Google's Project fi - a new provider with an interesting twist! (1 Viewer)

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lparsons21

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I saw a post in another forum talking a little about Google's Project fi. So I did some research and was impressed enough to take a flyer on it.

Some highlights of the service:
$20/month for unlimited talk/text
$10/month/Gb for data
Uses T-Mobile, Sprint and wifi depending on where you are at and will auto-switch as needed, even inside a call.
Currently only offered/serviced on Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P phones.

There are reports that you have to have one of those phones to activate the service but that you can move the sim over to pretty much any other phone and it will work just fine. The kicker is that it is not supported and might quit working on that non-supported phone.

Here's the twist...
Say you have set up for a 1Gb data bucket, but in the month you only use 500Mb. The next bill will show a credit for the data you didn't use, in this case a $5 credit. IOW, you only pay for the data you actually use!

If you link the Fi number to your Hangouts, then calls/messages will show up on any device you own running Hangouts.

Here's the link:

https://fi.google.com


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lparsons21

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Here's another thing that they are doing different.

If you have the service, you can order data sims from them, put them in whichever device you want so those devices can share your data. You only pay for the data you use, there is NO FEE for having that device on your account.

With other providers, even with 'shared' data plans, there is an equipment fee for adding a tablet or other device.



Lloyd
 

osu1991

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Sep 4, 2004
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Think I'll try this. I can write the 2nd line off to the business while trying it out. Should have done it before I broke down and ordered a fruity 6plus. Tired of my Note4 not connecting to new MicroCell without shutting off LTE and ATT only offers wifi calling on iphone
 

lparsons21

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I've been in some forums that discuss this service.
You have to buy one of the phones they support because they are the only ones that can activate the service. After that you could move the sim over to another unlocked phone that can work on t-mobile. Seems whatever tricks they do for the auto switching only works on their phones.


Lloyd
 

lparsons21

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Got the phone yesterday and got it provisioned. Works great and the Nexus 5x is a decent phone for the money.

Tied my Fi number to Hangouts which allows for making/receiving calls/texts on the phone as well as anything running Hangouts with the same account. My data speeds are 5/2 or thereabouts for cell data. Not all that fast because T-Mobile (or Sprint) around here aren't very good for data. But since I use at most 300Mb of data on the phone per month, that isn't a big deal. But if I needed to use it, that is fast enough for those things I would most likely use.

After I got the sim activated, I decided to test it out in the iPhone 6. First turned off iMessage and FaceTime, powered down, swapped sims. Powered up, turned on FaceTime and iMessage and all was tied in just fine on T-Mobile with the Google Fi network. Data speeds still the same. Everything worked fine. Didn't leave it that way as it is unsupported and according to the TOS they could turn off the SIM if they figured it out.

I think the reason is that they want you to use it as they designed the system. That means use the best way to make the call, wifi (probably higher priority), Sprint or T-Mobile and pick up whichever one automatically. I suspect that is the business model to keep even cell talk/text down a bit and use wifi whenever possible. The autoswitching won't work, nor can you make wifi calls from the iPhone with the Fi sim. I've ordered a data sim so that if I keep the iPhone I can put it in there and use data only. Be interesting how much will still work. I know that the FaceTime voice calling from something else won't work to the phone because that requires cell service.
 
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lparsons21

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As much as I liked the idea of the service, in the end Android just doesn't cut it for me.

I got the data sim and put it into the iPhone. Basically using it as a small tablet. But I thought what a waste of a perfectly good iPhone! Got a SIP (IP Phone) number and client. Got that all working so I thought I was good to go.

The reason I got the SIP number in the first place was to get a Google Voice number for the iPhone. But that just wouldn't work. Google Voice checked the SIP number as the forwarding number but wouldn't assign a phone number. Then was when I got the SIP client.

But the hang up with all this was that on iOS wifi is off in a sleeping device unless you have it connected to power. That meant that if someone called the iPhone number the blasted device wouldn't wake up and notify me.

That also meant that the MacBook and iPad Pro also wouldn't wake up and notify me of an incoming call. Since the bulk of my computer/iPad Pro use is in my recliner and the phone itself is generally in the other room, that represented a big step backwards to me.

So got a T-Mobile SIM kit, signed up for their $40/month unlimited talk/text, 3Gb 4G data and unlimited slower speed after that. Contacted Google to cancel so they would allow the port out to T-Mobile and set up for a return of the Nexus 5X. :(

Overall I liked the way it all worked, just didn't like Android because of the one feature I did not want to lose.

BTW, the Nexus 5X 16Gb for $199 deal got extended to 5/7/2016, $50 more for the 32Gb version.


Lloyd
 

osu1991

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I'll try it out Monday when phone gets here. I'm opposite only had the blasted iPhone 6 Plus a day to remember why I hate them. Finally got it to work with microcell like it's supposed too and wifi calling, which is more than my Note 4 will do with it. iPhone doesn't work correctly with Bluetooth in my truck and several apps are either all on or all off with notifications. I have ordered a T-Mobile sim to try out too with my Note 4 as it is unlocked. Can't believe all the problems I've had just by moving a couple miles down the road.


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lparsons21

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I was surprised at how much T-Mobile really brought to the table with the iPhone and Apple. I can wifi call from any of my Apple gear without the phone even being on. Only with Apple right now but I would expect something similar for other OS's.



Lloyd
 

lparsons21

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Osu1991 - Keep in mind that whatever number you get on your Project Fi phone, it will also become your Google Voice number. So if you want to keep the Google Voice number, you need to create a new gmail account and move that number to it.

And it is critical to do it BEFORE you activate Project Fi phone.



Lloyd
 

osu1991

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Osu1991 - Keep in mind that whatever number you get on your Project Fi phone, it will also become your Google Voice number. So if you want to keep the Google Voice number, you need to create a new gmail account and move that number to it.

And it is critical to do it BEFORE you activate Project Fi phone.



Lloyd

Thanks!
 

lparsons21

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You're welcome. I got caught in that and trying to get a new Google Voice number became a real frustrating effort. You can't set up for a new one using the Google Fi number as it is considered a Google Voice number. That's where the problem lies.



Lloyd
 

stardust3

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Thanks for this thread. I fully intend on switching this fall from sprint. It's just way too expensive. Sprint offers full integration with google voice and I love that part of it. So switching for me just makes $en$e.
 

lparsons21

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I'm still with Project Fi, but I've also added ATT GoPhone for my iPhone 6+. Project Fi is really a great idea and it does work well if you prefer Android over iOS and are into the Google ecosystem.

I prefer Apple's ecosystem and the iPhone. Just personal preference. And even though you can get a data sim with Project Fi and use it in the iPhone, the results are less than optimum by quite a margin.

Hangouts will not 'ring' with incoming calls to the Project Fi number! Any other Google Voice number you have will 'ring' in just fine. Some quirk because the Project Fi is kind of a Google Voice number but not completely so I guess. That was the straw that made me add a service.

Hangouts on any other device will 'ring' in the Project Fi number, just not the iPhones!!

Coupled with pee-poor Sprint coverage in this area and T-Mobile being much better than Sprint, but with significant holes in coverage, having only Project Fi here just wasn't quite cutting it for me. In areas better served by Sprint and/or T-Mobile, it makes more sense.

But I'm keeping Project Fi because I want my LTE tablet to work as it should. From a money standpoint, keeping Project Fi + ATT GoPhone costs literally the same as doing both the tablet and phone with ATT GoPhone if I use 1Gb per device a month. And that's generally going to be the situation.

And because I can shuffle the Project Fi data sims around to pretty much any GSM device, it gives me some flexibility when I just want to play around.

Here's some figures.

Project Fi : T-Moblie : Most areas 1-2 bars with a very few 3-4 bars. LTE data @10/2 most of the time.

Project Fi: Sprint: Most areas 1-2 bars. My house at the very best, 1 bar! Data speed only 3G except for a very small area over by the college a couple towns away.

ATT : 3-max bars virtually anywhere. Data speeds from 4G to LTE depending on where you're at. My house, 4G. 2 blocks away, LTE.

Of course at home, data speeds aren't an issue since I'd be using my home wifi (100/10) anyway.

Out of pocket looks to be $30/month Project Fi assuming 500Mb data, $44 ATT w/autopay and taxes and fees. So $74/month.

If I went GoPhone only it would be nearly the same cost. Difference would be only 2 devices, 2Gb on each device and phone would have rollover data.



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stardust3

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with the weather around here, I got really busy. just activated mine this evening. will see how it performs this week

What do you think so far? Gonna pull the here trigger and switch in October.
 

osu1991

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What do you think so far? Gonna pull the here trigger and switch in October.

I've been happy with it. I don't get as many voice calls as I used to. Mainly text and email. They've added US Cellular Coverage, which is a little better than Sprint or T Mobile around here when you get out in the rural areas.
 
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EarDemon

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Dec 5, 2014
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I looked at Fi when it first came out, but it wouldn't make sense for me. While I'm for the most part satisfied with Sprint's coverage, I would like better coverage in the more rural areas I frequent. But T-Mobile's coverage seems to be very close with Sprint around here, giving me no advantage. And as some one who uses a decent amount of data, I see no pricing advantage with Fi either.

upload_2016-10-1_23-21-14.png


This is just my usage. Add in another 2-3 gig for my wife. For Unlimited Voice, Text & Data I pay $150 for two phones on Sprint, not including taxes & fees plus another $35 for 3GB on a mobile hotspot. So if you take my average of 10GB, 3GB for my wife that's $130 for data, plus $20/line for Voice and Text, there really is no pricing advantage for us.
 

SatinKzo

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May 22, 2004
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Been with Fi on/off over a year. Now exclusively FI. I use a nexus 5x and Nexus 6 along with a data sim. I travel internationally more than I would like and the ease of FI for this is great.

Also, coverage is better than their maps indicate. I get LTE easily where the map says 3g only. Wifi calling and Wifi assistant (not a Fi exclusive) are good as advertised. Hangouts does ring on all my devices, easy to setup in the Fi App. Also, the one feature I loved with google voice is now available on Fi, call aggregation. One number can ring multiple devices regardless of phone number. texts are now also aggregated among devices.
 

lparsons21

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Project Fi is very much not good for heavy data users and virtually every review of it has said so.

I'm off Project Fi as their providers are just not good enough around my area. At first I didn't notice it much as it was working in the areas I was in, but when I was doing some local travel away from the major hiways and interstates, the weaknesses showed up.

So back on Verizon, costs more but works better. I've got the small plan with them and military discount so it looks like this:
Small Plan 2Gb = $29.75
Smartphone access = $20
Table access = $20

Total about $75 w/taxes and fees.

Data is 2Gb at LTE speeds then unlimited at around 128Mbps. That will double when my iPhone 7+ comes in for the upgrade. All in all a fair deal IMO.

I love the Project Fi concept but before I would consider going back to them they'd need to pick up either ATT or Verizon and also support iPhones.

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