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Howdy, ladies and gents! I hope the FI journey is going well. So, it has been exactly one month and two days since I activated my phone and began my cellular journey with Google’s Project Fi. I’d like to give you a review of what I think so far, and the long-term prospects of Google keeping my business. I’ll be giving each category X out of 5 diamonds…I don’t have stars as a special character, so I’m improvising. I sincerely apologize to all of the star lovers out there.
Alrighty then! I discussed Project Fi in a previous post along with a couple of other providers, and after researching the top three contenders for my service, I decided to go with Project Fi. There were numerous reasons for my decision, but the biggest for me were:
- You get the service of 3 different networks: T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular. These are three of the top leading carriers in the U.S. The other notables being Verizon and AT&T.
- Your phone is smart, and what I mean by this is that your phone will automatically connect to whatever provides the best service at that moment, e.g. Wifi or one of the three aforementioned networks.
- Whatever data you don’t use as part of your plan, the money will be credited towards your next bill, making it cheaper.
- If you go over your monthly data allotment, you pay as you would normally would for the data ($10/gig), there is no extra charge.
- I found out that when the phone jumps to a Wifi source/hotspot, it automatically secures data by via encryption through a VPN – this is pretty awesome since everyone is trying to get data from you nowadays!
As a budget-minded individual trying to cut costs, this made the most sense to me. Now, on to my experience to see if it reflected how great this all sounds.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦/5
Most carriers are killing off contracts, so free upgrades are disappearing. This means regardless of your carrier, you’ll end up paying for your phone or leasing it. Project Fi offers Google’s Nexus phones from the 5 and 6 series. I opted for the Nexus 5X, which normally costs about $350.00.
I then signed up for a plan including the unlimited talk and text ($20) and two gigs of data ($20). With taxes and fees, this comes out to almost $45/month. This starting point is about $13 cheaper than I was paying per month on my families Verizon plan. Which would save me about $1560 over ten years, and that is if I would have stayed on my family’s plan. For all I know, I could have ended up on my own with a cell service plan costing $100/month.
My Actual Costs
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦/5
Yeah, that’s right. Six out of five diamonds, and I am not exaggerating. When I went to sign up, I discovered I was choosing the right time to do it. Google was having a special where if you signed up for Project Fi and activated your phone within a certain time period, you could get $150 off of a phone. This meant my Nexus 5x was only $200 instead of the normal $350! Making my sales taxes cheaper as well. This made my upfront cost pretty low.
I paid the full $44.16 for my first month, but I only ended up using 0.677 Gigs of data. This means my current bill cycle was credited $13.23 for the data I didn’t end up using last month, bringing my total monthly bill to $30.94. This is a savings of $27.06 over my old monthly Verizon cost. If this ends up being the approximate average of my monthly bill, I will save $324.72/year and a total of $3247.20 over 10 years! I’m going to try to do my best to reduce my data usage even more.
Real talk here, I love how this plan incentivizes using less data. I’ve been treating it like a kind of game. The less data you use, the more you win, which is no lie because you get that prize in the form of cash back. I know you don’t accrue points, so think of it like golf. The lower your score the better! It’s a damn shame you can’t go negative though, am I right?
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦/5
On to the meat and potatoes here. Obviously the cost is phenomenal, that much is clear. “But Don,” you say. “It doesn’t matter how good the price is if I can’t get service and I end up slinging my phone against a wall in rage and disgust!”
You paint a vivid picture there, my good chum. I definitely don’t want you slinging your phone against a wall in anger. You can check how your coverage would be from Project Fi’s website, which I did. I haven’t noticed a single difference in my service from when I was with Verizon. When I went with the wife and in-laws to a Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana (yes, these are both real places believe it or not), I lost cell service in the boonies for about half an hour, but my AT&T toting in-laws also had trouble in these areas, so I think the coverage is very much what it is advertised as. I believe the coverage map that advertises some areas as 3G may be a little off in some locations, (e.g. the boons) but the areas represented by the 4G are spot on.
I’ve been extremely please with the switch in terms of network service.
Ease of Use/Customer Service
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦/5
I figured that since Project Fi is still relatively new and seems to be a sort of pet project from Google, I’d have lackluster customer service or I’d be completely on my own in setting things up, but that was nowhere near the case. Once you sign up for the service, you are only charged when you first activate your phone. Before you activate it, however, Google does whatever they can to make the transition from your old provider as simple as possible. You’re allowed to keep your current number when switching to Project Fi. Everything is done online, and there is no need to speak with any kind of a representative unless you’re having issues. The only time I had to actually speak with a person was when I had to call Verizon (which turned into a kind of never ending nightmare, just as an FYI, I waited up to forty-five minutes to speak with someone there).
Once you have Project Fi activated, you get an app for it, where you can handle almost everything you’d have to worry about. You can change your plan, your payment method, check your data usage, check your past bills, and support all from this handy app.
Do I Recommend After a Month?
Uh-duh! I haven’t experienced a single thing which I can complain about with this service. The ease of use is phenomenal if you need to change something on the fly. The cost is ridiculously low when compared to other services out there, and you get service that is just as good, if not better. I’m not looking back at all when it comes to Project Fi, and I look forward with glee to the potential savings this will bring to the table. Thanks again for reading, everybody! Have a great weekend.
-That Learning Guy