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AH Primetime: We May Be Missing The Point Google Is Trying To Make With Project Fi

April 25, 2015 - Written By Micah Sean

There are many facets to Google’s Project Fi, and it is all incredibly compelling. The subject of Android news the world wide web over, Project Fi is Google’s answer to traditional wireless service. Aside from how it all works, what’s been a larger focus is pricing of Project Fi. When compared to other wireless services it’s not really a cheaper alternative. In fact, Project Fi lies somewhere in the middle with it’s unlimited talk, text and 5 GB’s LTE plan priced at a cool $70. While Google won’t charge you overages or for data that isn’t consumed, the price really all depends on individual usage. Not to mention Google will credit you for unused data.

The real reason behind Project Fi, according to Google, is that it will change the way people will see wireless service. You may wonder, then, why is Google focusing on prices? The answer is simple. Wireless service is very much a business. While Google is looking to revolutionize the industry, they also must consider the fact that while Fi may be the future, it won’t be winning over users from reliable networks like T-Mobile, ATT and Verizon without advertising their prices and plans first and foremost. The moment John Smith realizes he could be credited for the data he never uses at the end of each month, and that Google will never charge him overages, he’s going to say to himself “Why not project Fi?”

By purchasing network real estate from T-Mobile and Sprint, Google is able to use their networks to bring you a reliable cellular experience. This isn’t an uncommon practice by any means. Google is essentially becoming an MVNO – Mobile Virtual Network Operator – But rather than relying solely upon Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks, Project Fi can make secure connections to “millions” of WiFi hotspots across the country. With the service you are subscribing to the use of both T-Mobile and Sprint, not one or the other. At any given time you will be using which ever network is faster and more reliable, along with the help of WiFi connections.

Contrary to traditional wireless service your number won’t be tied down to just one device. Project Fi stores your number in the cloud and allows users to be reached on any of their devices that have been connected to the account via Hangouts. This includes tablets and laptops. So if you’re just focusing on what Project Fi may cost you in the future you’re missing the point entirely. Project Fi aims to be the next generation of a mobile network in terms of reliability and versatility. Unfortunately, as it’s in early experimental stages, Project Fi service will only be available on Google’s Nexus 6 for a period of time. Other devices may be brought on board in the future, but it all depends. Project Fi looks excellent on paper, but until we start getting usage reports it remains a pipe dream and a vision. If all goes well we may see Google adding support for other devices and using its arm strength to usher other carriers into Project Fi.