First Impressions: Project Fi

I recently received an invite to join Project Fi, which is a new mobile phone service from Google. Project Fi is very different from most mobile service providers. Like other mobile service providers, Project Fi offers call, text, and data. What is different than other mobile service providers, is that Project Fi uses different service providers such as Sprint, T-Mobile, and Wi-Fi Calling.

Wi-Fi calling allows you to make phone calls over a Wi-Fi connection which, in turn, doesn’t use a cell tower. But you don’t always have Wi-Fi calling when you need to make a phone call, so Project Fi also uses Sprint and T-Mobile services to provide calls over cell networks. Project Fi offers basic calling for $20 a month.

Project Fi also supports mobile data on the go as well, since you may not always have a Wi-Fi connection. However, data works a little different on Project Fi. Basically, you only pay for the data you use. 1GB of mobile data cost $10. Project Fi also refunds your unused data and provides a credit on your next month bill. So if you have 3GB data plan and only use 2GB of data then you’ll credited for the remaining data.

Sadly, Project Fi doesn’t offer an unlimited plan, but paying only for the data you use is something new and interesting. But if you use 5GB of data that’s $50 dollars a month on only data.

This service isn’t for data hogs without a Wi-Fi connection at home. If you use a lot of video and music streaming services then this isn’t the service for you.

Project Fi is also limited to the Nexus 6 which cost $499 or Project Fi allows you to spread out the cost monthly until the service is canceled or paid off. I opted to buy my phone outright and pay for it up front. But if you own a unlocked Nexus 6 then you can use that phone already. Project Fi is closed beta and only available by invite right now. You can sign up for an invite by checking out Project Fi website. If you requested a invite you can even check the status of your invite.

Is Project Fi replacing Google Voice?

While there has been no official announcement, when you sign up for Project Fi, they transfer over your Google Voice number and cancel your Google Voice account. If you don’t transfer over your Google Voice number, then you’ll lose the number. Project Fi also comes with most of the same features as Google Voice.

Project Fi allows you to forward your calls to other numbers just like Google Voice. You cannot however, read text messages or listen to voicemail on the Project Fi website, but you can check voicemail and messages using Google Hangouts.

I believe that Project Fi and Google Hangouts will replace the Google Voice service. We’ve already seen may of the services get transferred over to Google Hangouts. Now I just think it’s a matter of time before Google Voice is shut down or completely converted into Hangouts.

Final thoughts

I think we will continue to see improvements to Project Fi and Google Hangouts. I’ve been using Project Fi heavily for the past couple of weeks and haven’t really had any issues with service or network coverage. While I haven’t made any phone calls using cell networks, the calls I’ve made over Wi-Fi are clear and good quality.

We are hearing a lot of rumors about the new Nexus phones and I’m sure we will continue to see more android phone supported. I hope to see more mobile service providers such as AT&T and Verizon.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on Project Fi, if you’ve been using the service or plan on using the service. Reach out to me in the comments below or on Twitter @iammatthew. I will continue to post updates on Project Fi over the weeks and months.