Google Project Fi Review – I Saved $33 a Month Leaving Verizon

google project fi

I don’t normally do tech reviews but something came up that I just have to share with you, and that is Google’s Project Fi. I ended up migrating away from Verizon Wireless and am now saving over $33 a month! And I even migrated from a family plan to a single plan. Check out my review of Project Fi below and how Google is revolutionizing the cellular carrier space.

What is Google Project Fi?

So I actually just recently heard about Google Project Fi myself from a colleague. Project Fi is Google’s new wireless cellular network. Or as they like to call it, wireless service. In my opinion, they are already now competing with the big players in the space such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T. When I first heard about this I thought it sounded a little far fetched. But just wait, I think you will be blown away by what Google is offering.

project fi
Img src: Giphy

The first thing you are probably wondering is what kind of network coverage does Project Fi have? As Google is not in the business of building cell towers. Well, Google has partnered up with not one carrier, but three major carriers: Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular. One amazing kick-ass feature of Project Fi is that it utilizes a newly designed SIM card that allows your phone for the first time to bounce between multiple networks. And yes, this includes lightning fast 4G LTE, as well as 3G and 2G. And taking that one step further, it also utilizes Wi-Fi, which I will go into more further below.

project fi network coverage
Img src: Project Fi network coverage

I am not personally a huge fan of any of any of those networks if they stood alone, but when you combine them together you suddenly have coverage with massive reach! The only places that might have some issues are those in the midwest.

Google Project Fi Features and Personal Experience

So there are a lot of amazing features that Project Fi has to offer. I am going to be comparing a lot of this to Verizon as that is who I personally migrated away from.

First off, I have to give props to Google on their Project Fi website. It loads incredibly fast and everything is super easy to navigate. I just went to pay my last Verizon bill and was met with load times of upwards of 20 seconds per page. Craziness! I don’t know why they can’t speed up their site. This is important because I was on a family plan to save money. This meant that each of us had to login to the Verizon Wireless website each month and pay our portion of the bill. For those of you that are on automatic billing, this might be less of an issue.

project fi website

The way Project Fi stands out above the rest is that you get to take advantage of an intelligent shift in networks. I’m not just talking about different carriers, but also wireless! That’s right, phone calls are made over your wireless network when you are in range. So whenever your cell phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network this means you aren’t using any data! It then switches to a cellular network once it loses the Wi-Fi connection. People have said they notice a 1 second or so delay when the switch happens. I have done quite a few tests myself and don’t notice anything when the switch happens. This feature alone can save you a ton of data.

I also thought the call quality was pretty good! I would say the call quality on Wi-Fi is slightly less than when you are on 4G LTE, but nothing to write home about.

Project Fi’s service works in 135+ countries automatically at no extra cost! There is no running down to a local vendor to grab a different SIM card. Or like I did on my recent trip to Budapest, I used Verizon’s International Travel Plan feature. It did work ok, but the problem is that it cost me $10 a day. Yes, per day. If you are a frequent traveler then you should definitely check this out as it could make your life a lot easier.

There are no contracts! Yes, I said it, no contracts. You can cancel at any time with no early termination fees.

You can also use your existing number from whatever carrier you were previously using. I actually transferred my number with one click of a button and no phone call required to Verizon. It was way easier than even I expected. My transfer was completed within an hour or so.

Another amazing feature is the ability to block what appears to be an unlimited amount of numbers. When you do the caller will get a message saying your number has been disconnected. I get a lot of telemarketers that call me, even though I am on every do not call list. With Verizon they only allow you to add up to 5 blocked numbers for free so it was almost worthless for me. I am going to be taking full advantage of Project Fi’s blocked numbers feature.

block number project fi

Downfalls

So far I have only really found two downfalls to Project Fi and neither of them are that important in my opinion.

  1. The call quality on Wi-Fi is a little worse than over data. However, if you have a super important call you could always turn Wi-Fi off and just use data. I personally use Wi-Fi from my apartment to make all my calls and it works just fine.
  2. On the family plans, there is no way to login and let each person pay a portion of their own bill. That is how we did it on Verizon. So if you go for family plan on Project Fi you would need to get the additional members to pay you in a different way. You can always easily use Venmo or PayPal. So definitely not a deal breaker.

Google Project Fi Pricing

So I know you are curious about the pricing, as this is one of the primary factors in me leaving Verizon. I was on a 6 person family plan on Verizon and was paying $65 a month (including insurance). I only use about 300MB of data per month. I use my phone for emails, texts, calls, and Spotify in the car. Note: I always download my songs on Spotify to my device so in fact I don’t use up any data when listening to music in my car. Your data might vary if you play games or stream videos outside of your Wireless network.

So with Project Fi, you have the base package. There is only one plan, which makes it dumb easy. This costs $20/month and gives you access to calls, texts, and 24/7 support. You are then charged $10 for every 1GB of data you use. But the kick-ass part is they only bill you for what you use! So if you don’t use the full 1GB of data, they refund you the difference back at approximately one cent per MB. So for me, if I use 300MB of data in a month I pay the $20/month for service, $10 for 1GB of data, and they refund me $7. Which brings it back down to $23. Note: The credit back is put on your account, not in your pocket.

They offer device protection for $5 a month (optional) which I do have, and my taxes come out to $3.28 per month. So adding that all up per month I am only paying $31.72, for a savings of over $33! Or $38.45 if you don’t include the credit on the account for future use. Here is a screenshot of their billing area. You can’t get much simpler than that! Other cellular networks should be copying this.

project fi billing

November 2016 Project Fi Bill

And here is an update with my November 2016 bill! A total of $31.72. Amazing.

project fi bill

Update: December 2016 Project Fi Bill

And here is an update with my December 2016 bill! A total of $30.39. Speechless. As you can see I got a credit of $7.89. Woot!

project fi bill dec

Update: January 2017 Project Fi Bill

And here is an update with my January 2017 bill. Because they launched their new referral program, and I have a new credit card hack to get free cell phone protection (blog post coming soon), my bill was only $3.23. Amazing.

google fi bill under 5 dollars

Update: February 2017 Project Fi Bill

And here is an update with with Project Fi bill for February 2017. I am basically just now paying tax each month because of referrals. I pay more for a cup of coffee than I do for my cell phone bill.

project fi bill feb 2017

Google Project Fi Requirements

So for some, the one drawback here is that Project Fi currently only works on six different mobile devices: The Pixel, the Nexus 5X, and the Nexus 6. Now for me, I was actually migrating away from my Windows Phone so I went for the Pixel as I had run my old phone into the ground. One reason for this is because they use a different type of SIM card which is capable of bouncing between all three different cellular carriers.

Note the prices:

  • Pixel: starts at $649 or $27/month (G-2PW4100 – North American version)
  • Pixel XL: starts at $769 or $32/month (Model G-2PW2100 – North American version)
  • Nexus 6 Model XT1103 (North American version)
  • Nexus 6P: starts at $399 or $16/month (Model H1511 – North American version)
  • Nexus 5X: starts at $199 or $8/month (Model LGH790 – North American version)

Tip! If you are on a tight budget, go to Craigslist and get a used Nexus.

I might do another review on the Pixel itself, but I can tell you it is amazing! To be honest, it is basically an iPhone clone running Android. But I love the look and feel of iPhones so I say copy away! Another thing to mention about the $5 device protection is that this covers drops, cracks, and spills. And there is no deductible. I know with Verizon there was. You only pay a $75 deductible if you break 3 of them. I can live with that. I have never broken a phone yet and will probably cancel the device protection once I have the phone for a year or two.

Update: I have canceled my device protection because I found a way to get free cell phone insurance for life. This saves me another $5 a month.

google pixel

Summary

There is so much going for Project Fi at the moment and I was very impressed. I never thought I would get my cell phone bill under $40 a month, but I did! Let me again sum up all that Project Fi has going for it:

  1. Massive coverage on not one but three major carriers with 4G LTE
  2. Ability to use Wi-Fi to make calls and save massive amounts on data usage
  3. Works in 135+ countries at no extra cost
  4. No contracts and no early termination fees
  5. Charges you only for what you use and gives you credit back
  6. Cheapest device protection ever at only $5/month
  7. Offers group plans for families (up to 6) to save even more money
  8. No additional charges for tethering
  9. Easily block as many numbers as you want

Visit Project Fi

What do you think about Project Fi? Let me know below in the comments.

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51 thoughts on “Google Project Fi Review – I Saved $33 a Month Leaving Verizon

  1. Don’t forget the option of using your phone as a mobile hotspot or use tethering. For no extra charge! Just like with your phone, you get charged for exactly how much data you use.

    My original Verizon bill was $85 for a single line. I finally switched to Cricket, saving $50 a month. Now I’m needing to change my service; I’m thinking it will be Google Fi or Boost for my needs.

  2. Project Fi gets 5 stars from me for technology, coverage and provided services, this will safe me half of my monthly $100 bills with AT&T, who just announced yet another $5 hike for nothing. The pay as you use approach is refreshingly well though out and the international coverage is second to none, AT&T charges $25 per MEGAbyte of mobile data, for which I get 2.5 GIGAbytes from Fi.

    What just took a lot of wind out of the sails is that I received my Pixel phone with a broken charger. No big deal, stuff breaks, but when contacting customer service (which is very responsive to chats and keeps chit-chatting with you while they check), they told me that they do not replace chargers and I have to buy one from the store (for $37, mind you!). When complaining about and requesting to escalate this, they said that there is no need to escalate it, because they have an “established system” for it: instead of sending me a $3 charger, I needed to (a) order a replacement phone (the whole $800 thing), (b) wait a week before I get that (if it is in stock, that is!), (c) that this will be a refurbished phone, (d) when I receive it, I need to return my brand-new phone and (e) waste another whole day for configuring the replacement again.

    I kept complaining and the best I got was the offer to refund me the cost for a new charger if I ordered this through their store. I am waiting for that refund and the charger will take 10 days to get to me. 10 days in which I need to improvise charging my brand new $800 phone.

    Are they completely out of their friggin’ minds??? You would think that a well thought-out project such as this has some common sense people at the top, but it seems like common sense got lost somewhere on the way…

    • Thanks for the great comment! Ya they are so cheap I can’t even believe it. Just referring to friends I might have a free cellphone bill come February :)

      Good tip about the charger… perhaps I should order one just in case. I’m sure they will eventually iron out their system. It’s kind of like Google Domains, its been in beta for years but works great lol. Sometimes Google creates so many awesome things they forget to iron out the small details.

  3. You referred to using WiFi for phone calls, thereby reducing your data usage. All calls and text are included in the $20 basic account charge. The data is what you use reading email, downloading apps, streaming music or video when you are NOT connected to WiFi. It’s a fantastic offering with excellent service. Later this month, I’ll try it out overseas which was my primary motive for switching from Verizon to Google Fi.

    • Hey Jim,
      Yes, the calls and texts are included, but with another provider you would get charged via WiFi. For example, Verizon and my old phone couldn’t use WiFi to make calls or texts… I was getting charged data for this. If you go over included minimum amount you would have to upgrade plan. The ability to make all calls and texts via WiFi has drastically reduced my bills compared to other carriers.
      And yes, I have a couple friends using Google Fi simply for travel and they are really enjoying it. I used Verizon’s travel thing last year and it was such as a hassle.

      • Calling and texting has no connection to the data plan. You can get a phone with no data plan, or even a phone with no ability to use the internet, and calling and texting will still work.

        • Hey Rodney, I think we can just assume everybody texts pictures and videos in 2017… which does use your data. I think iPhones have a bubble thing that can get around this, but only my Grandma who can barely use a phone would apply to the data not affecting texts. But I see what you mean. Thanks for the comment!

          • Your reply spurred me to do a little research… and I found out that while providers didn’t charge for MMS (the way pics and videos are included in text messages), they do now! So I stand corrected. My information was old, but I should have realized that they will charge for anything they can. :)

    • Hi Jim,

      How was the phone plan and usage overseas? This is one of the main reasons why I am thinking of switching over

  4. This is a great review. I have been considering switching for the past several months as both mine and my wife’s contract is up with Verizon. We are almost always on Wi-Fi and combine to use less than 2 GB of data per month (our bill isn’t bad with Verizon, about $100/month). One thing jumped out to me in the article was the line “The only places that might have some issues are those in the midwest.” Living in the Midwest, U.S. Cellular has great coverage and I’m happy they were added to the list of providers. I think the coverage in the Great Plains is lacking. I guess one concern I have is Google abandoning Project Fi. They were big on Google Fiber for a while, but it seems like that may be coming to an end (although it’s hard to know that for sure), so if Project Fi doesn’t get big enough, will they abandon that? Not a question you can answer, but it’s something I’ve thought about.

    • Thanks Kevin! Ya if you know you have good coverage with U.S. Cellular then you would fine.

      Also, the thing about Google Fiber was actually they couldn’t win in some cities over all the red tape between current providers. I know in Phoenix, we got knocked off the list because Cox and Century Link pulled out all the stops to block them. It is similiar in other cities… Google by no means is abandoning it, I think they are just finding it harder. With Project Fi, since they are partnering with other providers I think they are just going to continue seeing growth. My whole family is going to migrate once they upgrade phones. The phone is probably the biggest barrier right now.

      • Thanks for the additional feedback! The phone is the biggest barrier for us right now too. We’re building a house, and I don’t know if I can justify the cost of 2 new phones when in reality our phones are fine and it would take a couple years to make up for the cost of the phones. Hoping Google does a special around Black Friday so we can switch.

  5. Great review! No one mentioned how exceptionally easy it is to transfer your apps and data from another Android to your Google Fi phone. I’m not a techie by any stretch of the imagination and it was such a relief to get it done in two simple steps – insert the sim card and sync the phones.

    The statements are also the simplest I’ve seen from any carrier and you get credit back for unused data so I’ve been getting $21 monthly charges (if you exclude the $10 cost of the phone I decided to charge – why not). I definitely don’t miss my $88 Verizon incomprehensible bills.

  6. Your “Three Phones Only” is a little off :)

    Supported models
    Project Fi works with the following Nexus models:

    Pixel XL Model G-2PW2100 (North American version)
    Pixel Model G-2PW4100 (North American version)
    Nexus 5X Model LGH790 (North American version)
    Nexus 6P Model H1511 (North American version)
    Nexus 6 Model XT1103 (North American version)

    I use the original Nexus 6 (not the P) and it works fine with mine. :)

    I will be upgrading to the Pixel 2 when it gets launched

  7. I switched from T-Mobile to Google Fi. I also pay for Google Play Music (GPM). I love Google Fi so far but I really miss T-Mobile’s Binge On and Music Freedom services (aka free streaming). Currently, there’s no advantage to having both Google Fi and GPM because using GPM massively increases your data usage (off Wi-Fi, when driving, etc). In fact, it makes me not want to use GPM at all. GPM, however, does allow you to lessen the quality of streaming and download music to your device but I still feel like that defeats the purpose of paying for a streaming service. I’m hoping the Fi team eventually waives data charges for streaming from their services or gives some other incentive. Your thoughts?

    • Thanks for the comment Mark! Actually, my solution to this is Spotify :) I use Spotify on my desktop computer and also on my Pixel. I have it set to download the songs locally so they play from the phone via Bluetooth. This way when I am on the road I can play my entire library without using any data. I actually did this before I moved to Project Fi as well.

  8. You may have already mentioned this, but if you buy a new phone through Project FI, you can pay for the cost of the phone, interest-free, over 24 months! That is a pretty sweet deal, even if you have the money to cover the cost of the phone now. I’m considering the cheapest phone option, which will only add about $10/month to my cellphone bill for two years. Might as well keep most of the $250 phone cost in my pocket (or invested) while I pay for the phone in small chunks over time!

    My plan with Verizon is up at the end of May and I am super excited to switch to Project FI after that. My Verizon bill is $78 for one person, so the switch should save me around $30 a month. Thanks very much for the helpful review article! It really helped solidify my decision to give FI a try.

  9. Great article/post! Thank God I stumbled upon it! This will definitely be my new phone plan! Now I just gotta figure out which phones best for me… Thanks to all who posted! Invaluable information! Godspeed!!! ;)

  10. Quick question: you mention the Verizon plan cost for family as $65 with insurance but speak about Fi as a single user. I am confused if you are breaking out your individual cost on the Verizon family or if you had a Verizon plan for 5 people with less than 1 GB data for $65 total. If the latter, then it would be interesting to see the effect of the 4 additional lines on Fi pricing vs what you were getting with Verizon.

    Thanks for the clarification.

  11. I wanted to say a thanks to everyone that posted a comment here, I sat and read thru ALL the comments to learn as much as I could about the google Fi service and the comments were wonderful to read and the author’s comments as well, they were all very helpful to me, I have order my phone from the google FI website and and am ready to check it out and see how it works

  12. my son has google fi service and he likes it, but believes I may not due to the times when it goes to wifi mode in some areas your webou have to click on a banner for it to work. Will that impact the service when on the phone or is it just an annoyance. Also does the second or so break impact the call on the other end and cause the caller to loose the call. Thanks for your website.

  13. Mia,
    Google Fi was a superstar in Jamaica. Able to send all the texts I needed and handle outgoing phone calls at 20 cents a minute. Also, calls inside Jamaica were 20 cents a minute whether mobile or landline. This was a huge savings over my most recent Verizon experience. My longest call was $1 — 5 minutes.

    Most of my colleagues just use texting and all of that was FREE.

    No roaming charges! I even used data on the mobile network for some very limited needs.

    I’m next in Seoul, South Korea, where I paid a small fortune to Verizon just to keep the phone on for possible incoming calls. Again, I should just be paying for the calls I answer or initiate at 20 cents a minute…and, again, texts will be free.

  14. I switched to Project Fi in March of 2017. Since Pixels were not available I settled on Nexus 5X. I don’t watch movies or play games on my phones. All I needed was the telephone services, messaging and email. I figured that the Nexus will be fine. The problems started from the very beginning. Missed calls. When you dial you have silence for 20-30 seconds and then the call will time out or a message “Cellular network is not available” will be displayed. I could not understand why the network is not available when the phone was on WiFi. I complained to the Tech Support. They determined a bad SIM card and send me another. That didn’t make a bit of difference. I kept complaining. Google sent me a new phone. It didn’t make any difference either. Then the Tech Support started sending me instructions on how to manually switch carriers and send “bug reports”. There were no constructive suggestions. After learning to switch carriers manually I started experimenting myself. I found that the automatic switching DOESN’T WORK in spite of Google’s claims. When one of the cellular networks cannot be reached the phone doesn’t look for a better one – it simply assumes that there is no connection. It doesn’t switch to WiFi either. There has been three month of continuous complains on my part and still no resolution. I cannot say whether it works on Pixels – I did not have a chance to find out but it doesn’t work on Nexus phones. If anybody has similar experience I’d like to hear it. Most important I would like Google to hear it.

    • That’s very interesting Alex. I have been using Project Fi and Pixel since 2016 and haven’t had a single issue. No dropped calls or anything. In fact, it’s the best service I have ever experienced. Perhaps you got a couple bad phones? It does happen sometimes. Curious what area do you live in as well?

  15. Do we know if Google is datamining people’s conversations with Fi? I just assume that’s what they’re doing with anything they offer (and usually are).

    Seems like the best deal for travelling, regardless! Might just get a travel google fi phone.

    • The real question is… what company isn’t data mining your conversations? I don’t know if Google is or not. But ya, for traveling or for those with low data usage, this is a steal! I’ve never had a cellphone bill so low in my entire life.

  16. I’ve been part of Project Fi’s beta program since 2015 and I absolutely LOVE this phone plan, the company and the technology. After consolidating plans with my husband, we are saving $100+ a month from our old AT&T plans. And we have to put up with NONE of the AT&T bs. Also, we’ve traveled extensively around the world and over the years have tried using specialized international phones, buying the AT&T country coverage plan, burner phones, and doing the SIM card shuffle…all were horrible and unworkable. THIS is an elegant solution that works and it works reliably, seamlessly and relatively inexpensively. I admit it: I am smitten by a cell phone plan; who knew….

    • Hey Tracy! That is awesome. Sounds like my experience… who ever thought loving a cell phone company was possible? The amount of money I am saving is incredible. And Google’s Fi app and billing just keeps getting better :)

  17. how did you manage such a cheap month rate for your family Verizon plan? Wife & I pay $120 month for T-Mobile and use less than 0.5g each month. Also, I have friend who has Iphone who is using Project Fi. Just saying.

    • The Verizon plan was a family plan. That was just my portion between 6 different people. Still, we had a pretty good rate because we were grandfathered in for so long.

      But my cellphone bill has been under $4.00 a month for the past 8 months now thanks to Google Fi and referrals to friends :) Never going back to Verizon.

  18. Terrible customer service if you have technical issues with your equipment. They will string you along for weeks with apologies and vague non solutions. Had to switch carriers again. Disappointed because I liked the service before my phone started dropping calls and static in calls. Not worth the hassle.

  19. We currently have Google fi an let me tell you that this is the worst experience I have ever had trying to do a warranty/insurance swap! First they put a huge hold on a very large sum of money on our bank account an then they do not send a return shipping label an are of no help an screwed everything up when emailing us the labels that we had to figure out how to print off without access to a computer and printer. I received 0 satisfaction. They make up excuses an don’t give a rats but about inconvienencing they’re customers or that they are causing a huge hardship for them . The first chance I get to get away from this company I’m taking it!! What’s the point in having a warranty on top of paying for the insurance if they are just going to screw you over regardless!

  20. Can anyone that lives in the Midwest tell me how the service is now? I have the new pixel 2 XL and was thinking of switching to Google Project Fi project to get my bill cheaper since the price of the phone is so high?

    • Hey Mike, I would take a look at their coverage map. Also, since it utilizes the three providers: Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular, you could perhaps ask friends that maybe use these already? I was never a fan of any of these networks on their own over Verizon, but I haven’t had a single coverage issue yet :) The nice thing is it automatically switches between all three. Although I do live on the edge of a big city… so haven’t tested rural areas.

    • I live in the Midwest and have been on Project Fi for one week with my Pixel 2. So far, things have worked great. I live in a rural community in Wisconsin and reception has been fine (although I haven’t done a lot of testing in a lot of different areas yet). I came from Verizon and I have actually had comparable reception in most cases. When investigating whether I was going to switch, I did some testing with some family/friends who are on U.S. Cellular to see what kinds of reception they get. If Project Fi was only on Spring/T-Mobile, I likely wouldn’t have switched but because U.S. Cellular is a partner now, and they cover a lot of the Midwest really well, I decided to take the plunge. I’m on WiFi most of the time but when I’ve not been, I have been able to make calls/text without issues. So, so far I’m happy with the switch but it’s only been a week and I haven’t done a ton of testing in different areas so we’ll see.

  21. Great to here Kevin, I am think of converting, the only issue I have now is my business line is a google number and I am hearing that I can not have both a google line and my cell phone line on the same device so I am checking on my best options for porting my cell phone number to another online account.

    I was going to look into Ring.to but they are not doing any service now.

  22. Well it looks like there is an issue with some google voice accounts and they will not let you transfer some numbers. Not sure why I am getting this error?

    Bring over your Google Voice number?

    No matter if you transfer your number or not, many aspects of Google Voice will carry over to your Project Fi service.
    FEATURES FROM GOOGLE VOICE
    CAN’T DECIDE?
    Bring your Google Voice number to Project Fi
    You’ll transfer it later when you activate service on your phoneNumber not eligible for transfer
    Give up your Google Voice number
    You’ll lose it permanently when you activate service on your phone. Learn more

  23. Project Fi is about saving money. Project Fi has saved me and my wife easily $70/month from our previous plan with US Cellular. The network switching can be a little funky at times but let’s get real, there isn’t much trial and error for this going on right now so the technology may not be the greatest yet..regardless of the few issues we have had, the customer support has been pretty top notch.

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