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Android Headliner: Can Google’s Project Fi Stand The Test Of Time?

May 18, 2015 - Written By Justin Diaz

For all intents and purposes, Google’s Project Fi wireless service is a pretty decent option for some individuals. Will it be able to stick around long term though? Depending on what your needs and wants are, Project Fi just might be able to serve up everything you’ve ever pictured wireless to be and then some. That is, assuming you have met the requirements first. For those who are still unaware, Project Fi is still very, very limited to who can use it. On more than one level. Not only does Project Fi only work with one device, the Nexus 6, but in its current state and even if you have the only compatible handset, you have to receive an invite (which you request) from the Project Fi team before you can sign up for the service.

When it comes to the coverage areas, this is nearly a non-issue as Project Fi works on a combination of around a million or more WiFi networks around the country as well as the Sprint and T-Mobile networks. Prices are even pretty great as long as you don’t need more than 3GB of cellular data, as this is where the comparisons with other plans start to even out, with Project Fi starting to fall behind others like Sprint at higher plans for the cost. In addition, Google will even refund customers the money for the data that they don’t use should they buy too much one month. Then there’s the fact that the entire service is contract-free giving customers the ability and freedom to use the service when it best fits their needs. Basically, don’t need it one month? Don’t pay. Across the board, Project Fi is a great option for some.

Whether or not it can stand the test of time will depend on a great many factors, or at least a few, like a larger device compatibility list and perhaps slightly better pricing for some of the higher plan tiers. Another issue for some people is the transitional changes between Project Fi and Google Voice, as you can only have one tied to a Google account. The good news is that there are ways around losing your Google Voice number should you choose to sign up with Fi, as users can simply transfer the number to Fi or to another Google account if they have one. They can also move the number back to a Google Voice account from Fi if they chose to transfer it in the first place. So while you end up not being able to keep both tied to one single Google account, you don’t have to lose your number. This particular set of details though doesn’t sit well with some users as there are a number of them which would prefer to have their Google Voice account active alongside Project Fi service with the same Google account.

Project Fi’s unique feature offerings will surely cause some carriers to take notice, and even though it may not force them to drastically alter how they operate or what they offer, it could cause some of the bigger carriers to look at offering something similar, even if it’s just something as simple as refundable data cost. Even though Project Fi is available seemingly in many more places than Google Fiber, it’s likely due to have just as slow of a roll out because of the needed invites as well as the lack of a larger device selection. These could be things that make it more difficult for Project Fi to stick around for years to come, but it’s also possible that customers may just sit back and wait for Fi to offer new things and a wider device set anyway, simply because it’s a Google product. Google is no stranger to killing things off should they fail to produce their desired results, and in the end Google may simply be pushing Project Fi now with the intentional goal of getting other wireless carriers to play ball and change things. Will it stand the test of time? It’s too early to tell, but it could probably go either way.