Launching in the US with Sprint and T-Mobile for $20 per month basic rate
Google has introduced its new mobile virtual network, Project Fi, a service that will allow users to connect to the best cellular or Wi-Fi network wherever they go. Fi, which is designed to provide a fast and easy wireless experience, is set to be launched by Google as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in the US with two of the top mobile networks in the US, Sprint and T-Mobile, who are partnering with Google.
Similar to Google’s Nexus hardware programme, Project Fi enables Google to work in close partnership with carriers, hardware makers, and other members of the mobile community. Google stated that by designing across hardware, software and connectivity, it can more fully explore new ways for people to connect and communicate.
Project Fi aims to put users on the best network wherever they go. As users move around, the best network may be a Wi-Fi hotspot or a specific 4G LTE network. Google developed new technology that gives users better coverage by intelligently connecting them to the fastest available network at their location, whether it is Wi-Fi or one of Google’s two partner LTE networks.
As users go about their day, Project Fi automatically connects them to more than a million free, open Wi-Fi hotspots that Google has verified as fast and reliable. Once users are connected, Google helps secure their data through encryption. When the user is not on Wi-Fi, Google moves them between whichever of its partner networks is delivering the fastest speed, so the user can get 4G LTE in more places
Project Fi takes a fresh approach to how users pay for wireless, manage their service, and get in touch when they need help. Google offers one simple plan at one price with 24/7 support. Here’s how it works: for $20 a month the user gets talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering, and international coverage in over 120 countries, and then it is a flat $10 per GB for cellular data while in the US and abroad. Since it is hard to predict data usage, Google will credit users for the full value of their unused data each month.
Additionally, with Project Fi, the user’s phone number lives in the cloud, so they can talk and text with their number on almost any phone, tablet or laptop.
Daniel Kurgan, CEO at BICS, a supplier of international wholesale services to communication service providers, commented that the MVNO marks the beginning of a new chapter in next generation telecoms services: “The announcement of the Google MVNO in the US using Sprint and T-Mobile’s infrastructure graphically illustrates the changing landscape of telecoms and highlights that collaboration between traditional and non-traditional players is the key to growth in the sector and the development of exciting new business models.
“As we have already seen with the WhatsApp voice launch, and now the Google MVNO, in order to successfully expand into mainstream telecoms services it is vital internet players engage with existing infrastructure providers to ensure they are offering the highest quality services to customers, protecting the reputation of their global brand,” continued Kurgan. “We stand on the threshold of a pivotal year in telecoms, with the opportunity to make innovative next generation services mainstream and develop innovative business models. However, this can only be achieved using partnership and collaboration between all players in the ecosystem,” he concluded.
Google is launching Project Fi’s Early Access Programme, inviting people to sign up for the service. Project Fi will be available on the Nexus 6, which Google developed with Motorola and is the first smartphone that supports the hardware and software to work with the Fi service.