Category: Project Fi

Project Fi Winning at Customer Service – Again – With Usage Credits

One of the big advantages of Project Fi, besides the seamless carrier switching and auto-connecting WiFi to known hotspots, is their great customer service.  This weekend proved it once again.

Multiple Project Fi subscribers received an email (you can see mine after the break) letting them know of a lag issue in their data usage reporting.  Normally, if a carrier has this happens (which it does on all carriers at some point), they simply add the extra data use to your next bill.  Not Fi.  Nope, you get credits.  Those credits are aimed at balancing out any data billing that was missed from June 14th to July 14th.  In other words, you aren’t going to pay for a reporting issue on their side.  Brilliant.

Mid-Range Project Fi Compatible Phone On Its Way

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.

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 Project Fi Travel Trolley Expands to 8 New Airports

Last year, the Project Fi team quietly added a travel vending machine at San Jose International Airport (SJC).  The machine allowed Fi subscribers to get free travel gear such as eye covers, charging cables and other travel centric goodies.  Now they have decided to expand a bit.  In a Tweet yesterday, the Fi team announced that the Travel Trolley as they are called will be coming to eight new airports throughout the United States.

The list is pretty good and cover many high traffic or popular airports across the country

  • PHL, Terminal F, just prior to the first gate
  • ORD, Terminal 3, between concourse K and H
  • MDW, Terminal 1, between Gate A5 & A3
  • SJC, Terminal B, across from Gate 25
  • MSP, Terminal 1, Concourse G
  • SMF, Terminal B, across from Gate 12
  • BUR, Terminal A, gate A3
  • SEA, Concourse A, gate A3
  • RDU, Terminal 2

The good news is that if you are not a Fi subscriber, you can still take part in the fun.

Project Fi App Updated With Minor Improvements

Project Fi subscribers, there is a small update rolling out for the app that should be hitting your phones in the next few days.  The update is build N.3.3.19 for those keeping score and it brings with it some minor updates and improvements.  Perhaps the most noteworthy update according to the Fi User Forums moderators post is more flexibility to notify users from inside the app.  What this means exactly wasn’t explained but I can assume it means that there are improved notifications or different types of notifications coming from the Fi app than previously.  I’ve already received the update but I’ve not seen any noticable changes in notifications or how it functions.

Along with this, fixes for app crashes have been applied in this update as well as, “Minor polishes to the account management experience”.  Again, having looked at this, I’m not seeing a change.  If you are a subscriber to Google’s MVNO and see a change, let me know (I’ll update this post with proper credit).

Google Hangouts Dropping SMS Support – But Not for Project Fi Users

Google has sent notifications out to G Suite customers that in starting next week, a warning will show up in Google Hangouts that SMS will no longer be supported.  That support will end on May 22nd.  The notification and change is part of the overall strategy of Google to move their G Suite customers to the new Google Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat while leveraging Android Messages for SMS on Android devices.  For consumers, the focus is on Google Allo and Duo to meet these communications needs.

For those readers who are on Project Fi (I am one of them) or using Google Voice, this change does not impact you.  This change only impacts G Suite customers who are using carrier numbers to send and receive SMS messages.  This fits along with what Google told me earlier this month at the Google Next Cloud event in San Francisco.

Project Fi App Update Gives Management on Group Plans

The Project Fi app for Android and Fi members has an update rolling out that allows some management features of Group Plans.  Referred to as the “M” update, users who upgrade and have group plans enabled will be able to manage some elements of that plan including being able to limit a users data allocation.  However, in order to create a group plan, add or delete a member of the plan, you will still need to go through the Fi website.

Group Plans have been in Fi for a few months now and had been one of the most requested features of the MVNO service from Google.  Like other carriers, group plans allow you to share a pool of data with up to 5 members.  It is great for families or even small businesses.

Project Fi Referral Plan Extended Indefinitely

Last month I wrote about a referral program that Project Fi had going on last month.  Basically the way it worked is that if you used a referral link from a Project Fi customer (like mine for example), you would get a $20 kick back on your bill have you have been active for 30 days.  In return, I get the same kick back after you have been active for 30 days.  It was a win-win and it was a great for you to try Fi with a little bit less risk.

And while I’m at it, thank you Alan, Rodger and Stef for using my referral link last month!  😀

Now the referral program has been extended indefinitely.  If you want to try out Fi, you can use a referral link from any current Fi customer and sign up.  After you have been with the service for 30 days, you too will get a referral link so you can share the love too.

The Nextbit Robin and Project Fi – Yes, You Can Make it Work

One of the most common questions I receive about Google’s Project Fi is if it will work with phones other than the Google Pixel and Nexus phone lineup.  The short answer to this question is yes.  However, there are things that you have to consider in the process and you will have to have, at some point, a compatible Pixel or Nexus phone to activate your Fi SIM.  So really the answer is yes, but with a lot of hurdles to jump.

In this How To, I will go over the steps to get a non-Google phone to work with Project Fi including what you need to do to set it up, how to configure SMS/MMS and the limitations you will have with using Fi on a non-Google phone.  For this article, I’m using a Nextbit Robin but the reality is that the steps outlined here should work with any phone.

A couple of warnings before I get started.  First, there is no support provided getting your non-Google phone working with Project Fi.  They clearly advertise it as working with their devices only as the primary SIM card (you can get the data-only card working with some iPad models and other tablets).  Second, one of the big advantages of Fi is the ability to seamlessly switch between Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular.  In a non-Google phone, you will only get T-Mobile service.  If T-Mobile is not great in your area, keep that in mind.

Project Fi – Now is a Great Time To Try

For over a year now I have been a Project Fi subscriber and frankly, I’ve never looked back.  After being on AT&T for well over a decade, I looked at Fi with a bit of skepticism when I joined in October 2015, so much so that I didn’t shut down my AT&T account until December.  But the double paying, I felt, would allow me to jump ship quickly, taking my then Nexus 6 with me.  It never happened and, in fact, never crossed my mind.  Google’s MVNO is solid, even in the upper elevations of Colorado where I live.  I’ve traveled all over the United States in the last year and not once have I had an issue with Fi completing calls or giving me good data throughput.  I’ve recommended it countless times here and in person and now there is a chance for you to try Project Fi and save on your first bill.

Today Fi rolled out a referral program for those of us who are subscribers.  For everyone who subscribes, we both get $20 off our first bill (in your case) and next bill (in my case).  Sure it is a win-win for both of us but if you have been thinking about making the switch, now is a good time to try.  All you have to do is go to this link to sign up and try.

Unauthorized Google Pixel Resellers Banned by Google

Nearly 200 Google users have found themselves banned and suspended from Google after making a clear violation of their terms of service.  The users purchased a Google Pixel through Project Fi and then had those phones shipped to a 3rd party in New Hampshire.  Those phones were then resold and the profits split between the 3rd party company and the original buyer of the phone.  While it is perfectly legal for you to resell your phone, it is equally clear in the Project Fi and Google Store terms that you cannot do this or you will have your account suspended.  That is exactly what has happened and this is no small deal.  A suspended Google account means you can’t access anything associated with that account:  Gmail, Calendar, Google Photos, Google Docs, etc.  It is a complete shutdown.

At the time of this post, none of the accounts that have been suspended have been re-enabled.  While owners of these accounts can appeal to Google, it is a question if they will ever get back into those accounts.  So the question is this:  Is this too draconian by Google?

Project Fi App Now Shows Per App Data Usage

The Project Fi app for subscribers has received a nice behind the scenes update that most users will find quite helpful.  Now you can see which apps have consumed the most data in your current billing cycle.  The good news is that no new app download is required.  So long as you are running the most current version you will see this new information within the app.

Finally! Project Fi Adds Group Plans

It has taken a while but Google’s MVNO, Project Fi, has finally added group plans to the service.  Now you can add lines to a Fi user’s account for $15 per month and use a shared pool of data that will all be on one bill.  To this point, if multiple family members wanted to use Fi, each one had to sign up for their own account.  The good thing is that fundamentally, the service isn’t changing for this new option.  You can still add and remove members of the plan at any time without penalty and your data is still billed at $10 per Gigabit.