Google Fi – A Unique Phone Plan With Simplified Pricing

Google Fi Wireless
Google Fi Wireless

Google Fi may sound like some strange sort of initiation ceremony (“What the heck happened to Rick? He was Googlefied, I heard!”) — but if you can get past the silly name, the Google-owned wireless service can save you money while also improving your smartphone security.

There is no doubt about it: Google Fi, formerly known as Project Fi until 2018, is an unusual offering. And it will not make sense for everyone.

However, if you use your smartphone in a specific way, you can avoid many of the drawbacks that come with a traditional wireless plan.

Continue reading to learn why Google Fi is the best option. So, how does Fi work, and is it suitable for you?

Let’s take it one question at a time and figure it out together.

What is Google Fi, and how does it function?

Google Fi, formerly Project Fi, is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) telecommunications service offered by Google that offers phone calls, SMS, and mobile broadband via cellular networks and Wi-Fi. T-Mobile and US Cellular networks are used by Google Fi.

Google Fi, at its most basic, is a cell phone carrier run by Google. It provides data service on two mobile networks in the United States (T-Mobile and US Cellular), which a compatible phone will intelligently switch between.

It also makes calls and sends texts over Wi-Fi when it is available.

What is the Google Fi app?

Google Fi is a unique phone plan with simplified pricing and smarter coverage.

Pay for only what you use or go unlimited.

Without activation fees or contracts, you can set up Fi from the comfort of your own home.

All plans include excellent coverage, privacy and security features, and family benefits.

Google Fi plans

It offers two unlimited plans as well as a flexible plan.

The Flexible plan includes unlimited talk and text for $20 per month for one line.

Following that, you are only charged for the data you use at a rate of $10 per 1GB.

After using 6GB of data in a month, your data charge is capped at $60 for the remainder of the month, but you continue to receive data service.

If you have multiple lines on your plan, the cost per line on the unlimited plan decreases with each additional line (up to four) or up to five on the flexible plan. So, for example, you could have six lines total, but your cost per line would be the same as if you only had four. You can also add a free data-only SIM card to share your data with another device without having to create a hotspot.

LinesUnlimited PlusSimply UnlimitedFlexible
1 line$65 per line ($65)$50 per line ($50)$20 per line (Minimum bill $10)
$10 per GB, Protection at 6GB (Maximum bill $80)
2 lines$55 per line ($110)$40 per line ($80)$18 per line (Minimum bill $35)
$10 per GB, Protection at 10GB (Maximum bill $135)
3 lines$45 per line ($135)$25 per line ($75)$17 per line (Minimum bill $50)
$10 per GB, Protection at 12GB (Maximum bill $170)
4 lines$40 per line ($160)$20 per line ($80)$17 per line (Minimum bill $65)
$10 per GB, Protection at 14GB (Maximum bill $205)
5 lines$45 per line ($200)$20 per line ($100)$16 per line (Minimum bill $80)
$10 per GB, Protection at 16GB (Maximum bill $240)
6 lines$45 per line ($240)$20 per line ($120)$16 per line (Minimum bill $95)
$10 per GB, Protection at 18GB (Maximum bill $275)
What networks does Google Fi Use?

Fi uses a combination of T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular in the United States (so eventually just T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular, since Sprint and T-Mobile are in the process of becoming one and the same).

That is one of its distinguishing features: when you use Google Fi with a phone designed for the service, it can seamlessly switch you between those networks based on which one has the best service at any given time.

Does Google Fi Support International Usage?

Google Fi Flexible and Unlimited Plus work in over 200 countries with no extra charges for data or texting, which is one of its key differentiators from other carriers.

When using cellular networks abroad, you can call any number for a flat rate of $0.20/min, or you can call for much lower rates when using Wi-Fi.

You can also make free Wi-Fi calls to the United States.

International data is charged in the same way as domestic data, depending on your plan.

The only catch is that speeds vary depending on where you are in the world, which is to be expected.

We’ve found full LTE speeds in a variety of European and Asian countries, with the occasional hiccup as the phone switches between roaming partners.

What are the Best Phones for Google Fi?

You will be able to access the entire Google Fi network if you have a phone that is designed for Fi.

When you activate service on your phone using the Google Fi app, your phone will be able to automatically switch between T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular towers for the best coverage.

It will appear as if you are connected to a single large network.

The Google Pixel series and a few Samsung Galaxy phones, including the S22 series, are the majority of Design for Fi phones.

If your phone isn’t on the Designed for Fi list, you’ll be limited to T-network, Mobile’s which will still work for many people.

5G is supported on both Designed for Fi and Compatible with Fi phones, so if your phone supports T-5G Mobile’s bands, you’ll have access to T-massive Mobile’s 5G coverage.

In a single SIM, you get the power of two mobile networks, as well as Wi-Fi and a VPN.

Google Fi, in addition to the three traditional mobile networks, relies heavily on Wi-Fi whenever possible, whether you’re near a known network or not.

As you move around, your phone will constantly search for and connect to open Wi-Fi networks, using a database of known good networks that can provide a solid connection.

When your phone connects to Wi-Fi, the connection is routed through a VPN for your security — and you won’t notice any difference in the phone experience other than the fact that you’re no longer paying for mobile data.

Calls and texts work on Wi-Fi just like they do on mobile data, and you can keep talking even if your phone switches networks.

When you use Google Fi, you get some of the same features that have helped Google Voice become so popular over the years.

You can forward phone calls to your Fi number to any phone you want, as well as view voicemail, make calls, and send texts from that number using Google Messages from any device.

Which phones are Designed for Fi?

Although Google-approved phones provide the best experience, Fi also works well with an unlocked phone.

Google Fi provides a truly first-class experience on Google’s Pixel series of phones. These phones include an eSIM that is pre-programmed for Fi, allowing you to set up an account and connect to the network without inserting a SIM card.

There are also other phones “designed for Fi” that provide the same experience, such as the Moto G Power and the Samsung Galaxy S22 series.

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G is built for Fi, whereas the Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G is only compatible.

If phones become popular enough, they should be able to receive support in the future.

Designed for Fi phones have full network switching capabilities, which means they can move between Fi’s network partners T-Mobile and UScellular, as well as seamlessly transition between Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile networks via a Google VPN service.

Many of the best Android phones will be compatible with Google Fi’s entire network.

Which phones are compatible with Fi?

Google Fi is now compatible with any unlocked phone — with some restrictions.

Unlocked phones cannot take advantage of Fi’s network switching, so you’ll primarily use the T-Mobile network, and you won’t have access to Fi’s always-on VPN. However, you get the same great international roaming, as well as all of the other features, such as the great Fi app and simple billing.

Yes, that unlocked support also includes iPhones, which is a huge step for Fi. Google Fi even supports iMessage using your Fi number.

Keep in mind that T-Mobile has been incorporating Sprint’s towers into its network, so even phones that weren’t designed for Fi receive the majority of Google Fi’s coverage.

US Cellular has excellent coverage in some areas, but most of us will be fine with T-coverage Mobile’s alone.

Android phones with 5G support will also have access to Google Fi’s 5G network. Though iPhones, including the latest iPhone 13 series, will not have 5G access on Google Fi. At least not at the time of writing.

Does Google Fi support 5G?

Google Fi now supports 5G on its Designed for Fi phones as well as Fi phones that are compatible with T-5G Mobile’s network.

This means that your phone must support bands n71 and n41 in order to provide the best possible 5G connection on T-network. Mobile’s

The Pixel 4a 5G, Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, and Pixel 6, as well as several unlocked Samsung models, are all designed for Fi 5G. Furthermore, Samsung’s Galaxy S21 and S22 series, Note 20 series, and A71 5G phones will be compatible with Google Fi’s entire network.

Related Articles: How to Use Google Find My Device To Find Your Stolen/Lost Smartphone

This includes access to its entire LTE portfolio across all three networks.

Many of the best 5G smartphones aren’t on Google’s Designed for Fi list.

If your phone supports T-5G Mobile’s network but is only listed as Compatible with Fi, you can still use it.

How to Finance a phone with Google Fi

You can buy a new phone and pay for it in monthly instalments if you qualify (up to Google, based on a credit check).

There is no down payment or interest required; the cost of the phone of your choice is simply spread out over 24 months.

You can pay off the balance at any time, but if you decide to leave Google Fi, you must pay the full cost of the phone right away.

You have 30 days from the date you purchase your phone to activate Google Fi service. If you do not activate your Google Fi service within 30 days, Google will charge you the full price of the phone.

What if I need Google Fi support?

What happens if my Google Fi phone stops working?

Talking to tech support is one of our least favourite activities, and being in a store that is only interested in selling you an upgrade or accessories doesn’t make it any more enjoyable.

If you need assistance with Google Fi, the app is your best bet.

And it’s possible that this is the best carrier app you’ve ever used.

You can get 24/7 phone, chat, or email support by downloading the Google Fi app for Android or iOS.

If your phone isn’t working properly or you simply want to chat on a device with a proper keyboard, you can visit Google Fi’s support page and find the same options.

I simply want to see my Google Fi usage and billing. The same app and support sites work great for displaying your real-time usage and how much it will cost you.

The Android widget keeps you constantly updated on how much data you are using.

You must open the app on iOS to see this information, but a data warning can be set to send a notification when your data usage reaches a certain threshold. Your bill should never be a surprise with these tools.

How do I Cancel Google Fi service?

Simply put. All you need to do is visit the Google Fi website or launch the Fi app:

1. Select or click the Account tab.

2. Under Your Plan, click or tap on Manage Plan.

3. Choose Cancel service.

4. Comply with the instructions.

If you’re switching carriers and want to keep your phone number, you should first set up your new plan in order to successfully port your number over.

Can I use my Google Fi phone with another carrier?

Yes, Google clearly states that your phone is not locked to Google Fi service if it works with that specific carrier (chances are it will).

Switching to Google Fi

If you’re okay with the hassle of switching carriers and porting your phone number, there aren’t many other obstacles to overcome now that Google Fi is open to almost any unlocked phone.

You can sign up for Google Fi in minutes online, and you can either buy a phone at the same time (and take advantage of some nice discounts and incentives), or Google will send you a SIM card to use in your existing phone. (Alternatively, if you already own a Pixel, you can use the eSIM to get up and running in minutes.)

T-Mobile bought Sprint. Does that affect Google Fi?

T-Mobile completed its acquisition of Sprint on April 1, 2020, bringing the two networks under T-ownership. Mobile’s

T-Mobile has merged the two networks and is transferring Sprint customers to the T-Mobile network.

As a result, Google Fi customers are unlikely to notice a significant change in service quality, though some rural customers may notice some changes, hopefully positive.

Nonetheless, future compatibility with T-infrastructure Mobile’s appears likely, as even unlocked phones that support T-5G Mobile’s will be able to use 5G with Google Fi.

T-Mobile has stated that it will continue to support MVNOs in the foreseeable future.

T-Mobile is also in the process of decommissioning Sprint’s and its own 3G networks to make room for 5G. This shutdown will occur in mid-2022, but most users will notice no difference in coverage. The vast majority of phones sold in recent years have LTE support and will continue to work with Google Fi.

Google Fi: Should you buy?

Google Fi has a lot of cool features that make it a good choice, such as dramatically simplified billing, Bill Protection to cap your charges every month, seamless international data and calling, and improved network coverage by utilising three carriers and Wi-Fi networks.

Of course, each will have a different level of appeal for different people, but that’s a pretty enticing package.

Google Fi’s pricing isn’t significantly lower than that of other carriers, and whether it’s a good financial choice for you depends on your data usage and which features you want.

As a result, we recommend that you conduct pricing research before deciding on the best carrier.

How does this Network switching mumbo-jumbo even work?!

Automatically and silently; you’ll never think about it or be aware that it’s happening on a daily basis.

Your phone only shows that you’re connected to Google Fi, but the device is constantly looking for the best network for your location and bouncing you around as needed.

Will I get good coverage, then? How will it compare to what I have now?

That’s a good question, but there’s no simple or universal answer because it ultimately depends on where you are and how Fi’s networks perform in your area.

So, where do you start in figuring that out?

You can begin by looking at Google’s official Fi coverage map.

It allows you to enter specific addresses and see what kind of combined coverage is available in any given city or neighbourhood.

(Don’t forget to check any places where you travel outside of your home, especially if you visit certain regions frequently for work.)

To get even more specific, download the free OpenSignal app for your phone.

Based on user-submitted data, the app can display detailed coverage maps for any set of networks in any area, as well as rank overall connectivity strength for different networks where you are (or where you might be).

You could also simply ask around — or reflect on your own past experiences. Consider the following: If you know you can get good service from, say, T-Mobile in your area, Google Fi should be fine; the addition of the Sprint and US Cellular networks as options will only add to that coverage and fill any gaps. You’re good to go as long as at least one of Fi’s networks is available wherever you are.

Google Fi Extras: Voicemail, Hotspots, and More

Google Fi comes with a few extras in addition to the phone plan.

Some of these have already been mentioned briefly, but there is still more to cover.

In the Phone app, FI supports visual voicemail, allowing you to read transcripts and listen to messages without dialling a number.

Unless you have the Simply Unlimited plan, Google Fi also allows you to use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot for tethering at no extra charge.

On the Flexible plan, you pay for the data you use while tethered, but it’s included on the Unlimited Plus plan. As an added bonus, if you refer a friend to Google Fi, you’ll both receive a $20 bill credit.

If you decide you don’t need service for a while, you can pause it for up to three months and then resume it. And Fi now encrypts calls made between Fi users on Android, giving you more privacy while on the phone. Fi also provides effective family controls.

The account manager can see how much data each user has used and, if necessary, set allotments. You can also enable Fi’s family security features, such as text message blocking from strangers. Google’s VPN is included in all Fi plans to protect your browsing on unknown networks.

FAQs

Is Google Fi a free app?

Google Fi is available in over 200 countries and has no data or texting fees.

How does Google fi SIM card kit work?

When you activate service, you insert the SIM card into your phone, and it tells the SIM card your phone number and other information it requires for your phone to function.

Google Fi will also credit your account with $10, so you will recoup the majority of the cost of the SIM card.

Does Google fi SIM card expire?

The cards are no longer valid.

Is Google Fi international available?

All plans include data, calls, and texts to and from the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Plus, Flexible, and Unlimited Plus plans include international data in 200+ destinations, and 5G coverage is available in select countries and territories for Pixel phones.

Is Google Fi eSIM available internationally?

All plans include data, calls, and texts to and from the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Plus, Flexible, and Unlimited Plus plans include international data in 200+ destinations, and 5G coverage is available in select countries and territories for Pixel phones.

How accurate is Google Fi’s coverage map?

Google Fi is available on the T-Mobile and US Cellular networks.

Google Fi with T-Mobile gives you access to the third-best 4G LTE network and the best 5G network.

How fast is Google Fi Internet?

Performance

2G4G
Typical Download Speed40-200 Kbps9-47 Mbps
Typical Upload Speed20-80 Kbps4-20 Mbps
Typical Latency400-900 ms30-50 ms

Is Google Fi available in Canada?

Wi-Fi calling is inexpensive in over 200 locations.

Wi-Fi calls to the United States, Canada, and Mexico are free.

Google Fi vs T-Mobile?

For most people, a T-Mobile plan is the better overall value option, with plenty of coverage and significant savings if you sign up for more than one line.

While its full network isn’t as large as Google Fi’s, it’s not far behind, and its top two core plans will still allow you to use data abroad—albeit at slower speeds.

How do I find my Google Fi account number?

The ‘Cancel’ option is one way to find the Google Fi Account number.

The Google Fi App’s ‘Cancel service’ option displays the Fi account number and Pin at the end of the cancel session.

You can also find it in the Account tab of the Google Fi app or on the Google Fi website.

Conclusion

Google Fi is a simple, inexpensive, and dependable phone plan that is often worth the price.

If you’re interested in the supported phones and believe you’re paying too much for cell service, consider Google Fi. It’s especially useful if you frequently use Wi-Fi and don’t consume a lot of data. It’s not for everyone, but it’s inexpensive, has great features, and allows you to avoid the fees and pains of traditional carriers.

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