Google Debuts 'Project Fi' Wireless Service in Partnership With Sprint, T-Mobile

Google today announced its entrance into the wireless service business, with the debut of Project Fi, a service that combines multiple cellular networks with Wi-Fi hotspots to offer "the best network wherever you go."

As rumored back in January, Google is teaming up with both Sprint and T-Mobile for Project Fi, and the two carriers will provide the cellular service for Google's initiative. With Project Fi service, customers will be able to connect to the fastest network at any given location, whether it's Sprint LTE, T-Mobile LTE, or a Wi-Fi hotspot.

We developed new technology that gives you better coverage by intelligently connecting you to the fastest available network at your location whether it's Wi-Fi or one of our two partner LTE networks. As you go about your day, Project Fi automatically connects you to more than a million free, open Wi-Fi hotspots we've verified as fast and reliable. Once you're connected, we help secure your data through encryption. When you're not on Wi-Fi, we move you between whichever of our partner networks is delivering the fastest speed, so you get 4G LTE in more places.

By positioning itself as an MVNO or mobile virtual network operator partnered with existing carriers, Google is able to provide reliable cellular service and its own pricing tiers without needing to build out its own infrastructure. Other well-known MVNO's in the U.S. include Boost Mobile, FreedomPop, and Straight Talk.

Project Fi brings phone numbers to the cloud, letting users talk and text with their personal phone numbers on any phone, tablet, or computer, and it introduces a simplified pricing structure that's easier to understand than most carriers' complicated plans.

There's a single plan that costs $20 per month for talk, text, and Wi-Fi tethering, plus an extra $10 per GB for cellular data in the U.S. and abroad. So a plan with unlimited talk and text with 3GB of data would be priced at $50. Google's also only charging for data used, so customers who pay for 3GB and only use 1GB will get a refund.

Google is debuting a Project Fi early access program that's available to customers who have a Nexus 6. According to Google, this is the first smartphone that supports the hardware and software necessary to work with Project Fi. Nexus 6 users can in areas where coverage is available can request access.

Google is the first major technology company to introduce its own wireless service, and it's possible that other companies could follow in its footsteps. In the past, there were rumors suggesting Apple would take on the role of a mobile carrier, selling service directly to consumers, but in 2012, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Apple did not need to be a carrier and would be better off focusing its efforts on making great devices.

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Top Rated Comments

DavidTheExpert Avatar
119 months ago
Not interested.

If I wanted Google to know my every movement and minute detail about my life I would still be logged into Google+ and Gmail and Youtube and every other one of their countless services and have an Android phone and store all my sensitive documents in Google Drive.

I quit on Google years ago when they screwed me over in a business matter, and I tried to follow up by contacting them only to learn that they have absolutely no customer service outlets, no way of directly contacting anyone at Google, and care so little about their users that they actively go out of their way to prevent them from expressing their concerns or dealing with their problems, and they literally crush anyone who disagrees with them.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sl4ck3r Avatar
119 months ago
They're trying to offer 'better coverage' by using Sprint and T-Mobile. Makes sense.

The word and says it all. More options in more places. Where Sprint doesnt have coverage T-Mobile may and vice versa. How is having options ever a bad thing. There is a good chance that ATT and Verizon will come on board if Google gets the user base that demands it. End of the day these carriers only care about the bottom line.

I understand this is MR and people dislike Google here, however how can you be mad at a company that continually shakes up every industry they enter. You think you would have ever seen 1GBps internet to the home if google didnt start rolling out their fiber networks? Seriously, innovation is innovation regardless of where it comes from and it looks like Google if rife with it lately.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Timeraner Avatar
119 months ago
**** Google.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
C DM Avatar
119 months ago
And now all the usual Google FUD is going to keep on coming up to put it all down just because it's anything Google-related (just as it happens with anything Facebook-related). Because other companies aren't gathering our data and haven't been doing it for ages. And because it's irrelevant what the specifics of any of this are, it's enough just to focus on the "Google" (or "Facebook" or something similar) keyword.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ninjadex Avatar
119 months ago
I don't want Google anywhere near my 'Fi. Simple as that.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CBJammin103 Avatar
119 months ago
I, for one, think this is at least mildly interesting... curious to see real-world results, but mostly I'm surprised the carriers would go for this.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)