Google finally launched Project Fi, the long rumored wireless service which we first started hearing tiny bits of information about last year. After months and months of waiting Google announced Project Fi earlier last week and just like that many of the rumors that have been floating around about specific details over the last few months were confirmed. Project Fi will indeed work by allowing consumers to flip between multiple networks, which includes over a million WiFi hotspots around the nation, and both T-Mobile and Sprint’s networks. Google’s technology together with these networks chooses the best option based on a person’s location and will use that as the connection for data, voice, and messages. If you’re connected to WiFi, presumably you’ll be given the option to choose whether you want the WiFi to handle everything, if you’re not on WiFi, the Project Fi tech will calculate whether T-Mobile or Sprint has the strongest signal and fastest speeds based on where you are.
The WiFi bit isn’t exactly new and revolutionary, as Republic Wireless has been utilizing a similar working network for service for the last couple of years. That doesn’t mean that Project Fi isn’t game changing, as it offers something that no other carrier offers, MVNO or otherwise. The ability to switch between multiple cellular network types. This isn’t the only reason why Project Fi will be a thorn in the side of larger carriers like AT&T and Verizon Wireless though, and sooner or later, once Project Fi has been around long enough, carriers like Verizon will have to make decisions to either lower prices or shift what they’re offering by coming out with something equally intriguing so they can keep charging high tiered prices.
With Project Fi’s plans set on a pay by the GB basis, consumers have quite a bit of control over how much data they use and need and may be able to save tons of money compared to the likes AT&T and Verizon. We went over the pricing of Project Fi compared to the major U.S. carriers a few days ago and while a handful of the plans actually even out with T-Mobile and Sprint after a certain point, they are still a decent savings over anything offered by Verizon or AT&T, and both have a hard enough time as it is with the shake ups in pricing and plans that T-Mobile and Sprint have been introducing without Project Fi in the mix to potentially grab even more customers away. Top this off with the fact that Google will refund customers for the amount of unused data each month should they end up purchasing too much, and the idea of Project Fi begins to sound even more enticing. Perhaps the only thing that is going to help keep Project Fi from stealing every customer away from everyone, is the fact that the service is currently invite only, and it only supports one device, the Nexus 6. While Project Fi may not end up causing Verizon to start hemorrhaging subscribers, it’s just interesting enough to get people asking questions, and that is more than likely precisely the point. A tactic to get customers wanting of certain features or a change to how their wireless networks do business. If Project Fi can succeed in getting carriers to alter their ways, then it will have accomplished a great deal even if they don’t end up with 30 million customers.