Carrier Project Fi?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by Heat_Fan89, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. Heat_Fan89, Aug 3, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016

    Heat_Fan89 macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2016
    Anyone here using Google's Project Fi service? I've been using Straight Talk for the last 3 years and I have little complaints as the service is decent in my area. I have a BYOP plan (Nexus 6) and get 5GB of LTE data and everything's unlimited after that including calls and text with NO contracts. I pay $48 per month and includes tax.

    I've read Project Fi is $20 for the basic plan which also includes unlimited calls and texting and data is $10 for 1GB and it includes rollover data. That sounds even better than my Straight Talk plan as in a month I may use 100MB so 1GB would last me a long time.

    My questions are as follows:

    1) How's the service, i.e. call drops?
    2) Do you have to buy a Sim Card from Google?
    3) Can you port over your existing mobile number?
    4) Do you have to buy 1GB of data every month?
    5) Are you on the $20 plan?
    6) Did I miss anything regarding Project Fi and how it works?

    Edit: My bad it's $10 for 1GB of data :oops:
  2. s0nicpr0s macrumors regular


    Sep 1, 2010
    I haven't switched to Project Fi just yet, but I am definitely investigating whether my wife and I should do so this fall. But I wanted to clear up a misconception you have about data usage with this service. You're correct that there is a base cost of $20 a month for unlimited talk/text, and $10 per GB of data. However, at the end of the month/billing period, you get credited for whatever amount of data you have left over. For example, if you decided to go with 1GB of data as your standard plan you pay $30 per month. If that month you only use .5 GB, then you get a $5 credit on your bill. If you however went over, and used 1.5 GB, then you would be charged an additional $5. There is no rollover data, but it won't be like some carriers where you get charged a flat fee for going over. The premise is that you only pay for whatever data you have actually used.

    These answers are solely based on my own research into the topic and not from personal experience
    1. The service is supposed to bounce you between the available carriers (T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular at this time). They claim that your calls are handed off seamlessly between these carriers and Wi-Fi, but someone else would need to respond as to whether this works well in practice.
    2. You get a SIM from Google when you sign up, but I have no idea if there is a fee attached to them sending it initially.
    3. Your number can be ported over.
    4. You will end up paying for your initial data pool every month, but the bill will adjust based on your usage.
    5. I am not currently on this service, but when I sign up, I expect to give myself 2 or 3 GB as a base plan.

    Hopefully that helped a little, at least until someone else can help answer with their experience or further explain some concepts that I'm missing or am mistaken on.
  3. spinedoc77 macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    I used it for about a month, it's decent with some caveats.

    1) Service was excellent, I'm in north and central NJ and had no issues
    2) Google will send you a free sim
    3) yes you can port your existing number
    4) I believe you have to buy a minimum of 1gb, but you get refunded any portion you don't use down to the mb.
    5) I was on the $20 plan

    Overall I think it's very good IF you don't need data, or if you need international data. But if you need data it is rather expensive, and much more so expensive once you look at post paid data rates as you get more data. It becomes even more expensive when you factor in family discounts. They really need to lower the data prices and offer family discounts for multiple lines. I ended up going back to AT&T because it was cheaper when I factored in data usage and family plan discounts.
  4. ramram55 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2012
    One advantage with Project FI with overseas travel, you can still use data without switching, Wifi calls certainly help too.
  5. Heat_Fan89 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2016
    Thanks everyone for all the info. I learned a few things regarding PF. I just looked at my Straight Talk bill and I pay $43.88 and that includes everything including 5GB of LTE data and after the 5GB it's unlimited data at 3G.

    So are calls being handled via wifi?
  6. s0nicpr0s macrumors regular


    Sep 1, 2010
    Calls will take place over wifi or cellular. It really depends on what is the better option (to the phone) at the time.
  7. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    1 - As noted, calls happen over WiFi or cellular. They are still monkeying with the thresholds for using an available WiFi if cellular is also available but you can force WiFi by using airplane mode with WiFi turned back on. I have to do that at home as the signal penetration at home is horrible. I don't talk THAT much on the phone but it's overall worked about as expected.

    2 - You don't have to buy a SIM card, when you sign up they send it, for free.

    3 - Yes, you can port your number, it's part of the sign up process. If you have a Google Voice number on your Gmail account, you either have to use that number for Fi, move it to another Google account (including Google Apps) or lose it when you port your cell number in to Fi.

    4 - Technically, yes. Caveat to that is that you get credit for unused data at the same rate you paid so if you only use 100 MB of data, you get $9 back out of your $10 paid for 1 GB of data. That happens in the form of a credit, then you pay $10 again to get your next month's data allotment.

    5 - EVERYONE is on the $20 plan. Technically, the base plan cost is $30 ($20 for voice/text then $10 for data but that gets credited for unused).

    6 - I believe WiFi texting only happens if you have Hangouts integration set up. Basically, set Hangouts as your default text app and you can text from ANY device that is logged in to your Google account, including the GMail web interface. Also, if you install Hangouts Dialer, same thing for phone calls. You can also get data-only SIM cards for free, they pull from the same pool of data at the same rate but will only connect to T-Mobile towers.
  8. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
  9. spinedoc77 macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    The phone selects whether wifi is used or cellular. But there is an awesome app called Fi Info which actually lets you select Tmobile, Sprint or wifi so you can force it that way.
  10. sk1wbw Suspended


    May 28, 2011
    Williamsburg, Virginia
    A couple of things to keep in mind. Yes, it's cheap, but the switching between carriers on your phone takes a long time, it's not like connecting to a saved wifi spot. There's no way to force a switch if the signal gets too low and weak, you have to get a separate app to do this.

    And if you ever get to the point of wanting to port your number FROM Fi to another carrier, the only way to get your account number and pin to give to the new carrier is to cancel your Fi service. This is kinda stupid because the new provider you're porting TO can't tell you if you have to give them a security deposit.
  11. Heat_Fan89 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2016
    Thanks for that info. It's looking like Project Fi is a good idea that needs more time in the oven, it's not ready yet. I guess i'll be sticking with Straight Talk as the service is pretty good and for $43.88 tax included offers a lot.

    I also agree with the others who commented on the high price of the data. Sure you get your money back but if you do use your 1 GB then there goes $10 and in today's world, 1GB can get eaten up in less than a day if you're watching YT videos or streaming music.
  12. spinedoc77 macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    It felt like a finished idea to me, I was impressed with how polished everything was from the sign up process, to the activation, to the customer service and the phone service itself. The carrier switching isn't a big deal, it's not often I find somewhere that Tmobile AND sprint have much of a different footprint. But it's easy enough just using the Fi Info app to switch.

    But yeah, the Achilles heel is the data pricing. In speaking with customer service I was told they are working to improve this and their number 1 requested feature was a family plan. I have a feeling that Fi will be a valuable asset to Google and they will put a lot of work into it.

    Post paid has come a long way and in many cases is cheaper even than what used to be the cheapest, companies like straight talk. Post paid isn't that much more expensive if you are on a family plan. I was just browsing tmobile tonight and you can get 2 lines with 2gb each for $80, that's with free streaming of pretty much everything under the sun you would want. $100 for 6gb data for each phone and it becomes cheaper the more lines you add. My plan with ATT is 2 lines with 20GB for about $125 after taxes/fees, out the door.
  13. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    No need for an app. All the apps do is automate or make easier the entry of the dialer codes. I should add that I use Signal Spy Pro, there is someone that seems pretty well involved in Fi that was also involved in development of that app. I don't use it for switching, I just use it to monitor what carrier I'm on without using the dialer codes.

    FAQ's: Project Fi Dialer Codes - Google Product Forums

    That's an old list as the US Cellular code is not on the list.

    If the signal is weak for both carriers, yes it takes a little time to either switch or time-out (as I experience at home since both have poor signal penetration). The network switching isn't exactly working as expected, but if your situation is like mine where it is only poor when home and you have a good internet connection, just switch to airplane mode and turn WiFi back on, that FORCES WiFi calling.

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