The holiday season is right ahead of us and there will be a lot of travelling within and out of the country. With mobile phones having formed a core part of our lives, there is no way one would leave his or her beloved smartphone back at home when making the trip.
But the question that comes to one’s mind is how will s/he keep in touch with friends and family back at home when, for instance, a Verizon Wireless SIM card is what is on the phone? Is there stable network coverage for this carrier (s) in other parts of the world? Will the costs remain the same throughout the journey or will there be extra charges incurred?
Well, if travelling abroad is high on your list of events this coming holiday season, you might want to consider looking at Google Project Fi.
In case you are still new to the program, Google Project Fi is a mobile service that can for sure save you a significant amount of money, especially if travelling internationally is your thing. But still, there are a few things you need to understand about the services of Project Fi.
What is Google Project Fi
Launched in April 2015, Google Project Fi is another ambitious plan by Google to get deeper into the mobile phone industry. Using infrastructure from Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular and local Wi-Fi networks, Project Fi determines which of these platforms offers the best network connectivity and proceeds to connect your device to the most suitable one. The carrier seamlessly shifts between these four platforms whenever one weakens, allowing you to get the best at any given moment.
Google Project Fi has its biggest benefit in cost. For $20/month per line, you get unlimited calls and SMS throughout the country. Adding $10 will earn you 1GB of data. If you happen to use less than this 1GB in a month, you are refunded the balance. Going over this allotted monthly data pack will also be charged. In short, you only pay for the data you use – something that is proving to be a game changer for Project Fi.
Is Google Project Fi good for international travelers?
As far as international travelers are concerned, Google Project Fi has something amazing for you. There are no roaming rates charged for data when visiting more than 135 countries across the globe. In short, the cost of data remains at $10 per GB, translating to $0.01 for 1MB. When compared to the $2.05 Verizon Wireless charges for 1MB when abroad, Google Project Fi has a better deal. You will keep using the Project Fi data as long as you are in any of the said 135 countries at the same speeds.
It gets even better for SMS and calls. Where Verizon Wireless charges voice calls on a per minute basis, with prices varying in different countries, Google Project Fi has a flat rate of $0.20 per minute. You still get to enjoy the unlimited SMS service when abroad too.
Since Google Project Fi uses a special feature known as Wi-Fi Assistant to connect the phone to suitable Wi-Fi networks around you, the overall amount of data used will be much lower, especially if you spend most of your time around areas with public Wi-Fi hotspots. This means that you stand a chance of using a smaller amount of data on Project Fi as compared to using roaming data on Verizon Wireless. To ensure that you are safe, Fi uses a secure connection when on these public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Should you make the switch?
As you can see, there are quite some amazing goodies on Google Project Fi. However, before you think of making the switch, keep in mind that the service is limited to not just Android users, but also those using a limited set of Google phones. These include the latest Google Pixel and Pixel XL alongside the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6. If you are using a device that is not any of these five and Project Fi is what you want, there is no other choice but to buy the supported device.
Since Google Project Fi uses Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S Cellular networks, you might not get the best connections when in some parts of the U.S. thanks to the fact that the penetration of these networks is not as good as Verizon. Unless you can access Wi-Fi, Project Fi can at times get you spotty coverage.
So, the bigger question here is that should you buy a Google Project Fi device as you make your trip abroad this Christmas holiday? If this is the only trip you will be making abroad, better stick to your current carrier. However, if you do a lot of travelling, Project Fi is worth looking at, especially since the platform values the smaller Nexus 5X at just $199.
For those doing local trips, you will be better off with Project Fi if your monthly data usage is 1.5GB or below. But make sure your area has the best coverage of Sprint, T-Mobile or U.S. Cellular, otherwise, you will regret making the shift as without Wi-Fi, your internet connection will be poor.
The carrier also offers group plans of up to six people, with the additional five lines valued at $15 per month, down by $5. Since using Google Project Fi involves switching to Android OS (for non-Android users), you might also want to make a careful decision about this.