10 Things to Know About Google's Project Fi Mobile Service

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-04-27
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    1 - 10 Things to Know About Google's Project Fi Mobile Service
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    10 Things to Know About Google's Project Fi Mobile Service

    by Don Reisinger
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    2 - This Is a WiFi-First Model
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    This Is a WiFi-First Model

    The important thing to remember about Google's Project Fi is that it's a WiFi-first model. What that means is Google's service will actively try to find a WiFi network first and provide its calling and data services over that connection. If no WiFi connection is found, the service will then default to an available LTE signal.
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    3 - Google Has Promised Over a Million Free WiFi Hotspots
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    Google Has Promised Over a Million Free WiFi Hotspots

    According to Google, Project Fi will work on over a million free WiFi hotspots across the U.S. The company has also released a map showing where its WiFi hotspots are, so users can see where they'll get coverage. Google says those hotspots, combined with LTE coverage, should be enough for users to have device access just about anywhere they go.
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    4 - Sprint and T-Mobile Are the Carrier Partners
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    Sprint and T-Mobile Are the Carrier Partners

    So, how did Google get LTE support without actually having an LTE network? Easy: It partnered with Sprint and T-Mobile. The partnership with Sprint and T-Mobile means that Google will be able to support both GSM and CDMA networks, and as time goes on and more devices are supported, that could be an important component in all of this. In addition T-Mobile and Sprint are building out their networks, which will help extend Project Fi's reach as time goes on.
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    5 - Google Is Promising No Difference in Device Usage
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    Google Is Promising No Difference in Device Usage

    Google has said that users who sign up for its service will see no difference in the way they use devices. In fact, Google says that the transition between LTE and WiFi will be seamless and users in many cases won't even see a difference between the two. Furthermore, users will have full wireless capabilities, including voice, text and data.
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    6 - Remember the Cloud-Based Phone Number
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    Remember the Cloud-Based Phone Number

    One of the more interesting features Google has created for Project Fi is a cloud-based number platform. This feature will enable users to use the same number with their tablets and other computers to send text messages and make phone calls from those devices. Mobile has changed, and Google's support for a cloud number proves that.
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    7 - The Biggest Limitation Is Device Compatibility
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    The Biggest Limitation Is Device Compatibility

    So, what's the biggest limitation associated with Project Fi? Unfortunately, it's device compatibility. For now, only Google's Nexus 6 supports Project Fi. Google has promised that more devices will support Project Fi as time goes on, but for now, Project Fi is more like a beta-evaluation service and requires some fine-tuning before other devices will run on it.
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    8 - Google Is Promising 24/7 Support
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    Google Is Promising 24/7 Support

    Since customers who sign up with Project Fi will be Google customers, it's nice to hear that the company will be providing 24/7 support. Customers who have an issue or question will be able to contact Google any time of any day and get an answer, Google says. While carriers have the same 24/7 customer support, there was some concerns that Google might not want to invest in such a thing.
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    9 - Look at the Coverage Map First
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    Look at the Coverage Map First

    Before deciding on Project Fi, be sure to check out the service's Coverage Map. The map allows users to input their ZIP code or city and see what kind of coverage they can expect around their area. Google shows whether WiFi hotspots are near or if there's support for 4G LTE on Sprint and T-Mobile networks. If there is, and users have a Nexus 6, it might be worth checking out.
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    10 - The Pricing Plan Is Compelling
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    The Pricing Plan Is Compelling

    The pricing plan for Project Fi is arguably one of the most compelling features. For $20 per month, users fill get talk, texting, WiFi tethering and international coverage. Customers will then pay $10 per month for every 1GB of data access. Best of all, Google will provide credit to customers who are paying for a certain amount of data but don't use it all in a month. So, if a user pays for, say, 3GB at $30 and only uses 1.4GB in a single month, Google will provide a $16 cash credit.
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    11 - Yes, There Is International Support
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    Yes, There Is International Support

    Google was quick to point out that there is full international support for Nexus 6 across more than 120 countries. The company says that it will apply the same data usage cost of $10 per GB per month when users are traveling abroad. However, Google will assess per-minute charges when placing calls over WiFi and cellular.
 

Google has caused a stir in the wireless market with a new service it's calling Project Fi. The offering allows users to connect to a WiFi network to make calls and access data. But if there is no wireless network within range, it will automatically default to a Sprint or T-Mobile LTE connection. The Project Fi service has been designed to "intelligently" choose the best connection, depending on what service is available in a given area. With Project Fi, Google has unveiled a new way for people to use their mobile phones. If they so choose, Project Fi users can forgo their reliance on service providers such Verizon and AT&T and go with an alternative carrier model that on paper at least seems to make a lot of sense. But before you decide to cut all ties with your current mobile service provider in favor of Project Fi, be aware that there are some limitations and the platform isn't as robust as Google might like you to believe. It appears to be a good first step, but Google has to do a lot more work before Project Fi proves itself as a viable alternative to the established wireless services. Take a look at the details in this slide show.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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