Google Fi claims to be cheaper and lot more flexible compared to traditional mobile service providers. So, let us go ahead and take a look at Google Fi and understand how it works.
What is Google Fi
Google Fi is a mobile service offering from Google, providing Unlimited Calls, Unlimited Messages and Mobile data at competitive rates.
Google’s mobile service was known as ‘Google Fi’, when it was initially launched (22 April 2015) on invitation only basis for Nexus 6 buyers and opened to public on 7 March 2016.
Later on, Google rebranded Google Fi as Google Fi and added support to more devices, including iPhones.
Google Fi runs on Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) model, providing its services over WiFi Hotspots and leased mobile service infrastructure owned by Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular.
The software behind Google Fi is designed to automatically connect to available WiFi Hotspots over a secured VPN and switch to LTE network, whenever WiFi is not available.
Google Fi Coverage and Experience
With WiFi Hotspots and all cellular networks combined, Google Fi service claims to covers more than 170 countries around the world.
The technology behind Google Fi is designed to switch seamlessly between Cellular and WiFi networks, depending on whichever is faster at a given point.
According to Google, its users are likely to get 4G LTE speed most of time as its service is designed to switch between WiFi and the fastest available LTE Network.
When you’re not on WiFi, we move you between whichever of our partner networks is delivering the fastest speed, so you get 4G LTE in more places – Google
Google Fi Cost
Google Fi starts at $20/month, which gets you Unlimited local calling, Unlimited Local, National and International Texting and low-cost international calls in over 170 countries.
Data needs to be purchased in advance at $10/GB and you only pay for actually used data.
For example you can pre-pay for 2 GB ($20) and expect to get back $8 in credit, in case you happen to use only 1.2 GB. There is no rounding, you pay for exactly what you use.
Google Fi is designed to make the most efficient use of data by utilizing over a 100,000 free WiFi Hotspots which Google has verified as being fast and reliable.
According to Google, you’re not charged for data use whenever you are on a Wi-Fi network.
This technology helps keep your speed high and your data bill low—whenever you’re on Wi-Fi, you’re not charged for data usage. – Google
Contract, Termination Fees and Overages
There is no annual contract with Google Fi and no termination fees either. You can walk away from Google Fi anytime you feel that it no longer suits your requirements.
If you are not sure about cancelling, you can pause Google Fi services up to 3 Months, after which it gets automatically re-enabled.
Another feature which differentiates Google Fi from traditional service providers is Bill Protection Plan, which makes Google Fi service unlimited, without actually paying for unlimited data plan.
With Bill Protection plan, Google Fi service remains active on your phone, irrespective of the amount of data used.
Under Bill Protection, an individual plan owner can expect to continue using Google Fi service up to 15 GB excess data usage and yet pay only $60 (6 GB) for data.
After 15 GB point, Google Fi service becomes slower on your phone, but allows you to opt out of slower speeds by paying $10/GB for any excess data used above 15GB in a billing cycle.
Bill Protection Plan applies to international data usage and Google Fi charges the same rates for both National and International Data in 200 countries and destinations.
What about Data security
According to Google, user data is protected through encryption whenever they are connected to a WiFi Network.
The encryption takes place automatically and seamlessly, without any need to type passwords or login to VPN.
Google Fi Eligibility Requirements
You can check Google Fi coverage area on this map.
Google Fi International Coverage
Google Fi allows roaming data usage in over 200 countries and destinations at the same rate of $10/GB. You can see the list of countries here.