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How Do Google’s Project Fi Prices Compare To The Major U.S. Carriers?

April 23, 2015 - Written By Justin Diaz

Now that Project Fi has been out in the open for over 24 hours and the dust is beginning to settle, the excitement mellowing out a little, there is a more open opportunity to really take a look at what Project Fi offers and compare it to what other carriers have for the same prices. More specifically, the prices of the contract-free rate plans compared to that of Project Fi. If you want a detailed breakdown of everything inclusive with Google’s new wireless service, you can check out all the details in our post from yesterday. If you specifically want to take a look at the prices for Project Fi compared to the prices of the other carriers with comparable service plans, we’ll cover that here.

If you’re interested in Project Fi pricing thus far, you more than likely are already aware of the fact that at the moment the only device that will work with the service is the Nexus 6. If this is your first time learning about that particular detail, feel free to read on even if you don’t have the compatible device as you have options through Project Fi to pick it up at full cost or through the price breakup with the bill over 24 monthly payments. To start, let’s look at what Project Fi offers for pricing.

Project Fi

Google’s wireless service is definitely unique, and there are some pretty cool features to it, but how does the pricing stack up? It starts with a base cost of $20. This price gets you unlimited talk and unlimited text, plus unlimited international texting and low-cost roaming rates in 120+ countries. What about internet? Data is pay by the GB, and it starts at 1GB for $10, and goes up by $10 for every GB thereafter. So, for example, a plan on Project Fi with 5GB of 4G LTE data will be $20 for the base cost, and $50 for the data, totaling $70 a month for everything, plus the additional taxes and fees which will probably be a few extra bucks. If you don’t yet have a Nexus 6 and you want to pick one up through Project Fi, you can do so at full cost by heading to the Google Store, or you can have it broken up into 24 monthly payments and this can be done for both the 32GB and the 64GB models. The pricing for this breaks down to 24 payments of $27.04 or $29.12 for the 32GB and 64GB models respectively. If you’re choosing the payment plan option, make sure to add this cost to your rate plan cost for the total monthly amount. So for example when pairing the 64GB model monthly payment with our example for the monthly rate plan pricing above, you’d be looking at $70 a month for the plan plus $29.12 for the phone every month, which comes out to $99.12.

T-Mobile

If you’re a T-Mobile customer, you likely already have some pretty great rates for your monthly no-contract plan and may not care to switch. For anyone who is generally curious about the comparison though or anyone who is not a T-Mobile customer, here’s what they have compared to Project Fi and what things cost. T-Mobile’s plans for unlimited talk and text will start at $50 a month, and that will get you unlimited talk and text with 1GB of 4G LTE data. T-Mobile’s next plan will jump to 3GB of data a month and will cost you $60, which is still $10 more than Project Fi. From here things even out, as T-mobile has two more plans. The first comes with 5GB of data and will cost your $70 a month, which is the same cost as Project Fi for the same amount of data. This next plan is where T-Mobile comes out ahead, as they offer a plan for $80 a month with no throttle limit to your data, where Project Fi’s plan at $80 will only give you 6GB of data a month.  If you’re an extremely heavy data user, this is the perfect plan for you on T-Mobile’s network. All of T-Mobile’s plans listed here also come with the hotspot feature included, as well as the WiFi calling.

AT&T

Just like the rest, AT&T’s plans will include the unlimited talk and text and will start with 1GB of data a month for $50 a month. From here AT&T jumps to 3GB a month just like T-Mobile, but the price goes up by $5, making the total $65 a month. Next is AT&T’s 4GB plan for $80, they offer no 5GB plan and go straight to 6GB which will cost you $95 compared to Project Fi’s $80 a month for the same features. There is also a 10GB plan for $115 a month, and a 15GB plan for $145 a month, both geared towards heavy users. None of the plans come with WiFi calling, but they do include the hotspot feature.

Verizon

Plans from Verizon wireless will start at 1GB just like the rest, but the price starts at $55 a month, which so far is the most expensive. There will be plans for just about every GB tier of 1-10 except for 5GB, going from 1GB to 2GB for $65 a month, then to 3GB for $75 a month. Oddly enough the next two plans are the exact same price, which is $85 a month for the 4GB and 6GB of data a month. The last two plans from Verizon are right on par with AT&T at 10GB of data for $115 a month and 15GB of data for $145 a month. All the plans come with unlimited talk and text, no WiFi calling but do include the hotspot feature.

Sprint

Sprint is the last one we’re going to cover here, and their plan is arguably the most simple. They have one offering with unlimited talk and text and it also happens to come with completely unlimited data, no throttling and will always be 4G LTE unless you are not in a 4G LTE covered area. Sprint’s plan will cost you $60 a month, and it also comes with the WiFi calling as well as the hotspot feature.

So in retrospect when you break it down price wise, Google’s Project Fi service will be the best and least expensive option out of these carriers for anyone who is capable of sticking under 3GB of data a month. From there things begin to even out with T-Mobile and Sprint, while Verizon and AT&T just continue to get more expensive. In fact, once Project Fi hits the $60 mark for monthly rates, Sprint based on cost alone is the best option if you’re a heavy data user as they give you completely unlimited data with the voice and text for $60. Now after seeing the cost comparisons, consider that prices are not going to be the only factor for most customers, but if prices are the only thing you’re going to be looking at you’ll want to weigh out how much data you’ll need and what that amount will cost at each of the five carriers listed here. You’ll also want to take into account that out of all the carriers we discussed prices for, only Project Fi will refund you money for any unused data that you previously pay for. So, if you end up buying 7GB of data your monthly plan will cost you $90 a month, but if you only use 2GB of data out of the 7GB then based on the refund Google would be sending you back the $50 which would have covered the 5 unused GB of data you had left, which is a pretty sweet deal.