Google’s much anticipated Fi wireless service launched today in the US. Fi is Google’s first foray into wireless and is already being tagged as a disruptive force which could lower the price of wireless data for consumers. However judging by Google Fiber (Google’s ISP project) Fi’s goal is not to take over the wireless industry but to prod giants such as Verizon and AT&T to make ‘Internet on the Go’ more accessible with cheaper data (to support Google’s core Search business).
How does it work?
Fi will automatically switch between two networks (T-Mobile and Sprint) with more than a million free Wi-Fi spots (where your data will be encrypted) depending on which signal is stronger.
Google’s aim is to deliver the best call quality and fastest connection with seamless transitions between networks and devices while also lowering phone bills by taking advantage of existing Wi-Fi networks.
What will it cost?
Google is using a pay for usage model rather than the data caps common to the industry. The base price for the service is $20 USD a month, for that you get unlimited talk and text, plus Wi-Fi tethering. It’s then $10 USD per GB of cellular data while in the US or abroad. If you don’t use all the data you paid for you will be credited for the full value of your unused data. Although international call rates do apply when travelling abroad, cellular data remains $10 USD per GB.
Where is it available?
The service is currently only available on the Nexus 6 with coverage in most US areas via 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE networks. However, you need to request an invite to be part of the Early Access Program.
For travellers, the service does offer coverage in over 120 countries including Australia, where cellular data will be delivered via the 3G network.
To learn more about Project Fi and check coverage head to the official site.