Google has renamed its Project Fi wireless network as Google Fi, and made it available for a wide range of Android devices as well as for some iPhones in the US.
Launched in 2015, Project Fi set out to make wireless experiences fast, easy and fair for users and brought additional features at no extra cost. These include international data coverage in 170 countries and territories, spam protection and data-only SIMs for users’ second devices.
It also introduced a feature called Bill Protection — which gives users the flexibility to use unlimited data when they need it, but to only pay for what they use.
Fi was earlier limited to newer Pixel handsets made by Google and a few Android-powered smartphones made by the likes of Motorola (back when it was owned by Google) because devices need to be able to hop between carriers whose infrastructures are used to provide service on the “virtual” network.
Well, that has now finally changed. Google Fi is now available for select models from Huawei, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Essential, Nokia, OnePlus, Xiaomi, HTC, Google and Apple.
“No matter what phone you use with Fi, you’ll get great Fi features – like reliable coverage, easy group plans and high-speed international data coverage for the same rates you pay at home,” Simon Arscott, Director, Project Fi at Google, wrote in a blog post.
As far as current plans go, they offer unlimited domestic calls and texts plus texting internationally, for $20 monthly. Data costs $10 per GB with a maximum data charge of $60 for an individual user, according to the Fi website. The best part here is that users get money back for whatever data they don’t use, and data usage over 6 GB is free, though Google will throttle speeds after users hit 15 GB. Of course, these plans are nothing compared to the dirt-cheap data plans we have available to us in India.
The biggest addition here is definitely the direct support for iPhones running iOS 11 and above. As pointed out in a report by The Verge, this isn’t the first time that Fi has worked with Apple devices. Project Fi SIM cards worked in iPhones, as long as one adjusted the data settings on the phone. But now Google is supporting iPhones directly for new customers, though it says that the support is in beta and requires “a few extra steps to get set up.” Google also mentioned that there is also going to be a new Google Fi iOS app which will lay things out to help customers.