The rumors are true. Google is launching its own wireless service called Project Fi. The new service was announced recently, and the company says its goal is to create a fast and easy wireless experience.
Not everyone will be able to jump onto the new service right away, however.
Currently, Project Fi is invite-only and can only be accessed by those owning a Nexus 6 smartphone. Google claims this is because the Nexus 6 is the first smartphone that supports the hardware and software required for Project Fi.
In a clever move, Google has found a way around building their own network of cell towers. Instead the company is partnering with Sprint and T-Mobile as well as utilizing millions of WiFi hotspots.
In an announcement on the official Google Blog, Nick Fox, Vice President of Communications Products explains:
In today’s mobile world, fast and reliable connectivity is almost second nature. But even in places like the U.S., where mobile connections are nearly ubiquitous, there are still times when you turn to your phone for that split-second answer and don’t have fast enough speed. Or you can’t get calls and texts because you left your phone in a taxi (or it got lost in a couch cushion for the day). As mobile devices continually improve how you connect to people and information, it’s important that wireless connectivity and communication keep pace and be fast everywhere, easy to use, and accessible to everyone.”
Here’s a brief overview of the new service from Google:
Google claims it has developed new technology that intelligently connects you to the fastest available network at your location as you move. For example, at home the fastest connection may be your WiFi but on the road it may be a specific 4G LTE network. Google boasts this new technology can seamlessly transition from WiFi to cell networks without even disrupting your conversation.
You phone number on this new service will reside in the cloud. So you can make a call or text either on your phone, tablet, or laptop. Basically any device that can use Google Hangouts.
But perhaps the best part of Project Fi is the pricing. There are no annual contracts required. For $20 a month, users will receive unlimited talk, unlimited text, WiFi tethering, coverage in more than 120 countries, and international calling for 20 cents-per-minute.
Data is priced separately. It’s $10 a month per GB of data. For example, you can pay $10 for 1GB, $20 for 2GB, $30 for 3GB and so on. But you are only charged for the data you use. If you buy 2GB but only use 1.2GB, you will receive an $8 credit for the .8GB you didn’t use. Not a bad deal.
If you have the phone required and want to try out Google’s new wireless plan you can request an invite here.
Another reason to buy the Nexus 6 huh? It is the only way to get the invitation.
I’m surprised the service is limited to Nexus users. The impact will not be great until they open it up.