Project Fi has had a pretty solid week. Earlier in the week it was announced that those with G Suite domains can now subscribe to the MVNO service from Google. Then yesterday, on Twitter, Fi announced that lower cost, mid-range phones will be coming later this year that will support it.
We hear you loud and clear. Keep an eye out for a new Fi-compatible device at a mid-tier price from one of our partners later this year. https://t.co/74U3bq16pa
— Project Fi (@projectfi) June 29, 2017
This is fantastic news for those who are considering moving from their carrier to Fi as it means that you will have options beyond the Google Pixel and Pixel XL which are currently the only production phones that support it. The Nexus 6, Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X also support it if you can find one and all three are at a lower cost than a Pixel.
The rumors of a non-Google phone support Project Fi are not new. Rumors of such a device have been circulating for at least a
year but it wasn’t until yesterday that it was actually confirmed. As a Fi user for nearly 2 years now, I can’t speak highly enough about the service. It’s fantastic but the limited number of phones that support it has always been a challenge due to the hardware requirements and the software requirements of working with Fi.
For those who haven’t investigated Fi much, let me give you a bit of background. Project Fi seamlessly switches between Sprint, US Cellular and T-Mobile to assure that you have the best signal strength and quality. Sprint and US Cellular are CDMA carriers while T-Mobile is GSM. That means that the phones have to not only have the proper antenna and chipsets, but also have to have software layer that can sort out the switching of antennas. It is not a small task which is why it has been limited to phones that Google controls. They seem to be loosening that up with this announcement.
There are, of course, still questions to be answered. First, we don’t know what Google’s definition of “mid-tier price” is exactly. You can probably assume the $300-400 price range. Second, we don’t know who these partners are either. It is a likely bet that Huawei, Moto, LG and HTC are in the mix as they are the companies that have been the manufactures of Google’s Nexus and Pixel devices (with heavy Google control). Finally, we don’t know when later this year is either. If I had to guess, it will be post-Android O which is expected in the September-October timeframe.
Regardless, it’s great news for Project Fi and should help grow the MVNO’s subscriber base.
For all the news and information about the service, check out the Project Fi section here on the site.