I’ve been using Google’s new Project Fi service for just over a month now. You pay in advance for Fi service, so that means I just received my second monthly bill. And in a bit of good news for those who tend to fear their wireless bills — mine came with a credit. You see, one of the perks of Project Fi is that you only pay for the data you actually use. I signed up for 1.0GB of data and used a little over 0.6GB, which meant I went into month two with a small credit for the unused portion. But I am getting ahead of myself here.
For those unfamiliar with Project Fi — this is a pre-paid phone service from Google. Project Fi is sort of limited at the moment. Right now you’ll need an invitation to get started, and the service only works with the Nexus 6. But outside of those limitations, which will likely change in time, there are a few solid perks.
Project Fi makes use of Wi-Fi, T-Mobile and Sprint, which means connectivity shouldn’t really be an issue. We can likely call that perk number one. Those signing up will pay $20 per month for unlimited minutes and unlimited messaging. Data is then added in 1.0GB blocks. Each 1.0GB block of data is $10, so in theory your monthly bill will start as low as $30 plus local taxes. My first bill came to $34.50.
But as I mentioned earlier, you’ll get a credit for any used data. In my case I used 0.604GB of data which meant an unused portion of 0.396GB. Or more specific, that meant a bill credit of $3.96 going into month number two. I also received a one-time $1.00 credit when I transferred my Google Voice number to Project Fi. This meant I paid $29.65 (with taxes included) for my service (unlimited minutes and messaging with 1.0GB of data) this month.
So, perk number two is only paying for the data you actually use. But wireless service is something many depend on for connectivity, and a low monthly bill isn’t good if the overall service is crap. This is where things will differ for person to person, and from location to location. It is hard to say Project Fi will be good for everyone, but it has been good to me so far. Having said that, how about I talk a bit about the service.
I already mentioned perk number one — how Project Fi uses Wi-Fi, T-Mobile and Sprint. A mix of Wi-Fi with the two wireless networks means you should not have to worry about connectivity and weak signal strength. But this is where I have to bring up the point about location. And if you are curious you should look locally. Ask friends, family members, or co-workers how those services (T-Mobile and Sprint) are in your location. T-Mobile service happens to be really good where I live, and Sprint sort of fills in the gaps. Of course, as you may have guessed from my 0.604GB usage level — I take full advantage of Wi-Fi.
And just in case you weren’t sure — yes, you are able to make calls, receive calls, send text messages, and receive text messages using a Wi-Fi connection. In fact, that brings us to another perk of Project Fi. The service will allow you to transition from network to network without dropping a call. So you can start a call in your home, on Wi-Fi, and then head out the door and transition to a cellular network while still talking.
As I mentioned, Project Fi has been great so far. But it may not be great for everyone. If T-Mobile and Sprint are bad where you live, well, there isn’t much you can do. Again, ask locally for advice on these networks. Project Fi could also be bad for heavy data users. If you are curious and considering a switch to Project Fi you should look at what you are paying your current carrier on a monthly basis. But remember to look at the data you are actually using, not what your monthly allotment is. Keep in mind that you only pay for what you use with Project Fi. And if you go over, you are billed accordingly, not with high overage fees like some of the carriers will charge. In the past I had a 5GB block with my carrier, which meant I was paying for data I was never using.
Anyway, short version here — I really like Project Fi and I’m very happy to have started using the service. I’ve made calls, received calls, sent messages, received messages, and used data — all without issue.