New details have seemingly shown up for Google’s upcoming wireless service, which may highlight what people can possibly expect the search company to offer when things go live for consumers later this year. Up until now, everything about Google’s MVNO has been mostly scarce, although Google had mentioned that it would finally be coming, and there have been rumors about them being in talks with Three UK to offer free international roaming. Prior to the statements about the service from Sundar Pichai last month, the idea of a Google wireless service was only a rumor. Now that it’s somewhat official the rumors have moved onto other aspects of the service, like how it will work and what it will cost, where it will launch, and what it will be called.
New details that have shown up which could point to the upcoming cell service from Google include a potential name for the service, which could just be something being used internally or it could be a final name, as well as an icon for the app that could be for the service in question. There are also some pieces of information about what the service will offer, and about how users will interact with the service from their devices, much like those on T-Mobile or Verizon Wireless have apps to view and manage their accounts. Most of these details come from an app that had shown up in an unofficial firmware image for the Nexus 6, and the app’s name is Project Fi.
Within the Project Fi application there are reportedly strings of code that mention or refer to the service as Project Fi, and devices that run on the service are referred to as Project Fi phones, so this may be the final name of the Google Wireless service when it launches, but it’s possible it could change when and things are finalized. You can see an image of the app icon posted below, which takes on the Material Design like style we see in many of Google’s icons for existing apps. Also within the app, it appears that users (Project Fi customers as we’ll call them for now) would have the ability to activate service, transfer numbers, cancel service, put it on hold, and resume service on cancelled or “on hold” accounts all from the application which would make managing your account extremely simple, and almost eliminating any need to speak with a customer service rep to do these actions, which in most cases is what you have to do now for many carriers. It also appears that Google’s MVNO service would potentially have options for auto pay, and alert customers to upcoming billing statements while also giving them options to pay for their service. It isn’t mentioned anywhere, but it wouldn’t be too out of the ordinary to see Google Wallet be an option for one of the payment methods.
There are also details about the service itself and what it could potentially offer to customers, including how the plans may be broken down and what they offer, how customers will acquire phones, and how the service will work. When it comes to the service, Project Fi seems to work on a usage amount basis. Basically, it could be that the service will charge customers for what they use only, so even if the plan they sign up on costs a certain amount, if they use less than what their plan allows then they could end up getting credited that amount back. It appears that Google will have plans that start with just talk and text, and then allow customers to add on data separately in the amounts that they want. It also appears that Google will offer some sort of carrier billing for added features or services, like app downloads, or possibly other small purchases. Project Fi also looks to offer not only single line offerings but also plans for multiple lines and shared account data, with each additional line past the initial one adding to the cost of the plan based on what they use.
What seems a bit more interesting is that Project Fi may afford users the ability to switch their services from one device to another if they have more than one phone, presumably from within the Project Fi app and with little effort. This would let customers switch their calls and messages to another main device should they have one for work and one for personal, making it easy to ensure they miss nothing important. It also appears that the details about devices switching between carriers depending on which carrier offers better service in the area may be true, as there were strings in the code that mention both T-Mobile and Sprint, both of which are the carriers that Google’s wireless service has been rumored to work off of. One last bit of important information points to the possibility of device financing, at least for the Nexus 6, which has been rumored to be the only supported device for the Google MVNO service. It may be that this will be the only device Google will allow to be broken up into payments over the bill, much like other carriers are doing now with all of their phones. There are still a lot of unknowns about Project Fi, if it will remain called that in the end, like actual plan costs, tentative release dates, supported locations and so on. Hopefully, more concrete details about Project Fi will come to light in the near future.