Ever since Google Project Fi went live, it hasn’t been short of critics from both sides of the divide. There are those who believe Fi is the best thing to have happened to them, but others are adamant that this MNVO isn’t meant for them.
Well, there’s a lot of truth in both schools of thought, which happens to be true for almost every other product on the market. Not everyone will be impressed and they’ll usually have reasons for their choices. With Google Project Fi, those who love it will give you plenty of reasons for their affections whereas those on the other side will also present their arguments – and that’s okay because it makes the market even more competitive.
When Fi came into the market, there were plenty of carriers and MVNOs alike, but to succeed, Google chose to narrow its target market to a very small group and grow it from there on. Two years down the line, I’d say this strategy is working perfectly. With this strategy, though, came a few limitations and many have criticized the company mostly based on these limitations.
For instance, unlike other carriers and MVNOs out there, Google Project Fi only works on specific phones. At launch, only Nexus 6 was supported, but today, the platform is compatible with an additional seven phones, including the Lenovo-made Moto X4 Android One. The Moto X4 became the first non-Google phone to support Fi. With this move, it’s obvious that Google has plans to expand the list of supported devices outside its own ecosystem of “Made by Google” phones.
The release of the Moto X4 Android One wasn’t a Google-initiated decision; rather, it was fueled by the growing Project Fi user base. More people wanted to join Fi but due to the lack of an affordable smartphone, they couldn’t do so. Google listened to these voices and gave them a $400 Android One phone that is compatible with Fi, just like the Nexuses and Pixels.
A while back, Google introduced a family plan to Project Fi. After seeing that people increasingly loved Fi, Google gave them the option to add family members and friends to their existing plans, just like other carriers already do. This shows that Google is slowly climbing the ladder by adding more features that are supported on traditional carriers.
We don’t know the exact figures for all Google Project Fi subscribers, but it’s obvious that the company will be adding more devices as the demand for Fi grows. In short, it’s safe to assume that the issue of limited devices has been well taken care of. With this in mind, some users of Fi are now asking for something else – unlimited data plans.
As noted earlier, there are two schools of thought around Project Fi. One group thinks Fi is the perfect MVNO for them. This is the group that has Wi-Fi hotspots all over the places they visit and live, travels to different countries on a regular basis and lives or works in an area with strong connectivity with respect to T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular. The other group, which is the exact opposite of the other, thinks Fi is too expensive, especially when it comes to data usage.
This is the group that spends hours on the internet, which means their data consumption is huge. This is also the group that rarely comes across Wi-Fi hotspots and traveling abroad is not on their to-do lists. Looking at the setup of Google Project Fi, it’s obvious that this isn’t the target market, at least for now. As pointed out, Google chose to narrow its target market to a very specific group, but looking at how things are unfolding, it’s possible that more features will be coming in future.
For now, we cannot guarantee that Google Project Fi will at some point turn into a full-blown carrier, but what is becoming evident is that Fi’s limitations are perhaps its best weapons.