Google opens up Project Fi cell service – worth switching from T-Mobile?

Project Fi deal for $199 LG Nexus 5X phone

Invites are so passé — thankfully.

First, OnePlus dropped their (annoying) invite-only system for its well-made, innovative Android handsets.

Now, Google is allowing anyone, even us unwashed masses without special invites, to sign-up for its growing cellphone service known as Project Fi.

To sweeten the Fi deal, Google is offering the LG Nexus 5X — a decent mid-range Android phone — for only $199 (US) for those who sign-up. Not bad given that works out to $150 off the standard retail price.

Project Fi, which Google introduced in Q2 2015, starts at $20/month, and data is charged at $10/GB.

That’s quite competitive.

For example, I’m on a T-Mobile pre-paid plan for the truly lowly and pay only $30/month (I’m kind of frugal that way). But I’m charged for texts (no worries, I use Google Hangouts), get 100 minutes of talk time, and get unlimited data which is pretty sweet, though only the first 5GB is available at 4G speeds.

LG Nexus 5X Deal
Pay only $199 for the LG Nexus 5X when you sign-up for Project Fi. Is it worth switching from a Nexus 6 on T-Mobile’s $30 pre-paid plan?

The real sweetner for Fi, though, may be that it sits on top of two major networks in the US: T-Mobile and Sprint.

I presume that Google uses some algorithm to best determine signal quality, and switches your phone accordingly between the two cell networks. Further, certain locations offer Wi-Fi hotspots. There, you’d be using your phone as if it were connected to Wi-Fi, and, hence, not be charged for any data whatsoever.

Other Project Fi pluses include: a monthly statement that can actually be read by a human; absolutely no termination fees; no contracts; and unused data charges are credited and carried forward.

So, is it worth switching to Project Fi?

It would seem that if the answer is not a resounding yes, it would be pretty close, and that Fi is at least worth a look (here’s a helpful Google FAQ on Project Fi including pricing, porting your number and supported devices).

If you’re on T-Mobile, like me, then it would seem Fi would give you at least as good a signal (and speed), and perhaps more, given that it can intelligently switch to Sprint and Wi-Fi as the need or opportunity arises.

I’ll probably give Fi a spin, and see how it goes. I’ve been eyeing the Nexus 5X (LG) and 6P (Huawei) phones, waiting for the right deal, to upgrade from my Nexus 6 (Motorola). Then again, I do like the large Nexus 6 screen, Qi wireless charging and the fact that’s it all set-up and humming along without any hitches. Fortunately, SIMs are easily popped in and out from one phone to the next. I can give Fi a go on the 5X while keeping the Nexus 6 handy just in case.

If you’re ready to give it a go: Sign-up for Google Project Fi.

Explore. Create. Live. Follow Stark Insider on Twitter and Facebook. Join our 9,000 subscribers who read SI on tablets and smartphones on Google Newsstand. Prefer video? Subscribe to 
Stark Insider on YouTube, the largest arts & travel channel in San Francisco.
  • Andrew Seth Miller

    I’ve been on Project Fi for 3 months on a Nexus 6p – including the phone with protection plan and service, I pay under $50/month – service is great. Solid connections. Quality voice calls. Best customer service 24 hours a day.