Google continues to expand its fledglingly (and rather superb) cellular service known as Project Fi.
T-Mobile and Sprint were original partners. Today, Google announced that it has added a third: U.S. Cellular.
Project Fi is a unique service that automatically switches between available cellular networks, in addition to local wi-fi hotspots, to offer consumers the best possible connection at any given time or location. In theory, it sounds great. In my testing over the past few months here in the San Francisco Bay Area, it works tremendously well in practice as well.
In an email update to customers, Google had this to say about its latest partner:
“U.S. Cellular, one of the top mobile networks in the U.S., offers service in 23 states with 4G LTE coverage for more than 99% of their subscribers, both urban and rural. With the addition of a third network, Project Fi now gives you more coverage and speed, helping you stay connected wherever you are.”
Google says U.S. Cellular coverage “will be automatically rolling out to all users over the coming weeks.”
Existing Project Fi subscribers will not need to do anything (no new SIM card required). As long as you are on the latest version of Android and have the latest Project Fi app on your phone, you’ll be good to go.
It will be interesting to see where next Google takes Project Fi. Earlier this year it offered a $199 sign-up plan for new customers that included a (very good) Nexus 5X phone. Not a bad deal; especially given monthly service rates start at just $30/month with unlimited voice/text, with data going for $10/month per gigabyte.
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As a multi-device kind of guy, I appreciate that Project Fi enables you to attach up to 10 SIM cards to a plan. Tablets, phones, LTE-enabled watches. Doesn’t matter to Google. Just pop in a Fi SIM (they’re available free), and all data will be metered off the same plan. Very convenient. Better still, in my experience using Fi, I’m pleased to announce: you can actually read your monthly bill! A minor miracle!
Google’s mantra related to Fi is “Mobile connectivity is central to everything we do.” Indeed, it is. Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, Instagram, Apps, voice recognition services like Siri, Google Now and Alexa, streaming music, photo sharing — our smartphones and various mobile devices are always within an arm’s grasp. The better and faster they enable us to connect with others, the better we can enjoy the promise of true mobile-connected communities and lives.