Google has, as expected, launched a new mobile network service in which it essentially operates as an MVNO. It will provide subscribers, who all pay a flat fee of $20, unlimited calls and texts with an additional $10 per GB of data. It runs off the back of the T-Mobile and Sprint networks as well as making use of Wi-Fi hotspots as and when available.
Google's aim with launching Project Fi is that communications and connectivity services "keep pace" with the advancements offered by our mobile devices and provide mobile services that are "fast everywhere, easy to use, and accessible to everyone." With mobile network switching between T-Mobile and Sprint in the USA, depending upon which is the fastest available and the auto connection to over a million Wi-Fi hotspots Google sounds pretty confident of shaking up the US mobile network industry.
Project Fi can use your Wi-Fi connection for calls and texts if no cellular connection is available. Another innovation is that "with Project Fi, your phone number lives in the cloud, so you can talk and text with your number on just about any phone, tablet or laptop." So if you are temporarily phoneless, for whatever reason, you could call and text on your tablet or computer – basically using any device which supports Google Hangouts.
As mentioned in the intro, Google is keeping it simple with a base plan costing $20pm which nets you talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering, and international coverage in 120+ countries. On top of that its $10 extra per GB of cellular data in the US and abroad. Unused data is 'refunded', so if you buy say 2GB for $20 but only use 500MB then you will get $15 credit back.
Now we come to the drawbacks... Firstly, right now you have to get an invite to sign up for the service. Secondly you will need to be a $649 Nexus 6 smartphone user as it is "the first (and only) smartphone that supports the hardware and software to work with our service".
I recently looked at US mobile phone contracts and PAYG and felt that the prices are pretty high. A USA Today report quotes industry analyst Roger Entner of Recon Analytics, he notes that Google is "clearly putting pressure on every other mobile carrier, even the ones they're partnering with." But the partners are holding back a few USPs, T-Mobile's HD Voice feature, for example.