced with a low battery warning right before you need to leave? These neat tricks can help you charge your smartphone faster than usual so you aren't left with a brick in your hand. Read More and better coverage with a unique, economical approach to pricing. Today, we’re going to take a look at what Google wants to do, and how they plan to pull it off.

What Is Project Fi?

Project Fi is Google’s effort to ensure that everyone has access to a high speed wireless network Wireless Networking Simplified: The Terms You Should Know Wireless Networking Simplified: The Terms You Should Know Read More  all the time. Because, even in today’s connected world, there are still times when we need information quickly but don’t have a fast enough connection to get it. Project Fi aims to make sure that never happens.

In addition to offering high-speed data service Gs & LTEs: Understanding Mobile Broadband [Technology Explained] Gs & LTEs: Understanding Mobile Broadband [Technology Explained] Connecting to the Internet was once all about big honking cords. The cords might be telephone lines, or cable lines, or FiOS lines specifically installed for Internet service, but the running theme is a line... Read More , Google also wants to make Fi more affordable, by billing differently than most mobile plans. Instead of paying for a monthly data plan, with outrageous fees if you exceed it, Google will charge you only for the data you actually use, at a predictable flat rate.

Don’t be mistaken, though: Project Fi is not a wireless carrier GSM Vs. CDMA: What Is the Difference and Which Is Better? GSM Vs. CDMA: What Is the Difference and Which Is Better? You may have heard the terms GSM and CDMA thrown around before in a conversation about cell phones, but what do they really mean? Read More in the traditional sense. Google has made it very clear that it’s not interested in competing with established carriers. In fact, it has partnered with two of the top U.S. mobile carriers — Sprint and T-Mobile — to make Project Fi possible, and it relies on their towers for cellular connectivity.

How It Works

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Project Fi is a network of networks. It makes sure you’re connected to the best possible network wherever you are. If you’re on Verizon’s network and Fi detects that Sprint has a stronger signal, you’ll be moved over to Sprint to give you the fastest available speed. Throughout a given day, you may be passed between two 4G LTE networks and various public WiFi hotspots 5 Wi-Fi Hotspot Finders to Find Free Wi-Fi Spots Near You 5 Wi-Fi Hotspot Finders to Find Free Wi-Fi Spots Near You Read More — and, in theory, it will be totally seamless.

Project Fi makes heavy use of WiFi, connecting your device to “free, open networks that do not require any action to get connected.” So, as you step into the range of a public WiFi network, you’ll be automatically connected — and when the signal begins to weaken, you’ll be passed back over to the fastest available cellular network. And don’t worry: all data sent through open WiFi hotspots is secured through encryption How Does Encryption Work, and Is It Really Safe? How Does Encryption Work, and Is It Really Safe? Read More .

Google also wants to make you device-independent. With Project Fi, your phone number “lives in the cloud.” You can call and text over WiFi, and you can talk, text, and check voicemail using your phone number on just about any device — Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, or Chromebook. In a sense, Project Fi is Google Voice’s big brother. In face, you’ll be asked to either use or throw out your Google Voice number when you sign up.

Pricing

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Project Fi takes a “fresh approach” to plans and pricing. There’s only one available plan, and it really couldn’t be much simpler. There’s no annual contract, and the charges are based on usage.

The first part of the plan, “Fi Basics,” costs $20 per month. This includes unlimited domestic talk and text, unlimited international text, “low-cost” international calls, Wi-Fi tethering 3 Foolproof Ways to Create Your Own Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot for Tethering in North America 3 Foolproof Ways to Create Your Own Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot for Tethering in North America Do you want to give multiple wireless gadgets on-the-go internet access? Are you sick of getting ripped off by wireless hotspot tethering? There’s a variety of technologies that can help you – the two most... Read More , and coverage in more than 120 countries.

Beyond that, it’s $10 per gigabyte of data. That is, $10 for 1GB, $20 for 2GB, etc.

But wait — it gets more interesting. You only pay for the data you actually consume, and you’ll be credited for any rollover data in the next payment period. For example, if you’re on a 2GB data plan ($20/month) and only use 1GB in a particular month, you’ll get $10 back the following month.

What’s The Catch?

There’s no catch per se — but there are a couple of drawbacks for early adopters.

First and foremost, you have to have a Nexus 6. Google says it’s keeping Project Fi exclusive to Nexus 6 owners because the device supports a wide array of LTE networks. Users of other devices will have to wait, sadly.

Project Fi also only supports individual accounts at first, and there’s no support for family plans – for now, at least.

How To Sign Up

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For the time being, Project Fi is an invite-only program — but you can get on the waiting list today! If you have a Nexus 6 and want to give Google’s network of networks a try, you can request an invite here.

What do you think about Project Fi? Do you want Google to become your wireless carrier? Would you consider switching when it’s publicly available? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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