#NewsBytesExplainer: What is Google Fi, how it is useful?
A few years ago, Google launched Project Fi, a mobile virtual network operator service providing calls, texts, and internet using a mix of cellular networks and Wi-Fi. The service initially worked with select Pixel devices, but last year, Google renamed it to 'Google Fi' and opened support for just about any smartphone. But, is this so-called 'alternate wireless carrier' really useful? Let's find out.
First, a quick walk through the idea behind Google Fi
Google Fi, which comes in the form of a SIM card, has been designed to use the power of multiple carriers and open Wi-Fi networks available across a region. It enables the users' device to smartly switch between major 4G networks to pull the best cellular and data coverage on the go, or use Wi-Fi (when available) for making calls and sending texts.
How this network switching works?
Once you install a Google Fi SIM on a phone that's either designed for Fi (Pixels) or compatible with it (others) and run a small software, it will authenticate you with three carriers (T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular). Then, depending on your location and the speed of all available connections, the software and SIM combination puts you on the best and most reliable network.
Then, it uses location to switch between networks
Once connected, Google Fi uses real-time location, connection speed, and other factors to intelligently switch the network being used and deliver optimum coverage all the time. Further, if a Wi-Fi hotspot is available, it uses it for calling/texting, thereby cutting the data cost.
What else makes Google Fi special?
Along with top-notch connectivity, Google Fi also offers streamlined plans to help save money. Essentially, the company follows a pay-for-what-you-use approach, where Fi users have to pay $20/month for unlimited domestic calling and texting with $10/GB for data, 1 cent/minute for international calls. Plus, there's also bill protection feature which offers unlimited data once you consume 6GB, so the maximum bill can't surpass $80/month.
There is also $70/month unlimited plan
If the streamlined basic plan isn't your thing, there is also a fixed $70/month plan offering free unlimited data, texts (both domestic and abroad), and calls to 50 countries.
Available only in the US
Google Fi works with a range of Android phones and iPhones but is only available in the US. You can check the service's coverage in US here: https://bit.ly/35rQLPF. Also, if you switch to Fi, you won't have trouble traveling abroad. It is supported in more than 200 countries, including India and the UK. However, you would have to pay international rates set by Google.