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We explain everything you need to know about Google Fi

Google Fi, launched in 2015 as Project Fi, is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which offers data, voice and text messaging services at a flat rate, and has a robust network in much of the United States. Although it only operated with Nexus and Pixel phones, in addition to the Motorola Moto X4, three years later it is compatible with most Android devices and, for the first time, with iPhones. For coverage, Google Fi uses a combination of US Cellular, T-Mobile and Sprint networks, that is, the phones are changed according to congestion or signal strength. It has RCS Chat support to send larger image and video files, among others. You can register for free on the Google Fi website and you will receive a SIM card ready to use at your home address. You can also do it at Best Buy, although you must pay $ 10 for the SIM. In this guide, you know everything you need to know about Google Fi, such as the value of plans, compatible phones and much more.

GOOGLE FI AND 5G

During the first half of 2019, Google Fi will have access to the 5G network, when its Sprint partner implements it in nine of the country’s major cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and Washington DC.

Customers with Sprint 5G compatibility will automatically switch to the new network. While no specific device is yet included, in the coming months we should see phones with 5G capacity added to Google Fi.

TELEPHONE AND TABLETS GOOGLE FI

You will only have all the benefits with a device designed for Google Fi. One of them is the Wi-Fi Assistant, which automatically connects in the background to “more than one million” public access points.

Calls are not interrupted during the change of cellular network to Wi-Fi, since the connection is secured through a virtual private network (VPN) that routes traffic through Google servers.

Phones compatible with Google Fi:

If your phone is not on the list, you will have the same data coverage and access to the same plans, but your device will not be switched between networks, such as iPhones that were not designed for Google Fi, which are in the T-network. Mobile

Google Fi also operates with tablets, although it is not the same either. A data-only SIM card can be used on certain iPad models and Android tablets, but without calling and text messaging functions. In addition, only some users can have up to nine data-only SIM cards in a single plan.

Tablets and iPads compatible with Google Fi:

NEW NAME, MORE TEAMS

As in the past happened with Android Pay and Android Wear, Google changed the name of Project Fi. Like Google Fi, today it is compatible with almost all Android phones, including Samsung, Huawei, OnePlus, among others, and, for the first time, with iPhones.

How to know if your device is compatible? Android devices must have Android 7.0 Nougat and have LTE bands 2 and 4. As for iPhones, they must work with iOS 11 or higher. You can also check it on the Google Fi site.

Although it is still in beta, users of iPhones have access to the main functions, and there are no differences in terms of plans. However, you must follow additional steps to configure your device. As in Android, they can see the members of the plan and the use of data, access to customer service 24/7, among others, but they will be automatically in the T-Mobile network. Visual voicemail is also not compatible with iOS. In addition, Android users will see a small change in terms of design.

Before the changes, customers were not necessarily restricted to the list of compatible Google devices. The SIM cards worked with the equipment that 1) was unlocked, 2) had a GSM network and 3) worked with T-Mobile. However, there was a warning: incompatible phones would not have access to Sprint or US Cellular network, and data-only SIM cards could not route calls and text messages over cellular networks.

Now, when you register with Google Fi, you can request a SIM card for your specific Android or iPhone device at home. Subscribers can also transfer their number from their current provider, instead of having to use a new one.

GOOGLE FI FOR THE FAMILY

As major providers, Google Fi also offers family plans. With a Google account managed with Family Link, you can add children under the age of 13 to the group plan, which will have access to all functions: data alerts, switching between networks and automatic connection to free Wi-Fi hotspots.

With Family Link you can manage your children’s data usage and the content they see, at least in terms of applications. You can also limit the screen time; block phones when it’s time to do homework, eat or go to sleep; or set up filters in Chrome, search and other Google services.

In terms of prices

Google Fi is definitely not cheaper. Republic Wireless offers calls, text messages and up to 5GB of 4G LTE data for $ 40 per month, $ 30 less than one equivalent of Google Fi. The Cricket Wireless $ 55 plan has unlimited calls, text messages and data, while FreedomPop’s 4GB plan starts at $ 35 per month.

But although it is not the cheapest, it has more benefits. The price starts at $ 20 per month for unlimited calls and text messages and $ 10 for 1 GB of data, but the payment for unused data is reimbursed to the user’s account. The excesses have a value of $ 10 per GB used. Google Fi does not charge a fee for mobile hot spots either: the data is deducted from the monthly allowance.

Another advantage is the “Bill Protection”, which provides unlimited data for $ 80 (if you only have one line). This is because Google will no longer charge more than 6 GB of data, so if you use 10 GB, you will always pay 6 GB. The caveat is that users can experience slower speeds after 15 GB. Invoice protection starts at different levels for group plans.

Group plans allow you to add other people for an additional $ 15 per month per user. Administrators can see the use of data, configure data notifications, add monthly assignments, among others. The “group payment” automatically calculates the cost of the shares of each member and allows to pay separately, depending on the total use or only for the data.

Fi subscribers can use 4G LTE data in more than 135 countries. The international data has the same value as in the USA. In the US, text messages are free, while calls start at 20 cents per minute.


Also published on Medium.

Published inTechnology

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