Project Fi: Google’s Crack at Mobile Plans

Sometimes it seems like Google has to try to do everything at least once to see if they can do it well. I’ve been using Google’s Project Fi for about half a year now, and I love the service.

The Plan

Google’s Project Fi has only been available to the wider public for about ten months now, but it shows no signs of growing pains. Project Fi boasts an impressive amount of coverage and service for a rather low price. The Fi Basics plan provides its users with unlimited domestic calls and texts and unlimited international texts for $20/month. To me it provides a convenient way to stay in touch with my UK and European friends without resorting to Facebook or Whatsapp.

While calls to international numbers are not included in the plan, the rate which the Fi network charges is $0.01 per minute. Google has paired with three major cellular providers to piggyback off their networks, but have clearly done so in a way that Google still turns a profit, especially considering that they’ve opened the service to the general public.

Data is another part of the equation here though. I will say right now, that if you are someone that needs an unlimited plan and use over 5 gigs of data a month, perhaps Fi is not for you. Google does charge $10 per gigabyte of data used in a 30 day cycle, but you’ll end up using way less data than you think, which I’ll explain in a moment. I’ve chosen to only purchase one gig a month. This is not because I never use data, in fact I love to use my phone’s data plan to listen to podcasts, look up where I am when I’m lost, and to do on the go Duolingo lessons. No, I chose 1 gig a month because I heard about the Fi network’s clever feature.

Your Fi phone -currently the Pixel or Nexus series- will connect to any open wifi it can without asking your permission. While this may be alarming to some, the Fi Network automatically protects your data going in and out of the phone to that open WiFi via a VPN on your phone.

That’s right, you get your own Virtual Private Network to protect you. When your phone is connected to secure WiFi or securely connected to open WiFi, you are not using your data at all. Any unused data is rolled over to your next billing statement as a credit as well, so you do not have to pay for anything you do not have to use.

Customer Service and Transparency

I can be a worrier. So when I was not immediately -like within seconds- assigned a number after activating my Project Fi SIM card, I decided to see how the customer service was with Project Fi. I went to the “Support” tab on my account page and chose the live chat option. Within ten seconds I was on the line with one of Fi’s representatives who seemed cheery and happy to help. She was eager to help me find out why I had not yet received my number and within that time I had been assigned a number anyway.

Spare the rising embarrassment in my body, I had really enjoyed the experience. The representative was understanding and ready to help. I can’t say that I’ve often experienced that. Even the customer satisfaction survey was quick enough that I was not annoyed that I agreed to take it. Soon after, I had another slight panic over why my credit card had not seemed to have been charged for the phone I purchased through Fi. Another representative was just as helpful and kind. I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Fi’s customer service team.

I was also surprised by my bill statement, and not in the way many people are by their carriers. A google voice credit which I already had was applied to my bill and the section outlining taxes gave the option see these details. This is a level of transparency that has not been so readily accessible to me in my memory from a company. To the penny, I saw they various federal, state, and local taxes, fees, and maintenance costs. I realize that this may not be nearly as interesting to others as it to me, but this was just crazy. It was also staggering how much cheaper this line is for me, when I know many who pay at least twice as much for a single line.

My conclusion is that if your contract is coming up, consider Fi

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