2This 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.
3Google 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.
4Sprint 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.
5Google 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.
6Remember 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.
7The 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.
8Google 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.
9Look 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.
10The 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.
11Yes, 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.