After multiple rumours, Google on Wednesday announced that it is finally becoming a cellular service provider, but since the company doesn’t posses any spectrum of its own, it will be hosting its services on T-Mobile and Sprint networks. The Google service is known as Project Fi and will be initially available only via invites.
According to Google, the service will automatically switch between T-Mobile and Sprint’s 4G LTE networks and free Wi-Fi hotspots to offer constant high-speed connectivity to the consumers.
“Project Fi aims to put you on the best network wherever you go. As you move around, the best network for you might be a Wi-Fi hotspot or a specific 4G LTE network. We developed new technology that gives you better coverage by intelligently connecting you to the fastest available network at your location whether it’s Wi-Fi or one of our two partner LTE networks. As you go about your day, Project Fi automatically connects you to more than a million free, open Wi-Fi hotspots we’ve verified as fast and reliable. Once you’re connected, we help secure your data through encryption. When you’re not on Wi-Fi, we move you between whichever of our partner networks is delivering the fastest speed, so you get 4G LTE in more places,” explained Google in a blog post.
Google notes that Fi network will work seamlessly across 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hotspots. “Wherever you’re connected to Wi-Fi—whether that’s at home, your favorite coffee shop or your Batcave—you can talk and text like you normally do. If you leave an area of Wi-Fi coverage, your call will seamlessly transition from Wi-Fi to cell networks so your conversation doesn’t skip a beat,” added Google.
Also, with Google Fi, your phone number lives in the cloud, so you can use any connected device to call or send texts.
It will cost for $20 a month for unlimited basics and flat $10 per GB for cellular data. If you don’t use all the subscribed data, you get a refund.
Despite all these positives, there is a big downside to the Google Fi – it only works with Nexus 6 right now and we don’t expect the supported devices to significantly increase in the near future. So, if you own a Nexus 6 in US and looking for non-contract cellular service provider, head over to fi.google.com for more details or to request an invite for the service.
Although Google’s wireless service model is not new and is already offered by the likes Republic Wireless, which is a small MVNO in the US, but given the brand name and resources, the search giant could have a bigger impact on the wireless industry in the country, something which Republic Wireless hasn’t been able to do.