Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Google unveils group plans for their Project Fi mobile network
Google is making it a bit easier to use its Project Fi mobile network like standard cell service with the introduction of group plans. Now, you can add as many people to your Project Fi plan as you’d like at an additional cost of $15 per user. The rate for data remains $10 per GB, and Google will still issue refunds for unused data. As it stands today, Project Fi works on the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and the newly announced Pixel and Pixel XL and the introductory Basics plan costs $20 a month for unlimited talk and text.
Project Fi, launched last year on an invite system for Google’s Nexus phones, became widely available starting in March of this year. It works as a virtual network, borrowing the coverage of T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular, and international provider Three to provide internet access for mobile users. It’s biggest draw is a stripped-down pricing scheme that charges users only for the data they use, instead of throttling or charging overage fees as telecoms are prone to do.
Google has designed an appropriately no-frills interface for managing these group plans. You’ll be able to add and remove new members easily without activation fees right from the app, as well as monitor data usage for each active participant. At the end of each month, Google issues one bill. Each member can also set personal notifications for data usage, while the manager of the account can set data allowances for each member and temporarily cease service if someone happens to stream too generously from Netflix or Spotify.
To urge potential new customers to sign up for Project Fi, Google is offering discounts on its Nexus phones. The Nexus 5X will now come $150 off when you purchase it and activate it through Fi, the Nexus 6P will get a $100 discount. Understandably, Google’s Pixel phones remain at full price. You can buy those devices using standard financing through Verizon or on the Play Store starting at $649 unlocked or $27/month.