Google Project Fi is much better than most carriers, except for the data plan

Project Fi Sim Card

Google Project Fi is fighting for a spot in the already congested wireless networks’ industry that is dominated by the likes of Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular.

In order to make its presence felt, Project Fi had a plan and so far, so good. When the search engine giant launched the MVNO two years ago, it positioned it as the most affordable wireless carrier that anyone using Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint could turn to and save a lot in terms of monthly plans. Look around you and for sure you’ll find happy users of Fi with testimonies of how they’ve saved a fortune in the few months they’ve been using the Google-owned carrier. Even though this is possible, there has always been one problem with using Fi – a problem that if solved would make the carrier the best in the U.S.

Of course, we all know using Project Fi needs you to purchase one of those costly Google Pixel phones, especially now that the Nexuses are no more. However, Google has worked to solve this problem by releasing the Moto X4 Android One phone to help fill the gap left behind by the Nexuses. There’s word that more Android One phones will be joining the party, but we still don’t when this will be happening. This solves one problem, but it’s not the only problem.

Google Project Fi users will tell you about how wonderful the carrier is. They only pay $30 per month for phone and data plans, the seamless switching between Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile data has helped them save a lot of money on a monthly basis, they can enjoy the services of Fi in more than 135 countries across the globe, the group plans are very affordable and so on. While most of these benefits will hold no matter the circumstances, the aspect of spending only $30 per month is not true for every Fi user and I’ll tell you why.

In order to make unlimited phone calls and send messages through Project Fi, you only need $20 per month. Add $10 on top of this and you get 1GB of data for a month. If you are not a heavy user, it’s possible this GB of data won’t be over after 30 days. Rather than expiring, the remaining data will be carried forward, where you’ll pay less the equivalent amount for your next monthly plan. Now, assuming you are a heavy user, the extra data used above the default 1GB will be computed with respect to the $10/GB rate. Thus, if you use an extra 1GB (a total of 2GB), you’ll pay $40 in total. In case of 3GB in total, you’ll pay $50 at the end of the month.

Google Project Fi

When compared to other carriers, Google Project Fi is the most expensive when it comes to data plans. From the above example, it means that when you pay $50 per month on Fi, you get unlimited calls and texts alongside 3GB of data. On Sprint, for instance, you can get an unlimited plan for the same amount, however, the internet speeds will be throttled once your usage hits 23GB, which is still more than 7x what Fi has to offer. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile also offer unlimited plans with data caps of 22GB on the former two and up to 30GB on the latter. However, you need at least $60 on AT&T, $70 on T-Mobile and $75 on Verizon to get these plans, which is still way better than Fi, if you ask me.

So, if you are a heavy data user and you rarely spend most of your time around open Wi-Fi hotspots, you may find that Google Project Fi isn’t what you thought it was. The only way you can get the best out of Fi is if you have Wi-Fi at work, home, and most of the places you visit, including overseas. Whether Google will make changes to its data plans remains unknown, but if it did, Project Fi would for sure become the best.

Would you like to see Google Project Fi get new data plans? Let us know in your comments below.

9 thoughts on “Google Project Fi is much better than most carriers, except for the data plan”

  1. First a correction. Remaining data is not carried forward. Instead Fi subscribers get a cash credit of one cent per megabyte they didn’t use, reducing the next month’s charges. Those who use more than the selected amount of data are charged one cent per extra megabyte. When you cancel service you get a refund after the cancellation not only for the unused data but also for the remaining days in the last billing cycle.

    Almost everyone has “Wi-Fi at work, home, and most of the places [they] visit” that is either free or already paid for. It’s in stores, hospitals, on college campuses, and on the streets in urban areas. Free Wi-Fi was even at the department of motor vehicles office where I waited more than two hours to renew my license recently. I downloaded additional Amazon Prime television shows. Google has over one million hot spots. Xfinity has over ten million that are included with no additional charge for customers with home internet service at 25 Mbps or higher and I believe most other ISPs also have wi-fi networks. In my own case, more than 90% of the data I use is Wi-Fi data. So instead of $10 per gigabyte, I’m paying less than $1.

    1. Do you work at Bay Area?
      Do you spend more than an hour in commuting?
      Do you want 4G in subway, not just at the station, but in the tunnels?
      Do you stream music and videos or download them in advance?
      Do you play online games on your phone while outside on the street, on a bus, in a coffee shop or in a restaurant?

      Of course everyone has different use cases. But most people satisfied with Project Fi usually share the same life/work pattern while people who cannot benefit from Fi have all kinds of scenarios where Fi fails. The below claim delivered an idea: the former outnumber the latter, and represent the mainstream. I disagree.

      “Almost everyone has “Wi-Fi at work, home, and most of the places [they] visit” that is either free or already paid for. It’s in stores, hospitals, on college campuses, and on the streets in urban areas.”

      First, I do not have reliable Wi-Fi connection at my office, neither at my college. And when connected, it is fine to chat on whatsapp or read news, but to check out snapchats or instagram, it takes ages. On top of the slowness and frequent disconnection, some websites/apps are blocked, not surprisingly Tinder, but surprisingly wiktionary.org — because of “inappropriate words” on this website.

      Secondly, are San Francisco, Los Angels, Manhattan urban areas? I have so much trouble to find Wi-Fi connection here. Most of the streets DO NOT have Wi-Fi. And when they do, you see people struggling with all the login and filling personal information and connection issues. I do not want to stand on the street for 5 or even 10 minutes for all this. Sometimes I am just waiting to meet a friend, sometimes I just need to check the nearby citi bike station. In this case, 5 minutes feel like a lifetime. Or if “urban areas” means Mountain View, yeah, pretty fast and reliable Wi-Fi with excellent coverage, sweet!

  2. One of the best features of Project Fi is the fact you can use it internationally without having to set up and pay for international service. So if you travel to Europe, for example, you turn on your phone upon landing and you’re good to go! Free int’l texting; calls are 20 cents/minute. I’ve been a Field subscriber for two years and have had nothing but outstanding 24/7 customer service and easy to read, straight forward monthly bills.

  3. There are still places where wifi is not available, like on the streets of a foreign country. Or, a special case in China: with in-country wifi, you’re blocked from most of the popular US websites, including pretty much all google services, but if you’re on Fi data connection, you’re good. So of course we’d like to see a better/cheaper data plan, on top of this nice mobile offering.

  4. Of course we would all like to see the data be less expensive, but even at it’s current price I still fell like I’m getting a good deal. The occassional month I go over isn’t a big deal since they only charge $0.01/mb. So, after taxes my wife and I pay an average of $60 for two lines. I don’t think any other provider can offer the level of service and coverage we get for the same or less. Oh, and the referral program is pretty sweet too. $20 credit for any new user if you use my link: https://g.co/fi/r/8P50E1

  5. The primary benefit is the international roaming which is the best deal available. Verizon charges $10/day for roaming. T-Mobile is free, but limited to slow speeds while abroad. Faster data costs $50 for 500MB. Fi? .20/minute voice, unlimited text and data is still $10/GB. Prepaid SIM cards may be cheaper but none are as convenient. With the roaming arrangements Fi has via T-mobile and 3, speeds are not quite local speed but often close and I regularly get >5Mbps.

  6. The cost of Fi data has been my major complaint, as well. It just means that I do as much as possible on wi-fi. You failed to mention Project Fi’s family plan: the first phone is $20/month and subsequent phones are only $15/month.

  7. The data plan is designed for people who are on wifi a lot. I’ve been a customer for over a year & saved hundreds of dollars. It’s also great if you travel overseas. The Fi website actually has a quiz to let you know if you’ll save money. Getting a refund on data you don’t use is great too. If you’re getting a Pixel or Moto & want to try Project Fi, here’s a link with $20 credit on your first month. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Plus, the customer service is A+++
    Redeem it at https://g.co/fi/r/8H6198

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