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.

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