After Using Project Fi for Three Weeks, This Is What I Found
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Project Fi, unveiled last year, is Google’s attempt to make mobile phone service better How Google is Trying to Free You From Your Cell Phone Plan How Google is Trying to Free You From Your Cell Phone Plan In April, Google unveiled Project Fi — a new wireless service the company claims will deliver faster speeds and better coverage with a unique, economical approach to pricing. Read More . Instead of trying to compete with traditional phone carriers 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 , Google has teamed up with giants Sprint and T-Mobile to provide cheap phone service that hopefully “just works.”

I’ve been using Project Fi for about three weeks, and I’m ready to tell you all about it. Read on see if Project Fi is right for your needs.

How do I Join?

First things first: you can’t just jump into Project Fi — you must have an invite. You can request an invite using your Google account, and they will contact you when a spot opens up. I can’t speak to how long this might take because I got one the day the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P launched — Google gave away instant invites all day to celebrate.

Once you have an invite, though, they do not expire (I held onto mine for about two months), and you can revisit the Project Fi page at any time to get started.

One thing to note: if you have a Google Voice number associated with your Google account, you will lose it when you join Fi. You’re also allowed to make that number your new Project Fi number if you like, but if you have a second number through Google Voice for your podcast 5 Awesome Things You Can Do With Google Voice 5 Awesome Things You Can Do With Google Voice Blog from your phone, call Canada for free or use your computer to make free phone calls. Google Voice isn't the easiest Google service to explain to non-techies, partially because it can be used for... Read More or something, you’ll need to use a different Google account for Fi to avoid losing it. Google has a full list of what Voice features are in Fi if you’re curious.

If you’re not using a Google Voice number, you can either get a brand-new phone number or port your current number over from your old carrier. You’ll have to go through a brief process to make the switch once you get your phone, then manually cancel your service with your old carrier. Google does not pay your switching fees like other carriers are doing nowadays, so make sure you’re ready to switch.

Your Fi Phone

Once you’ve secured an invite, you’ll need to get a compatible phone. Android purists will love the selection, but those looking for a cheap device 5 Ways Cheap Android Smartphones Beat the Flagships 5 Ways Cheap Android Smartphones Beat the Flagships Who says you need the latest and greatest (and most expensive) smartphone out there? The cheaper alternatives are actually really good. Let us show you. Read More or the latest Samsung flagship will be disappointed here: only the Nexus 6P (our review Nexus 6P Review Nexus 6P Review Google's newest high-end Nexus phone is here, but is the fingerprint sensor enough to make this pure Android device worth it? Read More ), Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6 are currently supported with Project Fi. The 5X starts at $350 for 16 GB (which really isn’t enough storage Live Photos & 4K: Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 16GB iPhone 6s Live Photos & 4K: Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 16GB iPhone 6s If you want to take advantage of the new iPhone 6s camera, you'll probably want to avoid picking the 16GB storage option. Read More ) or $400 for 32 GB. The 6P is $500 for a 32 GB, $550 for 64 GB, or $650 for a whopping 128 GB.

While this seems expensive, the good news is that you buy the phones unlocked, which saves a lot of money Never Buy a Phone From Your Carrier! Buy Unlocked Phones and Save Hundreds Never Buy a Phone From Your Carrier! Buy Unlocked Phones and Save Hundreds Unlocked phones can cost a fortune, but the savings more than make up for it. You can save thousands by not signing a contract. We've got six phones that come contract free! Read More in the process. If you don’t want to pay the full price outright, you can pay in an installment plan over 24 months. This isn’t a two-year contract, as you’re free to cancel at any time, but if you leave Fi before the 24 months is up, you’ll have to pay the phone off.

With guaranteed timely Android updates and good device specs on both of the new Nexus phones, you’re getting the best of Android and don’t have to deal with hardware manufacturer drama Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More . But if you don’t like stock Android, Fi probably isn’t for you. Also, it’s probably not worth buying the year-old Nexus 6, as it’s huge, costly, and there are much better phones for the price. Stick with the 5X if cost is an issue or you don’t want a phablet.

Project Fi also recently introduced support for data-only service (used for tablets). The same cost per GB as phones applies, and Fi members can order a SIM card for their tablets for free on their account page. If you need an occasional data connection on your secondary device for cheap, this is probably as good as you’ll find.


One of the core pillars of Project Fi is the cost, and Google makes it simple. You’ll pay $20/month for the “Fi Basics” — unlimited talk and text in your country, unlimited texts internationally, the ability to turn your phone into a WiFi hotspot Hotspot Control: Use Your Android as a Wireless Router Hotspot Control: Use Your Android as a Wireless Router Using your Android device as a hotspot is a great way to share your mobile data with your other devices like a laptop or tablet -- and it's super easy! Read More , and support for over 120 countries. I don’t use my phone outside of the US, so I can’t speak to Fi’s international performance, but check Google’s FAQ on using your phone outside the US for information.

Mobile data is $10/GB, no matter what. You pre-pay at the start of each month for your service, so Fi has you set an estimate of how much data you’ll use. The cool feature is that you’re refunded for unused data. If you think you’ll use 2GB of data in one month and end up only using 1.5GB, you get a $5 credit on your next bill. Conversely, if you need some extra data one month, you only pay for the data you use — not some outrageous overage fee. This cost is rounded to the megabyte and you can adjust your estimate if needed.

This all works out great if you only use a bit of data (since being on WiFi doesn’t consume data at all Save Money on Your Mobile Internet Data Bill with These Apps and Tricks Save Money on Your Mobile Internet Data Bill with These Apps and Tricks Want to get the most out of your data plan? These apps and tricks can help you squeeze out every last megabyte. Read More ), but heavy data users might want to look elsewhere, since other carriers offer rollover data and perks such as music streaming not counting towards your allotment T-Mobile Allows Unlimited Netflix, And That's Bad News For All of Us T-Mobile Allows Unlimited Netflix, And That's Bad News For All of Us Allowing Netflix to stream even when you're data is maxed sounds great, doesn't it? But this could spell doom for the future of the Internet as we know it. Read More . Project Fi also has no support for any kind of family plan Are Family Cell Phone Plans Cheaper Than MVNOs? [Cheat Sheet Included] Are Family Cell Phone Plans Cheaper Than MVNOs? [Cheat Sheet Included] Have you ever tried to figure out how to save money on your family’s cell phone bill? We're here to help. Read More , so if you have dependents, Fi isn’t a great choice.

Of course, taxes and fees are present on any phone plan. For my first month, with 1 GB of data estimated, I paid $30 for the basics/data, plus $5.42 in fees for a total of $35.42 — just to give you an idea of the real cost.

Managing Your Account

Google makes it easy to see what’s going on with your account using the Project Fi site or the Fi app on your phone. In the app, you can see how many days remain in the current cycle, how much data you’ve used (and what level you’ll be warned at), and choose what card you use to pay your bill. Fi also includes voicemail (plus transcripts) and call forwarding, which can be configured inside the app.

Finally, you can view past statements and contact support via phone, email, or chat. Google promises a quick response on calls, so you don’t have to worry about sitting on the phone for an hour to get a small issue fixed.

Really, everything is simple and out of the way. Outside of managing your data, you shouldn’t need to visit the Fi app much, and that’s a good thing. Project Fi definitely wins points for being so straightforward.

Real World Usage

I’ve covered pretty much everything about Project Fi except what it’s like actually using it. In short, I’m extremely pleased with it so far. Setting up the SIM card and getting my number transferred was a breeze, I love the Nexus 6P, and I’m paying less than I used to for my phone bill 10 Ways To Slash Your Cell Phone Bill 10 Ways To Slash Your Cell Phone Bill With the popularity of smartphones reaching an all-time high, the prices of plans are going up and up. Here are 10 top tips to slash your bill. Read More .

Coverage of cell service is always a concern, but I haven’t had any major issues at all in terms of being able to get connected. Project Fi is all about connecting you to the best possible network, so if you make a call when you’re on a WiFi connection, your phone places the call through WiFi if it thinks that’s faster than using the mobile network.

Because of this, Fi phones are also set up to connect to “approved” open WiFi networks across the country that Google determines to be of high quality. Because connecting to open WiFi hotspots is insecure 3 Dangers Of Logging On To Public Wi-Fi 3 Dangers Of Logging On To Public Wi-Fi You've heard that you shouldn't open PayPal, your bank account and possibly even your email while using public WiFi. But what are the actual risks? Read More , Google includes a special VPN that automatically turns on to secure you when this happens. However, I haven’t noticed my phone connecting to any WiFi without my prompting yet.

When you’re not on WiFi, your Project Fi SIM card connects you to T-Mobile or Sprint’s network, whichever is the better connection. The transition is generally pretty seamless; I had a slight delay making a call once in a downtown area where I should have had a strong signal, so I assume it was my phone trying to decide which network was better. I’ve never had a call dropped, and dialing takes a second but connects quickly and sounds great. You might be interested in installing the Fi Info app to see which network you’re on at any given time.


Being able to connect to two networks instead of one makes a noticeable improvement. I came from Sprint, and at a family member’s house I always had a horrendous signal. When visiting them for the first time with my Fi phone, I connected to data with no issues, meaning my phone found T-Mobile to be a better connection. It doesn’t feel at all like I’m using an unreliable or “second-rate” service.

If all this isn’t enough, when I got my phone and SIM card delivered, Google even included a Holiday Surprise — a buildable LEGO figure that held my charging cables in place! When has your phone provider ever done something this awesome that made you smile?

Is Fi Right for You?

After a few weeks, my verdict is in: Project Fi is a simple, cheap, reliable phone plan that I’m happy to be part of. I was already shopping for a new plan/carrier, and I knew I wanted a Nexus, which made the decision easier for me, but I’m so glad I did.

If you have any interest in a Nexus phone and think you’re paying too much for cell service, give Project Fi a look, especially if you’re on WiFi often and are shopping for a solo plan. It’s not for everyone, but if what I’ve had to say piques your interest, you’ll probably love it as much as I do.

Think Project Fi is a bit too much of Google? We’ve shown how to use Android with as little Google as possible Here's How You Can Use Android But Ditch Google Here's How You Can Use Android But Ditch Google Want to use your Android smartphone or tablet without Google? Want to use open source software? Here we take an in-depth look at exactly how to do that. Read More .

If you’re a fellow Project Fi user, what do you think so far? Do you have any further questions for me? I want to talk with you about this, so let’s take this discussion to the comments!

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  1. AJL318
    June 16, 2017 at 12:49 am

    Automatic network switching is a fantasy. By experimenting with my Nexus 5X I found that the automatic switching doesn't work in spite of Google’s claims. When one of the cellular networks cannot be reached the phone doesn’t look for a better one, it simply assumes that there is no connection. It doesn’t switch to WiFi either. There has been three month of continuous complains on my part to tech support and still no resolution.

  2. Pedro Bermudez
    April 24, 2017 at 4:17 am

    My wife and I have been Project Fi users for more than a year. Each of us own a Nexus 5X. We are very satisfied customers. We pay far less of what we used to pay to another big carrier and we used our phones more than we used to, and we get reimbursed for the data we do not use. . The kick was last month when we went to Europe and used the phones to call our family both within the US and in Europe seamlessly.

  3. Ian Ford
    March 31, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    I've had no trouble with Fi at all. The service works very well everywhere in the Northeast U.S. (I drive a good bit). I've had to contact customer service twice and was connected by chat within 10 seconds. I started on a Nexus 6 and moved to a Pixel XL. Call quality is great and it very rarely drops. It worked fine in Brazil - not only in Rio but in more rural areas.

    That having been said, I do live in New York City and wifi is ubiquitous. I use about 20 gigs per month on my phone but only 3 - 4 gigs is via cellular. This works out financially better overall for me than Sprint or T-Mobile.

    One issue is that when connected to Sprint's data, the internet crawls or fails completely. Sprint is notoriously slow for a modern carrier with no improvement in sight. Still, it's better than my previous experiences with T-Mobile and AT&T as both carriers consistently drop calls, and to me that's a deal-breaker. Fi's call reliability is the best I've experienced.

    Overall, Fi fits my life very well at this time.

  4. Lix
    February 20, 2017 at 3:32 am

    I have been a Project Fi user now for almost a year this May I think.... And I had such high hopes for it especially for coming from Verizon which cost at least double plus some other issues with them... And since I was due for a new phone anyway and had read about the Nexus 6 I thought I'd give it a try ... It seemed to work at first for a while but then that phone cracked and I got the Nexus 6P which is a nice phone yes, although it seems like ever since my Fi network has not worked as it should... (it didn't always work with the Nexus 6 either though - the problems existed with that phone as well).

    Several interactions with Google have not helped the situation.... and even though they are very polite and friendly as someone else had mentioned, they have not been able to help so far.... some have been more knowledgeable and tech savvy than others but still.... first they sent me a new SIM card and it *seemed* like maybe it worked better for a tiny bit, but then went right back to the same issue.... fast forward some time later, and they go through a few more steps with me.... one, making sure that data roaming was turned on, it seemed it wasn't... and it miraculously worked for like two seconds! *(Exaggerated but not by much...). So now I've basically been dealing with this for months on end.... thinking it might get better, hoping that it would, but nooo... and I don't think contacting Google further will help that much...

    Basically the problem is when it's connected to the T-Mobile network (and I know when it is cuz I have an app that tells me so - Signal Spy), it doesn't connect to data at all, even though it says it's connected... anybody else have this problem or know what it might be? (I know cuz when I turn off the wi-fi, the data signal immediately goes to an 'X" even though it says LTE...). I mostly use it on wi-fi at home or wherever else I am, like say work, so I don't always need the data, at least at home, but if I'm out in the field as I put it, out 'n about, I might not have data, and usually don't... unless..... in the rare instance that it connects to Sprint - there are a few times where I've had super good data ... but they are few and far between... so basically if I'm trying to use Maps or get MMS texts when away from home wi-fi, I can't do it..... (or check email or the web as well ofc). I've been waiting for the network to switch to a stronger signal when I need it to which I thought it was designed to do, plus these apps I have are supposed to force that switch, but they haven't worked either so far....

    So idk if it's some weird settings on my phone or what, but so far Google has not been able to help.... and at times I've told them about all this, they sometimes seem to act dumb about it... and as I've seen other comments on other threads, they are not acknowledging this and similar issues.... if this keeps happening, I think they are going to have problems like they have had with other 'failed projects.' But I hope it doesn't come to that, because I still think it is a neat concept and I love Google stuff, but, and I know it works great for some ppl, but I am not one of those.... unfortunately, as much as I would like to be.... and as one other commenter on here has said (I read all the comments... ;-p), you can't use the phone solely based on a 'concept' - it might work well in the lab, in theory, but it needs to work in practice... and if this worked for me, it would actually be perfect, cuz I don't use that much data, I mostly use wi-fi when at home and other devices, but when I'm away from home, I need this phone and service to work.... that's why I'm sadly having to consider switching services and I already have the SIM card for Republic Wireless actually, it's just a matter of doing it.... and I am *THIS* close to doing it.... maybe within the next day or so.... so that's my experience with Project Fi so far.... I wish it would work for me... but alas it hasn't... maybe when they mature and improve their model and services and fix whatever is causing things like this, I could join again.... if I do end up switching....

    As it says in this article below,

    "Not everyone has the option of using Project Fi. Google classifies the project as an experiment, saying it does not intend to become a large-scale wireless carrier..."

    Well, maybe the 'experiment' doesn't work for everyone....;-/

    • kmo1117
      March 27, 2017 at 7:52 pm

      Did you try uninstalling that Signal Spy app just to check if that is causing an issue?

  5. Ari Torres
    January 29, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    I got a pixel for myself and a pixel xl for my daughter,we both dumped project fi within three weeks,data is way too expensive for us since we do everything with our phones,watch tv,movies,listen to music,live broadcast and podcast,internet browsing,etc,etc,etc so we went with our prev carrier metropcs,boy are we happy! $60 bucks a month and rock the world. I am an OTR and metropcs works everywhere I drive. The phone is amazing!!!

  6. Julie Zavon
    December 28, 2016 at 8:43 am

    We got Project Fi because of it's ease of use internationally, but it's been a terrible experience. We've been in Europe several weeks and cannot call or text in Europe. I've spent hours with Project Fi trying to solve the problem. Not end in sight, and now they do not even respond. I wish I'd never heard of Project Fi.

  7. Julie Zavon
    December 28, 2016 at 8:38 am

    We signed up to Project Fi because of the promised international coverage and ease of use overseas, but it doesn't work. We've been in Europe for several weeks and it's impossible to make call or send texts in Europe. I've spent hours working with Project Fi support on this. Now they don't even respond. Terrible service.

  8. Max
    December 23, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    I have used Project Fi since June 2015 - i.e. since basically it started 1.5 I elieve I can be a fair judge of the service. I used Project Fi in the USA (where I reside), Hong Kong, Thailand, Italy, France, UK, Mexico. Overall: Project Fi sucks big time. I cannot list all the problems I had, literally -- you name them. Also, and this is our fault as customers and I put myself right there: Google is not a phone provider, so Project Fi is just a micro pet project of some "smart" geek in a fancy cubicle within a massively big corporation which, in turn, is not in the phone business. So, be aware of that point when you rate the dismal quality for the service. Yes, in principle the Project Fi concept is a great one -- particularly if you travel --but in practice it is an abysmal service because you do not call with a "concept". I have not used Republic service, which basically use same concept of Project Fi: they seem to be a "pure" player so that concept may actually be implemented decently by them. The only reason I am still with Project Fi is that I basically use the phone (as in calling) very rarely, and when I do I usually have problems. The customer "care" center is staffed by, at best, absolutely clueless individuals who ask you "How was your week!!!" "Yeaaaah, man!" and fake stuff like that but then cannot help you 92% of the time (I am being generous there) and regularly do not call back or drop calls. They also regularly tell you that they will update your profile so that the next colleague can help you, but that never ever happens. I rarely complain, and I have been using this "service" since it was create and I had given it the benefit of the doubt for 1.5 yrs, nothing has changed, actually, if any, it got worse.

  9. Jack
    December 19, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    The nexus 6 mey be huge to you but we have 2 of them and find them fast, easy to use and for us there still isn't a better phone out there.

    • Ben Stegner
      December 19, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      As a longtime Nexus fan, the 6 was a bit of a black sheep. It was much more expensive than the other Nexus phones, and was just too big, in my opinion. I have a Nexus 6P now, which I absolutely love, but it's a lot slimmer than the Nexus 6. I'm glad you like yours and they're still kicking for you!

  10. brandi marino
    December 8, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    I got mine last week and I've dropped 3 calls a day....the volume sucks:( and I'm a HUGE Google fan!!! Advice?

    • Ben Stegner
      December 8, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      Hmm, did you check Fi's coverage map in your area? And what phone are you using? My Nexus 6P never has a volume problem, and I don't think I've dropped more than one or two calls in the year of having the service.

  11. Lou
    November 22, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    Considering the use of WiFi to supplement cellular data, I wonder how much one's network data consumption would drop? I use a fair amount of data monthly (maybe 5-8GB), but if the phone is taking advantage of WiFi whenever appropriate, that could be significantly less. Hmmmm...

    • Ben Stegner
      November 23, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      I don't use anywhere near that amount of data (I usually hit around 1 GB). I have to say, though, that the Wi-Fi Assist isn't super active. I only see my phone connecting to public Wi-Fi securely maybe one time a month. It really depends on where you are.

  12. David Hatch
    November 9, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    I spend two weeks trying to activate my two project Fi phone. My work number was lost for a week. I finally gave up and ported the numbers back to Verizon. I spent more than 4 hours on the phone with Fi customer service. It was one of the worst customer service experiences of my life. I would not recommend the service.

    • Ben Stegner
      November 9, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      I'm surprised to hear that, because I haven't heard of any other major issues with Fi like this. That's a shame, but thank you for sharing!

  13. Mike
    October 8, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    I have a unlocked n6 , I like Google and found sounds cool however I'm with cricket wireless and get 20 gigs , talk and text for 55 dollars a month and I use most of my data every month so does not sound like to would be for me.

    • Ben Stegner
      October 31, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      I think you're correct. Project Fi shines best when you don't use a lot of data. 20 GB of data would cost $200 on Fi, so you're definitely better off with what you have!

  14. Tracee
    July 30, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Very happy with the service we have had since November 2015. Occasionally a dropped call when driving...otherwise just as good as Verizon(at 1/2 the price) in the Chicago area.
    Best of all in the International Service. Went to Russia for 10 days, used my regular data with no increase in the bill AND called home to several people daily, called and texted with my friends in Russia daily, and got an additional phone/text bill of $11.00. Not too shabby...
    We are very glad we dropped the financial ball and chain the Verizon has become.

  15. Pedro
    June 19, 2016 at 1:37 am

    I have been with Project Fi for nearly two months. I use it both within the US as well as abroad. I do make international calls from and to the US as well. I am a very happy customer as Project Fi allows calls from within 120 countries at very reasonable rates. Prior to Project Fi I was a wireless ATT, Verizon and Sprint customer. Is it for everybody? Possibly not, at least not now, but the potential is enormous and the business model very solid and with room to grow. US Celular has recently joined T-Mobile and Sprint in support of the Project Fi. Not bad, considering that they already have 3 of the 5 largest networks under their belt for coverage. Excellent work Google.

  16. Lisa J.
    May 20, 2016 at 10:51 am

    There are a few things about this article that are incorrect.
    First of all, I know this article was written some time back, but Project Fi is open to the public and has been for a little over 2 months.
    Also, you will not lose your Google Voice number. You have options. One being: you can use your Google Voice number as your Fi number. (Which is what I've chosen to do and it works like a charm)
    Or two: you can transfer the Google Voice number to another Google account that doesn't currently have a Voice number attached and save/use it there. Since you cannot have both Fi and Voice on the same account, (they're both MVNO services and it causes issues, hence not being able to have both on a single account) you can however download thd Google Voice app from the Play Store and log into the corrosponding Voice account and use it that way. Now, this is NOT a fail safe. Its very picky and may work on some accounts but not others so be warned. That's how it's always been with Fi however, the Google Voice options. And lastly in the Google Vice topic, if you forego any of these options and decide to drop Google Voice altogether, you still can access your past messages and transcriptions from the Project Fi account page. and scroll to the bottom of the page, and there is a link that says "Google Voice". Click that and you're redirected to the actual Voice account and it history.
    When it comes to the carrier networks they use. I know people aren't too keen on the current carriers. Its all about opinion location. I came across a Reddit where a person said he'd only join if Project Fi dumped Sprint and T-Mobile and joined up with Verizon and AT&T. Here's the thing, Verizon just last year, lost their title for the most coverage in the US and we're bumped down by T-Mobile. Also, AT&T's service quality has declined in recent years, and not every city has optimum coverage with those larger carriers. (Hence the multiple carrier option that auto switches you to the strongest possible connection. Including data romaing to other carriers outside of their network for free) Thats right, Project Fi doesn't charge you romaing costs as their data actually is unlimited. You get charged the flat $10.00 per GB used even if it's more than the plan you set meaning no roaming or overage fees. Where I'm located for example, (Las Vegas) AT&T and Verizon are terrible. Simply horrid. AT&T has had some epic network issues out here. Some times going down altogether for hours. Me being in the field of communications, that is a very big deal, and my company has chosen to no longer do business with them based on their repetative service issues.
    Verizon is not as popular out here as they are in other areas like the Midwest. Sadly, the Midwest is Project Fi's weak spot. The rumor mill is that Fi may add other carrier networks to make that area a strong point like it is on the coastal locations and larger cities.
    As a Fi customer, I know I can seem bias. I can tell you, I travel, a lot for my job, all over the US and I can honestly say that I've had very little to complain about Fi. My only complaint is steaming data. Most carriers these days give you free data streaming on music apps that don't count against any data usage. Fi, being part of the Google umbrella, or Alphabet as some would call it, you would think that if you're streaming ANY of their services, it would be free. Google Play Music and Movies should really be on the top of that list. For them to remain competitive in the field, and build a stronger customer base, that would be a huge step in the right direction.

  17. Brootis
    May 17, 2016 at 6:41 am

    I like numerous features of Project Fi. My monthly bill [over the past 3 months] has actually ended up costing more than when I was on Verizon Wireless. In turn, I'm going to put my primary number on I can get unlimited data (because I use 14 - 20 gb of data monthly). On Project Fi, I was using that amount, and PAYING for it--yes, my bill was $200+ a month. I loVe Project Fi, but I am not ready to pay that monthly amount any longer. My daily personal and work routine do not have me around any "open" WiFi networks aside from my home. Therefore, throughout my days, and enough of my nights, I'm using the carrier's service.

    I will keep a Project Fi SIM card [with 1 GB of data] around just in case the "formula" changes for their data plans. Until then, I'm [back] on T-Mobile. *le sigh*

  18. MIKE
    April 15, 2016 at 4:05 pm


    DITCH THE FI INSTEAD ............

  19. Carlos
    March 18, 2016 at 11:55 am

    I have been using Google Fi since December 2015, I use it for both US and International travel, LOVE IT, I also like the ability to use hangouts, send SMS or MMS via google fi and see messages on all my android devices, I believe google has launched a very good product

  20. Shirazy
    March 9, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    I have found Google to be a very, very good company. I'm thoroughly satisfied and they have helped me and my business tremendously. Did I ever really have a 2nd option? Nope. There's a reason GOD gave us Google.

  21. Todd
    January 30, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Does anyone have experience with T-Mobile and Sprint in Vermont. I am currently a Verizon customer, but Project Fi definitely is intriguing. I concerned about the coverage, however. Thanks!

    • Ben Stegner
      January 31, 2016 at 3:31 pm

      Hey Todd,

      I don't know anyone in Vermont to ask about this unfortunately, but the least I can do is refer you to Fi's coverage map; looks like it's pretty sparse to me:

      Let me know if you find anything out!

  22. Anonymous
    January 29, 2016 at 1:34 am

    Thanks Ben, great article and the comments by others!

    • Ben Stegner
      January 31, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      You're welcome; I'm glad you appreciated it! The comments on this article have been great, I agree :)

  23. Anonymous
    January 29, 2016 at 1:34 am

    I have been using Google Fi with a Nexus 6 since September. Here is my history to see how it works.
    Sept $34.50
    Oct $32.02
    Nov $34.10
    Dec $37.18
    Jan $29.34
    This includes my taxes.
    I have been very happy with the service. Sprint service is not that strong in my area, so mainly I use WiFi and T-Mobile, both work practically flawlessly.

    I have also used FreedomPop with a Nexus 5. Very inexpensive, but service was not good, constant problems with dropped voice and texts, Sprint MNVO.

    In addition to Google Fi, I am currently using with an iPhone 5S. This is a Sprint MNVO and the service is great! I purchased a $10 Sprint Boost Mobile SIM off of eBay to replace the Verizon SIM, painless. I have the Michelangelo package where I paid $15 upfront, now free for 1000 minutes, 1000 text, and 500MB's of data. You have to be careful with this service with text. If you use SMS they charge you $.04 each towards your upfront fee. I use iMessage and bypass these charges, so the service is free!

    Be happy to answer questions about my experiences, I am all the time trying different phones and services. I even purchased several China phones for evaluations, short answer, just not worth their time.

    • Ben Stegner
      January 31, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      Wow, Mike! Sounds like you have quite a bit of experience with these different carriers. Thanks for giving us all this info; I really appreciate it!

  24. Micha
    January 28, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    this is all true and good. what was not mentioned is the fact that CURRENTLY fi does not have a sms gateway that is used various services i. e. banks and system monitoring.

    • Ben Stegner
      January 28, 2016 at 11:23 pm

      I don't have much experience with these; what are they used for? Is it anything that shortcodes or mobile apps can't accomplish (for banks, for example)?

  25. Kannon Yamada
    January 23, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Great article! Can I ask what you were paying before Project Fi (IIRC you were using an MVNO) and how you compare the two services? Also, how does Fi's rollover work if you prepay and then don't use any data for several months -- does it continue rolling over or is there some kind of cut-off where you lose whatever money you paid into Fi... Or maybe you just get a credit card statement refund?

    • Ben Stegner
      January 23, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks Kannon!

      Actually, I was on Sprint on my family's plan before jumping to Fi. I paid them $50 per month for my part of the service, so I'm definitely making out better now than before!

      As far as I know, Fi refunds your unused data with a credit on your next bill. So I suppose if you prepaid $30 for 1 GB of data and used no data for a few months, you would just get that $10 back each month.

      That's why, even though you only pay for what data you use, you should estimate your data closely -- because if you said you were going to use 5 GB and only used 1, that's a $40 credit back instead of just not paying the $40 in the first place. I don't know if you ever get anything back on your card.

      For comparisons, Fi has definitely been great. I can tell in some places (like my relatives' house as I mentioned) where Sprint was lacking, T-Mobile kicks in and I have much better service. I have no issues service-wise; it's been really great.

      • James Bruce
        January 28, 2016 at 9:23 pm

        This really makes me appreciate my $50/month unlimited calls,texts,and 4G data... and tethering is allowed. Hah! For once, UK users getting a better deal than Americans.

  26. Jonathan Brutt
    January 23, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Personally, I'll stick to my Republic Wireless. The phones cost less, the service costs less, it looks like HALF of Project Fi. You said $20 for unlimited text and talk? Republic is $10. You said $10 per gigabyte. Republic is at $15 per gig and refunds what you don't use as well. However, a 1 gig data plan with unlimited text and talk between both providers would be Project Fi with $30 and Republic with $25. Both companies refund what data you don't use, but Republic's pricepoint for a smartphone probably goes from $50-400 instead of $350-650 which is a whopping amount higher.

    Lastly, compare the cell carriers. Project Fi you said is Sprint & Tmobile. On the other hand, Republic is Sprint & Verizon. The coverage difference is hopefully astronomically different.

    Project Fi seems interesting, but unless you intend to only purchase data from them, it's probably not the best deal out there.

    • Ben Stegner
      January 28, 2016 at 11:27 pm

      I'm glad you like Republic! I don't have anything against them, and as I've said to other commenters I would have probably tried Republic had it not been for the timing of the new Nexus phones.

      I think it depends on what you value most. If you want a cheaper phone, Republic is great, but I'm a Nexus purist so I was happy to get the 6P. Most people aren't like me, though :)

      The other thing you didn't consider is that Republic modifies their phones so you can't unlock the bootloader or root it - this means you don't really own the phone and if you're a power user that's disappointing.

      I've had better coverage with Sprint + T-Mobile than with Sprint. I've never used Verizon myself so I can't make any calls there.

      I think they're both good services overall.

      • Jonathan Brutt
        January 29, 2016 at 2:18 am

        Hey Ben,

        It definitely matters what is valued. If price point is the value Republic is "better". However, I would agree with you on the phones. If you want something more "high end" then project fi is probably better. While Verizon probably has more coverage, I can't speak to the call quality between them all.

    • Mark
      March 22, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      Jonathan, I don't see anywhere on Republic's site that claims it uses Verizon. According to their FAQ, they have a relationship with Sprint only. That's a big difference, as Verizon's coverage is far superior to any of the other network providers.

  27. Bruce Arkwright
    January 23, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    I have yet to decide to go cellar, as I can't shake the Skype bug just yet, I'm cheap... I know I will have to be able to go mobile, sometime, and this is where I am going to go to. Access to two different mobile networks? Who does that! Nobody. Way better coverage...

    • Ben Stegner
      January 23, 2016 at 4:09 pm

      Sounds like a good plan for you! Even if you use a half gigabyte of data for Maps or something, you're still only looking at $25/month before taxes/fees. That's pretty good for a smartphone plan, especially when other providers charge a fee just for having a smartphone!

    • Jonathan Brutt
      January 29, 2016 at 2:19 am

      Bruce, please consider Republic Wireless while you're at it. The price point is lower for the same type of service. At the very least it's worth researching before making the commitment to a service provider.

  28. Alex
    January 23, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    I also use project Fi and overall really enjoy it mostly due to the fact that I was already looking at getting the nexus 6p and between WiFi at home and work I don't use much data. However, I did have a couple of issues when I was transitioning off of T-Mobile. The first thing was that I decided to transfer my Google voice number over to be my Fi number and at first it seemed to have worked fine but then I realized that I could receive text messages but I couldn't send them. I contacted support and they were helpful, but I ended up just having to wait for the transfer to fully complete on their end. The other thing ids that I was recommended to switch to the Google messenger app for sms and mms instead of using Hangouts. This is due to Hangouts not currently working all the time for project Fi numbers. This means that I can no longer use SMS and MMS on desktop with Hangouts. Although, I've learned that for sms and mms, messenger is much better than Hangouts at the moment so I'm not too upset about this.

    • Ben Stegner
      January 23, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I had to let go of my old Voice number when I jumped to Fi, so I didn't have any issues there. I was on Sprint prior to Fi and my number ported within 10 minutes -- much faster than I expected.

      I wanted to use Hangouts since it's the closest thing Android has to iMessage (easy group messaging, messages over the Internet, etc.) but it just lacks a few features I like. I still use Textra, which is what I use on my old phone. My only regret there is that I can't take advantage of texting on my PC with the Hangouts app.

    • Anonymous
      January 28, 2016 at 11:55 pm

      Google is pushing the separate Messenger app for anyone using Hangouts for their native phone line SMS messages. As far as I know this doesn't affect using your Google Voice line in Hangouts so you should still be able to do that from the desktop via Hangouts (the FAQ at Project fi says it still works). Since on Project fi you are using only your Google Voice line and not a native carrier line this shouldn't affect it in Hangouts in other places. You can't use the old Google Voice web site to text message (probably most folks don't anyways) and Hangouts doesn't support group SMS at the moment. Anyone downloading the new Version 7 Hangouts app will see this recommendation pop up. Actually the Messenger app is nice.

      • Ben Stegner
        January 31, 2016 at 3:26 pm

        I'm kind of torn on this. I've been using Textra for quite a while and really like it, but the ability to text with Hangouts on the desktop is really nice. I use solutions like Pushbullet and MightyText for SMS on my PC now, but they can be unreliable at times and have monthly limits.

        However, I don't find Hangouts to be a great texting app, and with no group chat support I just can't use it. It's a shame, but I'll live with it. Hangouts has the potential to be the iMessage of Android if they made it smoother and everyone used it.

  29. Dave
    January 22, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    If this is interesting to you it would be worth also looking into Republic Wireless. It would be sweet if Makeuseof could even do a head-to-head comparison.

    I tried out Republic Wireless and unfortunately I had trouble connecting calls while on the cell network. Which was really weird because the Wi-Fi calling always worked perfectly, and I hadn't experienced problems with the Sprint network before. I hope things are working better now. Wi-Fi calling is awesome and is going to be a big deal.

    • Ben Stegner
      January 23, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      Many friends at my college use Republic, which I never heard of before coming here. It seems like another good option, and I might have gone with them if I hadn't wanted a Nexus. I'll pass along your idea about the comparison; thanks!

  30. Don Gateley
    January 22, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    When I can use a phone I have.

    • Ben Stegner
      January 23, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      I can't answer this one, unfortunately. Fi bringing LTE support to tablets is a step in the right direction though, so it may be soon. As more phone out, more should work with Fi.

  31. Shawn Rosvold
    January 22, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    I'd like to see a comparison with Republic Wireless. I pay $25 a month for unlimited text, data, and long distance. Republic gives me money back if I don't use as much data as they think I should. No contract. The Moto X phone was about $300.

    • Ben Stegner
      January 28, 2016 at 11:22 pm

      Shawn, I've proposed this idea to the team. I don't use Republic but several people at my college do, and I think a comparison would be interesting.

      I think Republic is great for most people, in general. If I wasn't such a stickler for having Nexus devices, I would probably have gone with them.

      • Lix
        February 19, 2017 at 11:11 pm

        Ofc since this article was written Republic now supports Nexus and I believe even Pixel devices... Since I have a Nexus 6P and have had problems with Project Fi for a while I may be switching over... in response to Shawn's comment, as I've done my research I haven't seen anything about unlimited data on Republic although their price points seem attractive.... and I've read almost all excellent reviews....

        • Lix
          February 19, 2017 at 11:39 pm

          I should say that Republic had an unlimited data plan at one point but they have since changed it to something similar to Fi's model.... from an Engadget article:

          Republic Wireless drops unlimited data in favor of Google-like refunds. ... Republic Wireless has switched from offering unlimited cellular data on its higher-priced phone tiers to a Refund Plan that shares more than a little in common with Google's Project Fi.
          Jul 7, 2015

          So Shawn probably had the older service and maybe was grandfathered in at some point.... Somebody I work with had Republic during that time until they changed it and he went with another carrier since he is extremely cost conscious... Republic still seems good to me though.... Especially as an alternative to Project Fi since it is not working for me... sadly....

        • Lix
          February 20, 2017 at 12:09 am

          This may come through twice idk it didn't seem to take the first time... This is in response to the reply BELOW which won't let me reply to it... This is the article I got the excerpt from in case anybody wants to know...

  32. Steve K
    January 22, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Do the supported devices include the ability to hand off a call from one network to another without losing the call? I'm thinking of a situation where you start a call at home on WiFi, walk down the street until you're out of range and switch over to a mobile network.

    • Ben Stegner
      January 22, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      Yes, Google specifically mentions that this is supported:

      “If you start a call over Wi-Fi and walk outside, Project Fi detects when your signal becomes weak and seamlessly moves your call over to a cell network to keep the conversation going.”


      I haven’t had any situations where that’s happened for me so far (I don’t call too often), but it should hand the call from WiFi to the network with no issues.

    • Top secret
      January 23, 2016 at 4:48 am

      Switches over without dropping call maybe a delay for a sec while it hand's connection over.