Google Officially Launches Project Fi Wireless Carrier Service

dgstorm

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It turns out those WSJ rumors reported yesterday were true. Google officially unveiled their Project Fi wireless carrier service today. Here's a quick and dirty summary of the service:

The Project Fi service will cost $20 a month for basic talk and text. On top of that it will cost $10 per gigabyte of data used. The best part is that subscribers will also get credit for the full value of their unused data. Google sums it up like this, "Let's say you go with 3GB for $30 and only use 1.4GB one month. You'll get $16 back, so you only pay for what you use."

*There's one hugely important detail. This new service requires you to use the Google Nexus 6 smartphone. There's no word on if/when that will change, so that is obviously a big limitation at this time.

Here are more of the details quoted directly from Google,
Helping you get the highest-quality connection
Project Fi aims to put you on the best network wherever you go. As you move around, the best network for you might be a Wi-Fi hotspot or a specific 4G LTE network. We developed new technology that gives you better coverage by intelligently connecting you to the fastest available network at your location whether it's Wi-Fi or one of our two partner LTE networks. As you go about your day, Project Fi automatically connects you to more than a million free, open Wi-Fi hotspots we've verified as fast and reliable. Once you're connected, we help secure your data through encryption. When you're not on Wi-Fi, we move you between whichever of our partner networks is delivering the fastest speed, so you get 4G LTE in more places. Learn more about our network of networks.

Enabling easy communication across networks and devices
Project Fi works to get technology out of the way so you can communicate through whichever network type and device you're using. Wherever you're connected to Wi-Fi—whether that's at home, your favorite coffee shop or your Batcave—you can talk and text like you normally do. If you leave an area of Wi-Fi coverage, your call will seamlessly transition from Wi-Fi to cell networks so your conversation doesn’t skip a beat. We also want to help phone numbers adapt to a multi-screen world. With Project Fi, your phone number lives in the cloud, so you can talk and text with your number on just about any phone, tablet or laptop. So the next time you misplace your phone, you can stay connected using another screen. Check out how it works.

Making the service experience as simple as possible
Project Fi takes a fresh approach to how you pay for wireless, manage your service, and get in touch when you need help. We offer one simple plan at one price with 24/7 support. Here's how it works: for $20 a month you get all the basics (talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering, and international coverage in 120+ countries), and then it's a flat $10 per GB for cellular data while in the U.S. and abroad. 1GB is $10/month, 2GB is $20/month, 3GB is $30/month, and so on. Since it's hard to predict your data usage, you'll get credit for the full value of your unused data. Let's say you go with 3GB for $30 and only use 1.4GB one month. You'll get $16 back, so you only pay for what you use. Get all the details about our plan.

Be part of the project from the start
We're beginning Project Fi's Early Access Program to invite people to sign up for the service. Project Fi will be available on the Nexus 6, which we developed with Motorola and is the first smartphone that supports the hardware and software to work with our service. If you live where we have coverage in the U.S., request an invite at fi.google.com to get started.

What do you guys think? Is this something that could put the squeeze on the big two US carriers, Verizon and AT&T, or is it just a start?


Source: Official Google Blog Say hi to Fi A new way to say hello
 
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dgstorm

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Even though we included this link in the OP above, it's worth sharing again. This is the coverage map for Google's new service:
Project Fi
 

Ollie

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Doesn't this require a Nexus 6?
 

Dusty

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Doesn't this require a Nexus 6?
Yes... That's a pretty important thing.

I'll say this.... They have the northeast well covered along with the beaches and boonies that matter to me. So essentially by law I HAVE to test this out. I can't wait to see how this does in the real world. I signed up for an invite pretty early, so I hope I'm in the first wave of rollouts!
 

johnomaz

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Still too much for data. $30 is not worth 3 gigs. Make it $1 a gig and I'll buy in. My wife and I are on TMobiles 2 lines, unlimited voice/text/LTE for $100 and TMobiles uncarrier part that doesn't count streaming music as part of your data is a MASSIVE data saver. Youtube at any kind of decent quality will chew up data too. Its just so facepalm aggravating that they all advertise their super fast network but limit it with caps. No one cares if they have a 2 gig cap.
 
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dgstorm

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Yeah... that is a pretty important point. I didn't realize the Google quote didn't include that so I updated the beginning of the OP with that particular detail.
 

Sydman

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Man, staring at my Nexus 6 this is tempting. Though not sure it offers enough to pull me away from At&t. For my wife's phone and mine we pay $142 after taxes. That is 15GB of data, with rollover, unlimited calling, and tethering.

This would cost us $40 for the two lines, then at least $20 each line for 2GB of data, putting us at $80 before taxes. So we might save around $40 a month, but we would have to use the lesser network, and be possibly limited on data depending on usage.

Plus we would need to get my wife a Nexus 6 as she is still using a 2013 Moto X. I do hope this might help move the industry into a better situation for us users though, props to Google for at least trying.
 

Ollie

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Yeah that is a deal breaker for me. I'm not trying to go with a bigger phone. I'm consider downsizing. Hopefully Google will open it up to any GSM device that supports the frequencies. I can't see them sticking by the Nexus 6 as the only device being able to be used.
 

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Yeah that is a deal breaker for me. I'm not trying to go with a bigger phone. I'm consider downsizing. Hopefully Google will open it up to any GSM device that supports the frequencies. I can't see them sticking by the Nexus 6 as the only device being able to be used.

It will also require the installation of some pretty serious software as well in order to make the WiFi/cellular hybrid work. It's similar to the system that Republic Wireless has been using for a while now, and it requires devices with specialized software to work. This is most likely why they're starting with just the Nexus 6 - they can make sure the software is there and functioning properly. Depending on the permissions needed, it might be more difficult to get the software working on other devices. I'm sure they're working on that though.
 

Ollie

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It will also require the installation of some pretty serious software as well in order to make the WiFi/cellular hybrid work. It's similar to the system that Republic Wireless has been using for a while now, and it requires devices with specialized software to work. This is most likely why they're starting with just the Nexus 6 - they can make sure the software is there and functioning properly. Depending on the permissions needed, it might be more difficult to get the software working on other devices. I'm sure they're working on that though.

How is it any different from my Wifi-calling handoff to cellular towers? I'm not familiar with how Republic works.
 

bsweetness

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How is it any different from my Wifi-calling handoff to cellular towers? I'm not familiar with how Republic works.

Republic Wireless uses a specialized ROM that incorporates the hybrid calling features. I'm not sure of the exact technical details, but I know they've been trying to allow customers to be able to bring their own device, but they haven't been able to do it yet. I believe Project Fi uses a similar sort of setup that incorporates even more custom attributes than Republic Wireless does.
 

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Same, but I didn't rub it in. But since you did the honors, I'll stand by ya and wave at those 2GB folk with their fancy newfangled one model or nothing cell carrier. :)
I kid! I look forward to seeing them grow.

S5 tap'n
 
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