Google has upgraded its Project Fi experiment and it is now an offical product. Google Fi is a mobile phone plan that works across 170 countries that includes calls at a fixed rate, data without roaming charges and unlimited free texts. And, while the focus is on US customers using Android handsets it also works on iPhones and can be purchased outside the US.
It’s important to note that all the pricing for Google Fi is in US dollars, so, you’ll need to do some maths to ensure their prices are reasonable.
If you sign up for Google Fi, there are a bunch of incentives. For example, if you buy a new handset through Google, you’ll get vouchers or credits towards flights (on US airlines), AirBNB credits and other offers. But if you do a SIM-only plan, you’ll get a $200 credit on your bill.
The pricing model is based on multiple components.
There’s a base fee of $20 per month. If you’re in the US (and this is a US-centric service) that includes unlimited calls and texts. Outside the US, calls are charged at $0.20 per minute.
Data is charged at $10 per GB with a pricing cap of $60. If you use more than 6GB – there are no extra charges. But if you exceed 15GB your connection will be slowed down.
For us, that means a max charge of US$80 per month plus calls.
While local carriers have made plans easier to compare, particularly now as more and more people are using data-centric services rather than traditional calls and text, the importance of affordable data charges is critical. And effectively having access to 15GB of data for $60 is pretty handy if you’re an international traveller.
There are better value plans locally but for frequent travellers this may be a good option.
And, as it works with an eSIM, you can set it up as a second plan so you can keep your current local plan as well as having Google Fi when you travel.