Originally branded as Project Fi, Google Fi was launched in 2015 as an affordable prepaid plan using new network-switching technology. What made Google Fi unique is that it used Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular’s networks simultaneously to provide coverage. The first compatible phones with Google Fi, including the Nexus 5X and 6P, could automatically switch to the network providing the best coverage in a certain area.
The only other carrier to do something similar to Google Fi is Republic Wireless, which first launched in 2011 and similarly uses both the Sprint and T-Mobile networks simultaneously to provide coverage.
Google’s Fi’s amazing network-switching technology allowed them to provide superior coverage than just T-Mobile, Sprint, or US Cellular individually, but unfortunately it limited their selection of compatible smartphones. The first phones available on Google Fi were limited to the Nexus line of phones, the Pixel line of phones, and certain Motorola phones. In November, 2018 Google Fi announced it would support iPhones and a majority of Android devices. However, without the network switching technology built in, iPhones and some Android devices would be limited to the T-Mobile network.
If you’re looking for a device to work with Google Fi, you can find great deals on unlocked smartphones on a site like Swappa (with whom we have an affiliate partnership). We feel Swappa can help you save money on your new smartphone, and if you choose to purchase a phone through our link it helps support the development of our website.
The other HUGE advantage to Google Fi is their incredible international data roaming support. Google Fi supports international data roaming in over 170 countries at no extra charge. Your plan works as normal. This makes Fi ideal for frequent international travelers.
Google Fi’s rates are affordable too. The way the plan works is you pay $20 per month for unlimited talk and text, and then $10 per GB of data you use. If you don’t use a full GB, Fi will credit you back for unused data.
Given the pending Sprint and T-Mobile merger, Google Fi’s advantage of being able to switch networks depending on which provides better coverage in a certain area will become less of a differentiator. Instead, Google Fi remains best for lighter data users and frequent international travelers.
Google Fi offers family discounts and a referral program with their plans. Their unlimited plan, which is actually a 22GB plan, drops to just $45 per person with six people. Their flexible plan sees savings too, dropping to $16 per person for unlimited talk and text with six people, and of course still charging $10 per GB (with data becoming free after 18GB, or essentially limiting your maximum bill to $275). Google Fi’s referral program lets you earn $20 per each person you refer, and they’ll receive $20 of bill credit too.
Google Fi uses the Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular networks simultaneously to provide coverage. Compatible devices will automatically switch between these networks depending on which one provides the best signal strength and performance in a certain area. Non-compatible phones will default to the T-Mobile network. The LTE bands used by each network are as follows:
Google Fi supports international calling support to a HUGE selection of countries. Over 50 countries are included for free, and for those that aren’t included international calling is available at a consistent rate of just $0.20 per minute. Learn more about international calling on Google Fi’s help page.
Google Fi offers amazing international data roaming support, letting you stay connected in over 200 countries at the same $10 per GB rate. You can see Google Fi’s supported international countries on their website.
Google Fi adds standard taxes and fees with their plan, including the following:
Google Fi offers customer service through their mobile application. You can also check their dedicated Google Fi Help forum for answers to common questions and problems.
Google Fi offers a high-speed data add-on for those individuals who need extra high-speed data per month.
Get additional high-speed data for your plan at a rate of $10 per GB. Google Fi’s unlimited plan includes 22GB of high speed data, while Fi’s Flexible plan includes up to 15GB of high-speed data.