Yesterday, Google announced that it would become a wireless carrier with the Project Fi. Although it will offer mobile services, Google hasn’t built its own network for this purpose. Instead, it will act as an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator), using the infrastructure of both Sprint and T-Mobile. Project Fi also supports calls and texts over a WiFi connection in the absence of LTE service.
If you already own a Nexus 6, Google will send you a SIM card. If you don’t have the phone, then you can buy one through Project Fi on a 24-month installment plan (with payments of $27.04 for the 32GB model, and $29.12 for the one with 64GB of storage). There’s also the option to pay in full – $649 or $699, depending on which storage variant you choose.
The focus, though, is for Project Fi customers to connect to Google’s more than one million free WiFi hotspots. Project Fi customers can travel about and connect to these WiFi hotspots automatically. Data remains secured through encryption despite automatically connecting to these WiFi hotspots without notice.
Google’s service has just one plan, and no long-term contract requirement. You pay $20 per month for “The Fi Basics” and then you add a data allowance on top of that. The Fi Basics consist of unlimited domestic talk and text, as well as unlimited international texts. Data costs $10 per GB, and you can choose bundles in increments of 1GB – from 1GB all the way up to 10GB. Overages are charged at the same $10 per GB rate, so if you go over by 300MB, for example, you’ll pay an extra $3.
If you don’t use all the data in your allowance in a month, you’ll be credited the difference in your Project Fi account, and you can use that towards your next bill. If you pay $20 for 2GB but only use 1.5GB, you’ll get $5 back. You can change the data package from month to month, and all account administration is done via a dedicated mobile app which you install on your Nexus 6.
The huge caveat right now is that you need an invite to get in on the action. You can request an invite for Project Fi by clicking here.