Google Fi: $30 a Month for Global Phone Service (With One Big Caveat)

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Have you heard of Google Fi yet?

G

Google is starting cell service

It’s Google’s way of getting into the phone service market. This is a good thing. A very good thing.

What’s Google Fi?

Google Fi has prices on cell plans that are ultra-low. Service starts at $20 a month (plus tax). You get:

  • Unlimited domestic talk and text
  • Unlimited international texts
  • Low-cost international calls (20 cents a minute in most cases)
  • Wi-Fi tethering
  • Coverage in 120+ countries

Then it’s $10 per 1GB for data. And no annual contract required.

And, you can use the data allotment in other countries – it’s included in the rate.

It works on a “network of networks.” Meaning that Google pulls from the closest service provider and lets you use their line, no matter where you are.

It’ll put your calls through wifi until you walk away, then it’ll switch you to a network.

Calls and texts are unlimited domestically.

And data is an extra $10 per 1GB. If you don’t use all your data in a month, it rolls over.

Where does it work?

Most places

Most places

Pretty much any country with a major airport and paved roads. All of Europe, most of Asia, and Australia are included.

Most of the US is already covered:

asda

Don’t get lost in the woods of Oregon

Parts of Alaska and most of Hawaii is included, too. 😉

If there’s a country you visit or call often, check the rates to see what Google Fi charges.

Why this is awesome

Quite simply: competition.

If you get the basic plan, it’s $30 a month. And for most people, it’s enough. You can always add more data if you need it (I’d probably go for 2GB per month for $40 total).

You can use your current phone number, or even your Google Voice phone number.

It’s also awesome to get out in another country and reply to emails, load up a map, or mess around on Instagram without having to rely on a wifi connection.

Also, the connectivity factor. If you’re a frequent international traveler, this is an awesome plan.

I’m thinking about signing up.

OK, so the caveat…

It only works on Nexus 6 phones right now.

Your new phone?

Your new phone?

I dunno, something about how the hardware supports multiple networks…

So that means no more precious iPhone.

But that might be a good thing. I’ve gotten way too dependent on my iPhone (and Apple products in general) the past few years. Change is good, right?

Me, without an iPhone. Don't be judgey.

Me, without an iPhone. Don’t be judgey.

But for now, I think I’m going to wait until more phones are supported.

If I could just get over this mental block I have about the phone. I know it’s ridiculous. Especially considering I’m paying $100+ per month ($1,200+ a year) and can reduce it to $40 a month ($480 a year) for cell service AND take it overseas to use the data. That’s a third of the price.

If you do it, buy from Amazon (or somewhere else)

I posted the pic above from Amazon as a PSA. Google wants to sell you the Nexus 6 for $500.

Nope nope nope

Nope nope nope

But don’t do it.

Because you can get literally the exact same phone on Amazon for $350.

Just in case you decide to take the plunge.

Bottom line

Part of me wants to say eff the iPhone and AT&T and jump headlong into Google Fi, Google’s new phone service.

Another part of me wants to see other devices added, because I’m addicted to my iPhone (it pains me to type that).

For travelers, this service is amazing. And for everyone else because they’re undercutting the competition domestically by offering unlimited calls and text, and 1GB of data for $30 a month.

Please share your thoughts, experiences, and ideas about this new service. Will you sign up? Are other/better options already out there?

Are you tempted, but overly attached to your Apple device, too?

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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Comments

  1. Well, they aren’t really undercutting the competition domestically. There are plenty of prepaid providers in the same price range – and many of them work on AT&T or Verizon networks – with much wider coverage than this. This is why I can’t get on the T-Mobile train – the original purpose of having a cell phone was to be able to make a call in an emergency – the type of situation that exists on a back country road where a small coverage map doesn’t help.

    That said, the angle here is for the international use. If you actually get full speed data everywhere, that’s what makes it intriguing – even just to pick up the service for a month or two while traveling abroad. Interesting stuff. Thanks for the post.

  2. You can find it on eBay for $300 new and it will only get cheaper. I actually use it just as a hotspot for my iPhone when I am traveling and it works very well for that. It is handy to have it for phone calls but otherwise leave it in my bag.

    • Left my comment before I saw yours. I did/do the exact same thing. Just having as a hotspot pays for itself. On vacation I usually have a small hiker’s backpack with water and such while sightseeing, so it stays in there along with the battery pack Google sent me for being an early adopter and I just use my iPhone for maps, Facebook, pictures, email, etc. When I do get an occasional call, I’ll answer, but if I’m on vacation, I’ve detached from work anyway. If it’s a work trip, the company pays for that time. So it’s really a win-win.

  3. Everything is in my opinion. The phone is amazing. The best phone I’ve ever had and I’ve had a lot of phones. I usually want the latest phone that come out yearly, but with this, I don’t feel a need to, yet. I’ve had mine since it came out, which I paid full price and still think it’s worth the price because the phone is that good.. It also helps I’m anti-apple. It’s more of a phone for someone that is into tech and wants to mess around with it (aka Root). It’s not for someone that wants something basic for making calls, texting and social media. $300 is an awesome deal especially with what you’re getting. I’m on the T-Mobile plan which is just a tad cheaper than Fi or else I’d switch over too. My coworker has Fi and he lives in Queens/works in the city and Fi has been great for him so far. My other coworker recently ditched his iPhone for Fi also. It’s never going to get to the same level as the iPhone, so if you don’t like it now, you probably won’t in the future.

  4. I got this phone specifically for the fact that I have 12 international trips, both work and pleasure, in the latter half of 2015 and into the first half of 2016. It has been an absolute dream. I’m an AT&T iPhone guy, so this would have been a big departure for me if I move whole-hog. But I didn’t. I still have my AT&T plan and keep the Project Fi phone (that I bought on eBay for about $320 – far less than the king’s ransom Google wanted) just for international travel. It’s been a godsend. The savings in data roaming paid for the phone on like the first 2 trips. I essentially use it as a wifi hotspot and for the occasional call while in another country. And because you can adjust your plan each month, and Google only charges you for the data you use, you don’t have to worry about buying a silly expensive plan.

    I’ve recommended this to any of my friends and family that travel a lot for work or pleasure. Even better was while on a cruise through the Mediterranean last month I was able to have data in all four countries we stopped. It was perfect. And in hotspot mode, friends and family traveling with me were able to use their own iPhones or Android devices in wifi mode to do everything they really needed to aside from phone calls. Even then, if you have a VOIP app, you can still call or Skype.

  5. Eager to see the new phones, but I have signed up anyway. Looking to step into a new personal phone anyway, and I am a true multi-OS person…Android phones and tablet, iPads, Windows desktop and phones….they all blend together at some point.

  6. Good post Harlan.
    Like you, I’m pretty devoted to my iPhone but intrigued by the tethering option. You are now required to keep us up-to-date on news and improvements on this topic …..

  7. The travel aspect is clearly compelling, but domestically I use Cricket (AT&T network) and it’s been great. One of the many prepaid options, as another poster pointed out. I’ve had it a year and it’s been cheap and reliable (and works w iPhone). You could do something like that while you wait.

  8. Doesn’t seem like it’s significantly better than T-Mobile’s deal (which offers unlimited overseas data). T-Mobile starts looking much better with a family plan where the additional lines are heavily discounted.

    My experience switching from Verizon to T-Mobile is that quality improved in my home. Around New York City it’s at least as good. In the Philadelphia I have some problems. I was recently in Santa Fe, New Mexico and reception was as good as the last time I was there with a Verizon phone.

    As a little-known kicker, T-Mobile will “loan” you, for free, a wireless router for your home that supports wifi routing of cell calls to further improve your reception at home.

  9. The only advantage that i can potentially see benefit some people will be…. That i can use my internet abroad without a hassle… But tmobile offers that now too, rigth?

    Unfortunately im not lucky enough to even afford going in n out the country everrr…. But then u think .. Well the people i know… They have either another phone for abroad and/or an unlocked phone so SIM card swap can be done at a foreign country cuz its usually cheaper.

    Now.. If u are a google voice user u know that u can use the hangouts to make and receive calls pretty much anywhere as long as ur Wifi/cell network is good enough. U can do that on a cell/tablet/computer and they also sell 3rd party home adapters… so u can be in the Philippines and have a US Phone number n make back n foward calls…. Free.

    Iknow this migth be too much info but ive read so many tips on here that ifeel i need to share it to the ones interested… So….. well there is preloaded prepaid SIM cards that u can buy locally or online for under or around 10dlls … They usually give u the first month FREE! With the usual plans… Unlimited call/text and 2GB 4G data… All that for yup $10dlls… So u will think. Mmhm but thats just the first month… Rigth? .. YES. Sadly.. But it doesnt limit u to keep the same SIM card.. So u can buy one every single month…. But hey. That has me spending $100 or so a year compared to the same service n perks for $500.. See the savings..? Obviously u need and unlocked phone… Cuz sometimes u have to use different companies upon availability at the time of ur purchases

    The catch here… Is. No phone # portability. So every single month is a new phone number. How do u fix that? Google voice. U can grab a ph# from them and just change ur forwarding # every month so u dont ever miss a call….the people that calls u would never know that u have a new # trhu cell company..(as android phones ask you if u want to make a call trhu gvoice or cell network #) makes sense?

    Ive had a gvoice # for like 6-7yrs now… N i hope they never take it away… Because its the best thing google (ring central) has done besides android…. Ive forwarded it to maybe 80ish numbers every month… And when ive had no need or was broke to pay for cell service ..i could still take phone calls while on wifi or computer.

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